October 06, 2021
Marijuana or cannabis is a mind-altering drug that has numerous effects on the human body and mind. With the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in 19 states in the US, it has increasingly become mainstream, which has increased its abuse manifold. Marijuana is also declared legal for medicinal purposes in 37 states in the United States.
A study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy showed 75 percent people over the age of 65 in the U.S. use marijuana with harmful effects.
A study conducted in 2018, showed a steep rise in marijuana use among people over 50 years of age in the United States. Although the side-effects of marijuana use are quite noticeable across all age groups, its effect on people over 50 can be very unusual way.
This study focused on data between 2015 and 2018, unearthing people above 50 years of age consider marijuana as safe and harmless than any other drug. However, marijuana seems to affect 50 plus people in a very different way than younger age groups.
Some of the effects of marijuana on older people are as follows:
Marijuana can trigger mental health issues
According to a study, published in the journal Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, older people abusing marijuana can develop symptoms of stress and depression more predominantly than non-users. The study also evinced that the rate of depression rose to 100% within the older age group between 2006 and 2013. The possible reason for this sharp increase in marijuana use is self-medication-without seeking professional help. Marijuana directly affects the brain structure and function, which further complicates the mental health condition and interfere with the treatment.
Marijuana can lead to cognitive disorder
Prolonged marijuana use can lead to cognitive impairments and worsen any mental health condition. Marijuana adds to the risk of exacerbating manic episodes in people suffering from bipolar disorder. Marijuana also increases risk of depression or can worsen the symptoms of depression. Mixing SSRI and marijuana compounds the risk of manic episodes. Marijuana consists a substance called THC that has the potential to trigger psychotic symptoms such as perception and thinking disorder in people over 50 years of age.
Marijuana can cause risky behavior
According to a study conducted in 2017, older people between 50 and 65 years of age, abusing marijuana tend to adapt risky behavior such as driving under the influence of drug, physical violence and theft. Many studies suggest that people of 65 years of age or above are prone to rash driving under influence of pot than non-users.
Marijuana can cause problems in drug interactions
Various studies suggest that marijuana can trigger acute side-effects when mixed with other medications. These include lowering of blood pressure, affecting blood sugar levels, increases risk of bleeding, reducing the effects of antivirals and increasing sedative effects of certain drugs. Marijuana use compounds the risk for people taking medications and anticoagulants for chronic conditions like HIV, blood pressure and diabetes.
Intake can lead to accident and injury
Marijuana primarily causes disorientation, drowsiness, dizziness, which is very risky for any age group because one can become prone to accidents. But for older people it is much more risky, increasing the risk for accidents, injury or falling off. Many studies have shown that due to marijuana use, older people were admitted into emergency department for accidents or injury due to falling.
Marijuana can lead to poor diet intake
Marijuana has an unusual characteristic, of whetting the appetite in an individual. Therefore, it is medically used for cancer and HIV patients who have lost their appetite to increase it. For healthy individuals, increase in dietary intake would mean constantly feeling hungry and having an urge to snack on frequently, which can be tolerated by young adults, but leading to ominous results in older people. It can lead to unhealthy weight gain causing heart issues and diabetes.
The side-effects of marijuana use increase with age. Marijuana triggers diet intake in a very usual way, compelling an individual to consume alcohol, salty snacks, cheese, pork and sodium, while refraining from vegetables and fruits. Many studies suggest that with improper diet the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes increases.
Treating older adults with mental health issue and substance abuse disorder can be very challenging. The symptoms can overlap with those of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, diseases found in the elderly people. Substance abuse also increases the risk for physical injury, impairment of emotional well-being and affects physical health. Compassionate care and adequate treatment is important to ensure recovery in older adults.
Invictus health group is a leading name, providing a platform to connect mental health or substance abuse patients with treatment centers. We understand patients’ requirements, access their condition and empower them with adequate information.
In case of co-occurring disorders we make patients connect with best dual diagnosis treatment centers that provide quality dual diagnosis treatment in California.
We closely work with a large network of mental health treatment centers and substance abuse treatment centers to develop evidence-based therapy programs and customized treatment programs to suit patients. To know more about our treatment programs call us now at 866-548-0190.