Laguna Woods Village is a retirement community that sits several miles away from Disneyland. Senior citizens, some are using walkers while others depend on canes to be able to walk correctly, religiously followed the scheduled meeting time at the venue. From there, a bus ride takes them to a somewhat modern and trendy coffee shop with a noticeable green Red Cross symbol on its windows.

Upon entering, you’ll see seniors mostly at the age of seventy to eighty years old. People here are either having lunch and enjoying each other’s company or playing bingo. Others are choosing products infused with cannabis for their next months’ supply.

According to Ron Atkin, while resting in Bud and Bloom marijuana dispensary, he considers this as the ultimate experience as he continued watching an ongoing bingo game. Atkin is a seventy-six-year-old retired beauty products distributor.

Nowadays, a lot of states allow the usage of medical marijuana for diseases and illnesses. Among the nations that allow medical marijuana, some went the extra mile and allowed recreational cannabis usage. Recreational cannabis usage means that people are permitted to use and smoke marijuana for the sole purpose of enjoyment or fun. In line with the permit to use, these states say that recreational cannabis usage is only allowed for people twenty-one years old and above. 

In 2018, a General Social Survey showed results of Americans voting for cannabis legalization. Overall, 61% voted for legalization, and surprisingly, the older generation showed increasing support for this as well. However, the federal government still refuses to legalize cannabis despite the growing support and acceptance.

The industry of cannabis often says that people like Ron Atkin, who is part of the aging baby boomers, make the business fast-growing and smooth sailing. Aside from the aging baby boomers, older people also benefit from cannabis due to the seeking of treatment for joint pain, sleeplessness, and other disturbances brought about by old age. Now, marijuana is more than just a joint passed by smokers at parties.

According to Kelty Richardson, the majority of their customers have an age range of sixty years or older. Kelty is currently working as a registered nurse at Holos Health clinic in Boulder, Colorado. Fortunately, the clinic Kelty works that allows cannabis-related medical exams plus online transactions involving physician-recommended marijuana usage. Thanks to the clinic’s medical director, Joseph Cohen, there are seminars held at the Balfour Senior Living Community. This seminar is for everyone and anyone who wishes to further their knowledge regarding arthritis, joint pain, or sleeplessness.

Although there are minimal studies regarding cannabis benefits, there is enough evidence to prove that smoking marijuana significantly relieves chronic pain in adults. Although this study is by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the lack of information and experiments regarding this topic can be a potential risk for the public.

Atkin goes back and forth to the Bud and Bloom, not for the bingo or vape pens, but the cannabis-infused chocolate bars. For over two years, Atkins purchases the chocolates plus sublingual drops for his spinal stenosis. The reason for the cannabis decision is because his prescription medication seemed to stop working for him. According to Ron, desperation was the reason he resorted to cannabis although his physician never suggested it, and they never discouraged it either.

Adele Frascella, seventy years old, says, “I don’t like to take an opioid.” she opts to buy gummy candies instead, to address her arthritis. Adele confesses that she used to smoke marijuana when she was eighteen to twenty years old, and upon having her own family, she eventually stopped. A few years back, Frascella even invested in high-end and high-quality versions of the traditional bongs. These are known as “the ultimate stoner gadget,” but eventually, as she went through her senior years, she opted to have edibles instead.

Another baby boomer user, Renee Lee, admits to using marijuana in her youth. Eventually, she reused pot after she underwent a psychological treatment and brain operation that made her intake ten medications, four times per day. Lee stated that she felt she wasn’t getting any better; that’s why Lee asked her physician if she could try medical marijuana. Fortunately, they allowed her, and her pain ended ever since.

In 2012, Renee Lee founded the Rossmoor Medical Marijuana Club in the San Francisco Bay Area. Starting with only 20 people, they opted to keep silent about the club despite marijuana seen as an outlaw drug by some. Fortunately, the group grew up to one thousand members, even hosting parties and seminars hosted by people in the medical field who are for cannabis.

Gary Small is a professor of Psychiatry and Aging at UCLA that says the highest portion of the cannabis-using population are the seniors who are sixty-five years old and above. These facts push Small to urge more research and studies regarding the effects of drugs, especially on older people. Although these drugs improve the quality of life and heal the illness or disease, unsupervised usage can impose a significant risk for the users. Gary continues to say that cannabis causes considerable side effects in older people such as dizziness, memory impairment, and even unwanted falls because of the unsupervised dosages.

Despite the full acceptance of marijuana, Richardson states that the hospital received a spike in older visitors immediately after marijuana legalized back in 2012. The problems aren’t smoking. Instead, it was the overconsumption of the edible version.

Dick Watts, a retired New Jersey roofing contractor who lives in Orange County, knows this because he once downed a marijuana-infused candy bar after learning of the benefits in a seminar. The seminar he attended taught him that marijuana helps whenever you have trouble sleeping, which he immediately acted upon once he got his hands on an edible. He described the experience as “nearly lethal” and opted to take small portions whenever he had a hard time sleeping.

Watts added that nowadays he has a clear and sound mind when waking up, but he has “it up on a shelf so my grandkids can’t get to it.”

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