Alice, 91, Attends "Controversial Issues" Class: What's Your Take On Medical Marijuana?

Feb 1 2014, 3:42pm CST | by

Alice, 91, Attends "Controversial Issues" Class: What's Your Take On Medical Marijuana?

My mother in law, Alice never attended college as a young person. She’s making up for lost time now though.  Twice a week she packs a lunch and goes to the local community college for the Learning In Retirement series of classes. You might find your aging parent in class somewhere, too. She loves it.  There’s Trials of the Century, taught by a retired lawyer. And then there’s Controversial Issues.

Last week, my husband, Mikol, who is a psychologist, was visiting her and he went along to class.  The topic of the day was medical marijuana. The instructor led the discussion by asking the class, which consisted of about 50 seniors, what their experience was and what their opinions were on using medical marijuana. The group had many elderly retired professionals in it: doctors, lawyers, accountants and others. Some were not formally educated, though it appeared there were many thoughtful people of all backgrounds contributing to the discussion.

Mikol observed that about half the class shared positive personal experiences with medical marijuana, singing its praises as a pain reliever, stress reducer, and help for insomniacs.  The consensus was that medical marijuana is great and does not have the side effects of prescription drugs used for pain, stress and for sleep, say nothing of the risks and high cost of prescription pharmaceuticals.  People reported being “strung out” on opiate pain medication until they started using medical marijuana. They got better relief and no addiction from marijuana, they said.  Most felt it should be a mainstream remedy, not one that is in the legal hodgepodge that exists under our state and Federal governments.

Medical marijuana is legal in California, where Alice lives.  However the conflict between Federal law, which still categorizes marijuana as a Category 1 controlled substance, and CA law which allows it for medical use, is still a problem. Those in favor of medical marijuana in the class argued that our society legalizes both smoking tobacco and using alcohol, which can do a great deal of harm to many.  They expressed dismay that smoking tobacco is legal and is always harmful, while marijuana, which can be taken in edible products, is illegal under Federal law, but is far less likely to cause any harm.  Now that strains of marijuana for medical use are available without the active ingredient, THC, that causes the “high” or alteration in consciousness, there was no objection to its use among those in the class. Their discussion was that you can get the benefit of the medicinal effects and you can choose a kind without THC, so there is every reason to permit it and stop prosecuting its use.

One of the leaders of the class was a retired D.A.  He described his own struggle with abdominal pain from Crohn’s Disease which was so hard to manage until he tried medical marijuana. He got relief from his symptoms and will continue to use it despite the conflict with Federal law.

Alice finds the classes very stimulating and enjoys the discussion. As it happens, she has been trying out medical marijuana in edible (droplet) form for pain in her knees, which makes it hard to stand and get up from a chair or bed. This is a new effort to address her knee problem.  Previously, she has tried every other possible form of treatment for her knees without significant improvement. So far, she says it’s helping. We’ll keep you posted.  And no doubt, she will participate in the next class discussion on this topic.

Until next time,
Carolyn Rosenblatt
AgingParents.com

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

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