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Cannabis use among elderly persons aged 65 and older has increased steadily over the years. Given this increased marijuana use among the elderly, we need to address a very important question: is marijuana safe for the elderly?

However, before answering that question, we must understand that marijuana education for the elderly is key as they need to balance the risks and benefits to get the best out of it.

In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about medical marijuana for the elderly. We’ll cover important points like the specific use of cannabis for pain in elderly persons and answer the “What are the best strains of medical marijuana for the elderly?” question.

Let’s get right to it.

The Risks of Medical Marijuana for the Elderly

According to Peter Grinspoon, MD, an instructor at Harvard Medical School; and a certified health and wellness coach, elderly patients turn to marijuana because they can no longer take certain medications but still need something to deal with pain or help them sleep.

But does medical marijuana for the elderly come with certain risks?

Well, medical marijuana is safe for people of all ages when consumed in the appropriate dosage and under expert recommendation.

That is not to say there aren’t risks.

Fortunately, you can avoid the risks of medical marijuana for the elderly if you consult a qualified doctor, get an MMJ card, and use the right dose.

Grinspoon says that most of the adverse effects of marijuana are dose-related, so you can avoid these risks of medical marijuana if you know how to dose your products properly.

Drug Interactions

The Elderly often take several medications to treat age-related illnesses, and marijuana may cause drug interactions. For instance, the use of cannabis for pain in elderly persons is common, but it may inhibit the effectiveness of other medications they may be on.

The good news is that elderly persons can avoid drug interactions by simply consulting their healthcare provider or pharmacist to disclose the use of any prescribed or over-the-counter medications.

These experts can evaluate the potential interactions between cannabis and your medications.

In addition, it is crucial to exercise caution when combining cannabis with anti-seizure medications and blood thinners because they have significant side effects with little room for error.

If you have an elderly person considering surgery, it is especially vital to disclose their marijuana consumption as the doctors may need to adjust the anesthesia and post-surgical pain management drugs.


Psychoactivity is probably the most common risk when it comes to medical marijuana for the elderly.

Older people may feel more disoriented than younger people because age affects cognition and mental function, which may worsen with psychoactivity. Many people take marijuana because they enjoy the psychoactive effects, but medical marijuana is more than just getting high.

Thankfully, not all cannabis products are psychoactive.

CBD, commonly used to treat pain and sleep disorders, delivers the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the psychoactive effects.

Also, elderly patients who don’t want to get high can avoid psychoactivity by taking low doses of marijuana.

Respiratory Complications

Let’s get one thing straight: smoking puts everyone at risk of respiratory complications, whether it’s marijuana, tobacco, or anything else.

So yes, while cannabis for pain in elderly persons is effective, it may also lead to respiratory complications.

Fortunately, like younger patients, elderly medical marijuana patients can also use medical marijuana via non-smoking methods like topicals and edibles.

For persons whose preference is smoking medical marijuana and none other, we have a guide on how to avoid respiratory complications here.

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Elderly Patients

Is marijuana safe for the elderly? So far, we’ve established that marijuana is safe for the elderly, but that’s not all there is to know about medical marijuana for the elderly — let’s talk about the mouthful benefits of marijuana for the elderly.

These benefits include the use of medical marijuana for pain in elderly patients, management of neurodegenerative disorders, sleep aid, and others.

Medical Marijuana for Pain in the Elderly

One persistent problem associated with age is pain. Back pain, hip pain, joint pain, you name it. Unsurprisingly, pain management is one of the most common uses of medical marijuana in America.

Marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great option for pain management. More so, unlike other pain management options like NSAIDs or Opioids, marijuana cannot cause overdose or damage the liver.

In fact, marijuana doctors typically recommend marijuana therapy for rheumatoid arthritis and other age-related pains. So, if you’ve been asking, is marijuana safe for the elderly?

Certainly, what elderly person wouldn’t be glad to have pain relief?

Want to know more about the effectiveness of medical marijuana for pain in elderly persons? We have detailed information here.

Cannabis for Stress and Relaxation

Many marijuana users claim it helps them relieve stress and anxiety, aiding relaxation. For elderly users, this is a great benefit. Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago found that low doses of THC help reduce stress.

This study is significant because it demonstrates that elderly persons can benefit from the therapeutic effects of THC in low doses, which means they don’t have to worry about psychoactivity since they won’t consume enough marijuana to get high.

In addition, the anxiolytic properties of cannabis become apparent when you consider that 51% of adults who use CBD say they use it to alleviate anxiety and help them relax.

