Tips for DISCUSSING MMJ With Relatives
Cannabis has undergone quite the smear campaign in the past century, despite years and years of painstaking community outreach by cannabis activist groups who have a different story to tell. Many older folks are still hesitant to consider it a medicine because of this, and several states in the U.S. continue to uphold many of the same laws and prohibitions enacted upon them by the Drug War.
You may recognize some of the propaganda you have been exposed to yourself over the years, such as the D.A.R.E. program or Reefer Madness. Due to its (remaining) classification by the federal government as a schedule one drug, cannabis is still perpetuated as being directly associated with other schedule one drugs like heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. It’s important to note that some people have not yet been introduced to evidence which supports cannabis for its medicinal uses and properties. This can vary wildly based on a person’s location, demographics, and access to cannabis culture as a whole.
CANNABIS AS A MEDICINE: BREAKING THE STIGMA
While pending legislation could push forward the effort to legalize cannabis on a federal level at any moment, it will still be up to individual states as to how they want to go about decriminalizing the state. Recreational, or adult-use, cannabis likely will still not be available in some places where state governments decide to opt out of the Cannabis Act. Even still, it will put immense pressure on those states to, at the very least, provide commendations for patients within that state to have access to a viable medical marijuana program.
Cannabis can help with a variety of common medical issues, including insomnia, loss of appetite, and chronic or acute pain. It has a long list of therapeutic benefits that are particularly helpful in treating problems specific to older individuals. According to research, the number of Americans over the age of 65 who have tried marijuana is on the rise. Like any other treatment plan, however, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and speak to a qualified medical provider in order to deduce a patient’s individual eligibility.
There are several reasons why medical marijuana might be beneficial to older people, but bringing it up may be difficult. The following are some of the most straightforward aspects of how medical marijuana may help your elderly family members, and how you can breach the subject without stirring up judgement or animosity. Since medical marijuana is a relatively new idea for some people, it’s important to start with the basics and, above all, recommend that they speak with a qualified medical professional who has experience using cannabis as a medicine. Green Team Doctors is happy to provide their services for this very purpose, and specializes in helping those who are just beginning to explore the possibility of using cannabis for its medicinal qualities.
WHen to conSider MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
People of all ages may be concerned about a variety of health issues. Older relatives, however, may be the most susceptible to declining health. This isn’t always followed by proper attentiveness, doctor visits, and dietary changes or adjustments to daily habits. Getting a diagnosis for a condition that needs a prescription might be disappointing, nerve-wracking, or embarrassing, although essential to optimal health and longevity. Even worse, there are a growing number of people who have built up resentment and distrust regarding the healthcare industry. The opioid epidemic has contributed to this greatly, along with the drastic increase in insurance and health service costs. Patients who have been exposed to the addictive potential of painkillers, filled by their family doctor, may be extremely hesitant to trust another prescription ever again.
As you will recall, medical marijuana can treat various symptoms associated with numerous illnesses. Glaucoma, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and anxiety are just a few examples of the conditions that marijuana has been known to help. It has also been used successfully by patients undergoing chemo treatments, to lessen the suffering as they endure some of the toughest moments in their battle against cancer. Each person is different, and not every unit of medication will work for each symptom, so it will be imperative for that friend or relative to understand that medical marijuana is a journey that doesn’t end once you get approved. In fact, that’s where it begins!
WHAT IS A QUALIFYING MEDICAL CONDITION?
Medical marijuana can be used to treat a variety of health problems in Ohio. As of the publication of this blog, there are 25 medical conditions that currently qualify a patient for an Ohio MMJ card:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for HIV
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Terminal illness
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
Medical marijuana could potentially be a less expensive alternative to costly prescription medicines, both financially and figuratively speaking (since it has fewer negative side effects than leading pharmaceutical brands). Furthermore, and potentially the most valuable aspect of treating illnesses with medical cannabis, is that there are many methods of medicating available which make it possible for each patient to individualize and personalize their treatment with the assistance of their care team. Each MMJ patients’ care team will look different, but will generally consist of three main components: their family physician, their qualified MMJ provider, and the pharmacy agents located at their local dispensary.
How to Get Others Engaged & INFORMED
Perhaps the best way to breach the subject is by sharing your personal experience. If you don’t have a personal experience to draw from, it can be very helpful to provide resources or programs which strive to share patients’ journeys. The #HumansOfCannabis campaign on our Instagram shares quick, easy-to-digest snippets of what benefits patients cherish most when it comes to medical cannabis, and aims to end the stigma surrounding the plant by providing more exposure to those who use it.
