More elderly people are using medical marijuana. Here’s why that’s great news.

More elderly people are using medical marijuana. Here’s why that’s great news.

Americans aged 65 and older make up 14 percent of the US population, but consume over 30 percent of all pharmaceutical sales, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Many elderly patients end up addicted to opioids.

Eloise Theisen is a certified Geriatric Nurse Specialist in California. For the last 17 years, she’s been working with patients with autoimmune and neurological diseases. She’s also a well-known medical marijuana advocate. As Board Director of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), Eloise collaborated with The Medical Cannabis Institute to create the first online cannabis curriculum for nurses. She continues to develop training programs and certifications for medical practitioners using cannabinoid therapeutics. She also treats patients, speaks, and teaches.

When Theisen suggests cannabis to her senior patients, they often tell her they’re afraid of feeling out of control, or hallucinating. So she explains the endocannabinoid system to them, from a medical perspective. This helps patients overcome their long-held biases against pot. Theisen estimates that 80 percent of the thousands of patients she has worked with seen success with cannabis.

Here are some powerful case studies she shared with

Theisen keeps a jumbled voicemail from one of her first patients, to remind her of why she does this work. The garbled message was from an 89-year old-woman, diagnosed with advanced-stage dementia, who was living in an assisted-living facility. The woman had been falling down frequently. For the last 40 years, she’d been prescribed opioid painkillers for her severe pain. Her family had been talking about whether she needed to be in a memory-care unit.

Theisen started providing her new patient with CBD tincture, sometimes in capsule form. After three months, her patient was off all pharmaceuticals, except for her blood pressure medication. Before starting  the CBD oil treatment, she hadn’t been able to make eye contact with others. Now she could.

Theisen received a call from the daughter, who thanked her for giving her her mother back. The patient, now 90, was getting ready for a trip to France last time Theisen followed up with her.

Her next patient was a retired pediatrician, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, along with dementia. His wife was getting phone calls many nights at 11 PM from the assisted living facility where he lived, telling her that he was having aggressive episodes, going into other residents rooms, breaking things and frightening residents. His wife was crying. She couldn’t sleep. She was beside herself.

Theisen provided CBD capsules again. Three days later, the patient’s wife said there had been no more issues. Two years later, he is on the same low dose. His aggression has decreased.

Another patient that was able to keep the same low dose for two years, was a retired doctor that had suffered a stroke and hadn’t been sleeping well for years. After putting him on a low dose at night, he has done well. Another patient that came to see Eloise with signs of dementia and high anxiety had symptoms so severe that his whole body would shake and she thought he was having seizures. She let him use a vaporizer of CBD in the office and within fifteen minutes, he had totally calmed down and his demeanor had completely changed.

Eloise says the three top things that older patients come to her for are sleep problems, pain or depression. In partnership with Dr. R. David Ferrara, MD, she founded Green Health Consultants Clinic (GHC), dedicated to ensuring patients receive the qualified counseling they need to safely and effectively use cannabis to manage a health condition, cure an illness, or help overcome an opioid addiction.