Sleep Aid

Elderly with trouble sleeping? Cannabis can fix that. The use of medical marijuana for pain in elderly patients is not the only widespread use of the drug.

The sedative effects of cannabis can help elderly persons who struggle with sleep get a good night’s rest.

In one study on the effects of cannabis on sleep, 71% of participants reported improved sleep. 21% reported adverse effects from cannabis use, but the amazing thing is that these adverse effects were manageable, and they could continue using cannabis.

Our guide on medical marijuana for sleep includes the best strains to help you get some shut-eye.

Combat Low Energy

Are you an elderly person who suffers from persistent fatigue? Are you unable to go about your daily activities because you can’t find the energy to get out of bed?

Old age is characterized by sarcopenia and general loss of strength, but marijuana may be able to help you get up and going.

Not everyone who consumes marijuana wants to stay zoned out; there’s also marijuana for those who need that rush of energy to help them get around. That’s one of the beauties of nature’s wonder drug; there’s something for everyone.

Management of Neurodegenerative Diseases

As we grow older, our bodies break down. The daily grind takes its toll, and we cannot cope with the burden it places on us.

Often, this leads to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Using medical marijuana for the elderly can help alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by:

  • Managing pain
  • Reducing tremors
  • Restoring balance
  • Sleep assistance

Also, research suggests that marijuana may help elderly patients manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and alleviate their suffering.

Natural, Plant-Based Properties

Marijuana contains hundreds of cannabinoids, and everyone is natural.

Unlike chemical products, the natural ingredients in medical marijuana are unlikely to cause serious side effects.

Consequently, the elderly can use medical marijuana safely without the fear of ingesting non-natural properties that may be detrimental to their health.

What Are the Best Strains of Medical Marijuana for the Elderly?

Now that you understand the proven and undeniable effects of medical marijuana, what are the best strains of medical marijuana for the elderly?

When choosing medical marijuana for the elderly, the priority is therapeutic properties over psychoactivity.

The best strains for elderly patients will have a good dose of CBD to balance out the psychoactive properties of THC.

The best marijuana strains for the elderly include the following:


This strain has high CBD content and is perfect for elderly marijuana patients who want the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the high. It may help with pain management, inflammation, and anxiety without impairing cognition, mental clarity, and focus.

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a popular strain typically chosen for its very mild effect. Like other sativa strains, it causes a light, euphoric mental state

This strain has high concentrations of pinene and beta-caryophyllene, two terpenes with considerable anti-inflammatory qualities, so older people can stave off fatigue and still keep their focus during daily tasks.

Green Crack

Green crack is a Sativa-dominant cannabis strain that gives MMJ patients a reviving rush of vitality and concentration. It is renowned for its uplifting effects and mental stimulation.

It is perfect for elderly patients looking for a burst of motivation, creativity, and energy without cognitive impairment. Also, it helps fight fatigue and is a great anesthetic thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Garlic Cookies

Garlic Cookies presents itself as a fantastic solution for seniors looking for a strong strain to relieve pent-up stress and anxiety. Its high THC content produces potent pain-relieving effects, yet its high levels of limonene and beta-caryophyllene ensure it doesn’t cause heavy drowsiness.

Get Your MMJ Card at Any Age With Elevate Holistics

Is marijuana safe for the elderly? Yes! Marijuana is safe and effective in helping elderly patients live healthy and comfortable life.

And thanks to the use of medical marijuana for pain in elderly persons, seniors can enjoy life without those worrying niggles here and there.

While this article focuses on medical marijuana for the elderly, anyone of any age can enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana if they have an MMJ card.

That is where we come in.

Elevate Holistics can help you get your MMJ card so that you’re free to access the benefits of nature’s wonder drug. 100% hassle-free and 100% online.

Do you need an MMJ card, or do you know an elderly patient who requires the medical benefits of marijuana?

Click here or the link below to schedule a call and get started.

Experience the holistic benefits of MMJ -- no matter your age.

Get an MMJ card 100% online, 100% hassle-fee in under 15 minutes with Elevate Holistics.

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About the author

Michael Lawal is a seasoned content writer with specialized expertise in the medical cannabis industry. With a background that blends journalism and health sciences, Michael has a knack for translating complex medical cannabis research into accessible and engaging content. His writing portfolio showcases a range of work from informative articles and research summaries to patient education materials. Committed to raising awareness about the benefits and responsible use of medical cannabis, Michael's work is a valuable resource for both consumers and professionals in the field.
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