There are lots of other ways to get involved. The official Ohio MMJ website provides tons of great resources for both beginning and seasoned patients alike, and their FAQ section answers many commonly asked questions regarding the program. When it comes to browsing the internet or social media, though, some older generations will protest or balk at the idea. They would much rather speak to a real person and get more in-depth answers catered to their needs; this is where MMJ licensing offices, like Green Team Doctors, can come in very handy.
Additionally, publications like High Times and Cleveland Magazine routinely highlight the positive (and negative) aspects of the state medical program, often calling for further legalization and decriminalization. Ohio’s NORML chapter has maintained an open-door policy for anyone and everyone interested in getting to know more about cannabis activism. While it may make sense that state advertising laws limit how much dispensaries, cultivators, and providers can display their services, it also limits the amount they can publish educational and informational literature for the benefit of patients and consumers. With that being said, several helpful resources, visual pamphlets, and comprehensive studies relaying the benefits of medical cannabis can be found on dispensary websites such as The Forest or Buckeye Relief.
DECONSTRUCTING THE “STONER” MYTH
Patients in the state may now choose between CBD and THC goods – or have the best of both worlds – thanks to the addition of a broad range of medical cannabis goods for sale at dispensaries throughout the state of Ohio. Medical marijuana patients may select from a variety of treatments based on their personal preferences, or recommendations made by their qualified MMJ physician. Ohio’s dispensary refers to pharmacy staff as “bud tenders”, and they are a fantastic source for product information, terpene and cannabinoid counts, dosage recommendations, and much, much more. Your local dispensary may even allow you to tip bud tenders, and depending on how much they help you manage your health conditions, it may incentivize you to show your gratuity next time you make a purchase. This is completely optional, and a great way to show appreciation.
However, there are several factors to consider before purchasing any particular product in a dispensary. For example, while some individuals are fine with smoking a vape cartridge to gain the therapeutic advantages of cannabis, others may have medical limitations that prevent them from doing so. Conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and chronic bronchitis would be indicators that a patient should not combust and inhale cannabis smoke. Luckily, there are many ways to consume the medical benefits of the cannabis plant, and it is generally accepted that smoking cannabis is the least desirable option when introducing a patient to all available methods of consumption.
There are a variety of devices available on the market which can assist in safely heating up and transferring the health benefits of raw cannabis flower. These devices work by heating up the flower in a small oven located inside of the handheld device, creating vapor through direct contact of the material on the heating element. If vaporizers are not an option either, there’s no reason to be discouraged; they account for less than a tenth of the products usually found in medical marijuana pharmacies. Other implementations include medical marijuana tinctures, transdermal patches, RSO syringes, edibles, drinks, capsules or tablets, breath strips, topical creams, infused honey and even olive oil – which can be applied directly to food for discrete, virtually tasteless dosing.
If you’re assisting an elderly family member in obtaining medical marijuana, it may make sense to guide them through a local dispensary’s menu, which is available on their website and provides an up-to-date inventory of all the products available. The information that dispensaries allow online ordering, curbside pickup, and caregiver delivery could be especially helpful if that relative or friend has mobility concerns. While all dispensaries are handicap accessible, it’s important that patients note they can also enlist up to two people (who do not have to be MMJ patients) to assist in ordering, purchasing, picking up, and transporting their medication to them. Patients with anxiety concerns or PTSD can also be accompanied by these caregivers to dispensaries, if they do not wish to go in alone.
A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE, SIMPLIFIED
There are many reasons why medical marijuana might be useful, but there are also several concerns that your loved ones may have. A patient care representative at Green Team Doctors can answer all of your questions quickly and thoroughly. After completing the application process and obtaining a medical cannabis card, there are still likely to be some completely natural questions that arise. Its legality and efficacy is almost certain to rank near the top of older relatives’ worries regarding medical marijuana.
Fortunately, if you live in Ohio, you may acquire medical cannabis by simply making an appointment with a qualified physician and presenting medical records of a qualifying medical condition to become a patient of the treatment plan. That doctor can also assist you in developing a care plan for your loved ones so that they can get the most out of their medical marijuana journey. Cannabis can make a significant difference in the quality of life for most people, regardless of wether their health concern is small or large. Sometimes all it takes is a little push in the right direction, and the confidence that there will be support every step of the way!
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