Medical marijuana is a boon to seniors dealing with hard-to-treat pain

Opioid prescriptions among the Medicare generation — that’s people 65 and older — and those on Medicaid, which includes disabled people and those with low incomes, decrease dramatically when states make medical marijuana available.

A study published in May 2018 by the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that in states where people can buy medical marijuana at a dispensary, the number of opioid prescriptions that are processed through Medicare and Medicaid decreased by 2.21 million daily doses per year.

That finding wouldn’t surprise Dr. Diana Martins-Welch, a New York geriatric physician who co-authored her own survey that found that two-thirds of older adults who use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain significantly reduced their dependence on opioid painkillers. “Seniors who use marijuana for pain are overwhelmingly positive about the experience,” she told “That’s why it’s really important to get marijuana legalized on a federal level so we can do more large-scale evidence-based studies that will point to the best ways more people, seniors especially, can be helped.


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