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Senior Citizens To Receive Daily Dose Of Cannabis During Retirement

Update Date: Feb 21, 2017 07:30 AM EST

The Hebrew Home, a nursing home in Riverdale has taken an unusual step of helping its residents by using medical marijuana. The new program aims to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription drugs.

Older Americans from retirement communities and nursing homes are turning to marijuana for relief from aches and pains. Ruth Brunn, 98 has found this as solution to excruciating pain caused by neuropathy. She found marijuana to be less addictive with fewer side effects compared to morphine.

The staff will not store or administer marijuana, but the residents are allowed to buy it from a dispensary. They will be allowed to keep in in locked boxes in their rooms and take it on their own.

According to Geo News, marijuana is still banned by federal law, but has been approved for medical use in 29 states, including New York, and the District of Columbia. Scientific evidence has shown marijuana is effective for treating medical conditions such as neuropathic pain; sever muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, unintentional weight loss, and vomiting and nausea from chemotherapy. Medical marijuana has also helped people with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and Parkinson's disease.

According to New York Times, Anita Mataraso, 72, a grandmother of six who is the program director of Rossmoor Walnut Creek said "I would be in a lot worse shape if I wasn't using cannabis, both physically and mentally." She takes marijuana daily for her arthritis and nerve pain. Her retirement community located east of San Francisco has grown to 530 members.

A lot of older people have come to represent the use of marijuana for medical purposes, but questions are being raised about safety and accessibility. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, older people often cannot get it. Most nursing homes do not allow its use, and many doctors are reluctant to endorse it.

They say not enough is known about the risks in the oldest age groups. There is no shortage in marijuana research, it's just that little of it has focused explicitly on older users.

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