It is far exceeding nearly all pharmaceutical agents.  America is changing its view on marijuana. For the last 80 years marijuana has been treated as a dangerous drug, a public health menace and an illegal addictive drug. By the end of 2014 the U.S. reached a tipping point where for the first time a majority of American lived in states with some form of marijuana legality.

By 2017, the legal industry made 10 billion in sales and supported 170,000 American jobs. Today you can shop in artistic boutique style shops and view a dazzling array of cannabis products. The November of 2016 election was a near landslide for legalization with four U.S. states embracing adult use legalization and four others opting for medically cannabis legalization.  Did you know by mid-2017, 29 states and the District of Colombia had gone medically legalizing marijuana? At the same time the fifth largest economy- California prepared to open the largest marijuana market ever.

There is a deep shift in American culture around cannabis today.   Along with the cultural shifts, there are social and economic realignments making many pause and question the place for this curious tonic in our society.  In the last decade there has been a steady shift in the public’s perception of marijuana.  We are left confronting questions like what constitutes a single dose? What is the limit for drugged driving? Where is it acceptable to use? What form is best for you?  There are so many options: smoking, vaping, swallowing tinctures, consuming edibles, drinking marijuana- infused water or soda? What’s legal and what is not? What is the difference between THC and CBD?

Is Cannabis better for chronic pain than opioids?  Cannabis use is reported to have improved quality-of-life from “bad” to “good” with very few side effects. The most common side-effects, dizziness and dry mouth, were reported in only ten percent and seven percent of patients, respectively. Two percent or less reported confusion, disorientation, or weakness.  The findings strongly support the safety and efficacy of medicinal cannabis, especially for elderly populations needing treatment for pain-related conditions.

To aid in clarifying all of this, I personally made the decision to explore all of the above. What I learned was so valuable I thought, I must share this with our community. More and more aging adults are turning to medical cannabis and I cannot look the other way and not educate myself or those inquiring about its use. I have created a symposium on Sept. 19th from 8:30 – 2 p.m. on Navigating Medical Cannabis and its use. I have secured professionals highly respected as authorities on the topic. Dr. Hergenrather, MD, senior legal Counsel Erin Carlstrom, Mercy Wellness of Cotati and Nina Arbor from St. Joseph’s Health and Hospice services will be our guest speakers. Seating is limited, but if you are truly interested in this educational conference please go to Eventbrite or phone my office to reserve your seat today!

Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She would love to hear from you at 586-1516.