More in-home care patients are probably lighting up and utilizing cannabis, as the number of older Americans that believe medical marijuana is effective for pain relief, appetite loss and anxiety has risen.
Four out of five respondents between the age of 50 and 80 said they support allowing medical marijuana if it’s recommended by a physician, according to a recent poll by University of Michigan and AARP. Another 40% said they support marijuana use for any reason.
The increased support for marijuana is in stark contrast to the health care system’s ability to harness the substance as a medicine. While 10 states have legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes and more have approved medical marijuana laws, it remains federally illegal, leaving care providers in the crosshairs in terms of documenting patients’ use.
However, only 6% of respondents said they use medical marijuana. Still, the figure is “high” when compared against previous studies, AARP noted.
“While just 6% of our poll respondents said they’d used marijuana for medical purposes themselves, 18% said they know someone who has,” U-M’s Preeti Malani, M.D., director of the poll and a specialist in the treatment of older adults, said in a statement. “With medical marijuana already legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and other states considering legalizing this use or all use, this is an issue of interest to patients, providers and policymakers alike.”
At any rate, the vast majority of Americans believe more research on the effects of marijuana should be conducted.
While American seniors may be more willing to accept use of cannabis across the country, health care providers may not be as ready. No providers that Home Health Care News approached for this story were willing to speak about their cannabis policies.
Written by Amy Baxter