Boomers and Medical Pot

Boomers and Medical Cannabis03/10/10


The Fringe Report

Note: the Fringe Editor is not a doctor, and doesn’t even play one on TV. This is not medical advice. Contact a qualified health care provider for more information.

When I was a lad, my grandfather began each day with a coffee-schnapps. If the weather was bad, he’d have another at ten, and one after lunch, and in the afternoon, he’d leave out the coffee. He wasn’t an alcoholic, he was an old man. He also took a variety of other drugs, most of which he had no idea about the purpose or efficacy. It was the coffee-schnapps he valued. Getting old, it turns out, isn’t for sissies.

Boomers are learning that lesson in spades, and "My Generation" is finding that many didn’t die, and are still a live. It’s a fact that drives health care reform, and even impacts prisons as older Boomer prisoners require more care.

Tommy Chong, aging Boomer, in the can by the man, from here,  and as a free man

It shouldn’t be too surprising that, as Baby Boomers age, the bounty of old age is descending on them: arthritis, glaucoma, kidney failure, neuralgia and other effects of diabetes, fibromyalgia and a host of other infirmities and ailments which can bring pain, reduce mobility, discourage proper nutrition and lead to depression.

To be sure, plenty of Boomers are using schnapps, but they’re also turning to the other most popular recreational drug: cannabis.

At first glance, it might seem that Boomers are returning to cannabis, but that wouldn’t be completely true. Though pot was the drug of the Boomer generation, many Boomers didn’t actually try it "back in the day."

Even so, pot is a drug all Boomers can claim, and many are.

Not that dangerous
For many Boomers, cannabis might be one of the least dangerous drugs they take, and they know it. No one forgets the Vioxx problem, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Medical errors, side effects, dangerous reactions and unintentional overdose of pharmaceutical drugs is a significant cause of death in the U.S., causing as many as 36,000 deaths a year.




Poor Diet and Physical Inactivity



85,000 1

Microbial Agents


Toxic Agents


Motor Vehicle Crashes


Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs




Incidents Involving Firearms




Sexual Behaviors


All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect

17,0001, 5

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Such As Aspirin





From: HERE

Further, many Boomers are at the time in their lives when relief of pain is worth risk, which is why many risk the health problems of prolonged use of aspirin and non-aspirin pain relievers and even steroids and opiates.

But, not without dangers
There is not much evidence condemning cannabis for most Boomers. There are medical situations which might preclude cannabis use. Primary among those is heart disease. There is an indication that, if the user has a nice fatty lump in an artery, the sudden increased heart rate and blood pressure might break it loose and it could kill. There is an increased likelihood of about 4.8 times; about the same rate of heart attack if you had the same fatty lump and suddenly decided to clear the walk of snow.

There might be an increase in some kinds of mental illness, like depression, if the user is prone to such disease, though again the evidence is not strong.

There are some other contraindications, which is why the law requires a visit to a doctor to obtain a recommendation for medical cannabis. The doctor will obtain medical records from the patience’s usual provider, and on the basis of those records, may recommend cannabis, but might restrict the form. For example, chronic bronchitis might mean a patient shouldn’t smoke or vaporize the cannabis, and must restrict use to ingestion.

Smoking is the most familiar way to use cannabis, but it has some health concerns. Still, smokers of cannabis have not shown an increase of lung cancer, though one has been predicted for many years. Some research suggests that some ex-cigarette smokers might find a protective benefit from cannabis use, though the data is not clear. Vaporizing is a popular method of use which doesn’t contain the products of combustion such as tar. Both smoking and vaporizing have the advantage that the user can tell almost at once when the proper dose is reached.

Cannabis does produce some "high", which might prevent driving or other activities.

All this information is available from the doctor specializing in cannabis medication. Most patients are surprised, though, that the doctor can’t provide them with legal cannabis, that will require a medical cannabis provider.

Arthritis, fromHERE

What it does

Most medical cannabis users report a diminishing of pain, and relief from neuralgia. Most report increased appetite, and a "spaceyness" that distracts one from pain and encourages interest. While many people continue to believe that cannabis produces "amotivation" there isn’t strong evidence for that, and the relief and distraction from pain, and general lightening of mood, might encourage some to more activity.

Currently there are no dispensaries in Sierra County, though likely one will open in the area, perhaps near Truckee, soon.

Website Builder