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Our society often avoids the topic of death, as most people are understandably uncomfortable with even thinking about the end of life. Death is inevitably a challenging experience. But, it can be made as comfortable – and maybe even beautiful – as possible with the right kind of care. Dying doesn’t have to mean being hooked up to machines in a hospital. It could mean having a profound experience right at home.

What is home hospice like? At-home hospice care aims to make the end of one’s life pleasant, easing suffering without focusing on how to cure the individual of their terminal illness. Palliative care provides benefits for those on hospice by optimizing the quality of a patient’s life no matter the diagnosis. But how do you ease symptoms of dying without harsh side effects?

Researchers have found that cannabis and hospice are a natural fit. Medical cannabis benefits individuals in all stages of life, easing physical and mental burdens without the negative impacts of chemical-based pharmaceuticals. Let’s find out more about at-home hospice and the role medical marijuana could play in this transitional experience.

What is Home Hospice?

So what is home hospice like? At-home hospice not only focuses on physical symptoms, but addresses emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of the patient’s life. Providing hospice care at home means that the patient stays right where they call home, keeping them in a familiar and relaxing environment. 

An at-home hospice care team is typically made up of the primary caregiver, who is usually a close family member or friend, other loved ones, doctors, nurses, and coordinators. The hospice care team develops a care plan based on the patient’s needs. This varies depending on the level of assistance the patient needs. So what does a patient need to make their hospice experience the best it can be?

When discussing benefits for those in hospice, the use of medical marijuana cannot be ignored. It’s common for patients at the end of life to be sick of chemical-based drugs (literally and figuratively). At this point, they desire to simply find peace and enjoy their final days. The stigma around cannabis, along with regulations, has derailed the use of medical marijuana in palliative care for almost a century. If you think cannabis can benefit your loved one, we’re here to help.

Cannabis and Hospice

What is home hospice like with cannabis? The combination of cannabis and hospice care isn’t a new concept. In fact, doctors legally prescribed cannabis for medical purposes prominently until the country criminalized it in the 1930s. Luckily, most U.S. states have relegalized the plant since then. Now, it’s just about reintegrating cannabis into regular medical care and spreading awareness.

Medical cannabis benefits go beyond what chemical-based pharmaceuticals are capable of, without the negative side effects. At-home hospice care with cannabis means natural treatment for the patient’s body, mind, and spirit, such as pain relief, mood enhancement, and more. Caregivers often suggest medical cannabis for patients suffering from cancer, but cannabis could provide benefits for those on hospice with any terminal illness.

If it is not possible to completely avoid chemical-based pharmaceuticals, patients can still enjoy cannabis in conjunction with medications. Cannabis may even be able to help ease side effects, like nausea, that these medications may cause. But before combining chemical-based pharmaceuticals and cannabis, caregivers should consult with a doctor or pharmacist to see if clashing will occur.

Medical Cannabis Benefits

Benefits for those on hospice using medical cannabis include:

  • Relieving physical pain and bodily ailments: People consume cannabis to help alleviate severe pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, nausea, constipation, fatigue, sleep disorders, and can stimulate appetite and weight gain.
  • Easing spiritual and existential suffering: Cannabis can be therapeutic for patients faced with the despair of a terminal illness and the loss of function that accompanies it. It also helps alleviate mood disorders, as a mild euphoria could bring about a sense of wellbeing.
  • Enhancing the senses: Cannabis enhances sensory perceptions and awareness, leading to increased appreciation of scents, music, tastes, and visuals. Cannabis could optimize the delights in a patient’s life. It could also help to “heighten awareness of moment-to-moment presence,” which is crucial when you only have limited days.

Treating a hospice patient with medical marijuana doesn’t have to mean getting them high, it could simply mean utilizing the many other cannabinoids in cannabis to medically treat their ailments. Products without THC (or often small amounts of THC) will not get the patient high. You can utilize cannabis in the form of a tincture, beverages, food, topicals, and more. Caregivers can help administer cannabis in many of its forms.

How to Become a Cannabis Caregiver

So you want to help provide your loved one with medical cannabis benefits to ease and make their end-of-life experience more pleasant – but how do you become a cannabis caregiver? First, you must determine what your state permits and its marijuana caregiver regulations.

In any state, the person who wishes to have medical marijuana must qualify as a patient. Patients with a terminal illness are generally guaranteed to qualify for medical marijuana. After the patient has acquired their medical marijuana card, the caregiver must apply to become a medical card caregiver through their state, which typically takes place online. 

Caregivers must be of a certain age and may have to pass a background check. Other factors might also apply, and a state may outline disqualifying factors that prevent a person from becoming a caregiver. It is important to look into your state’s specifications.

Elevate Holistics describes the cannabis caregiver process in New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

After approval, cannabis caregivers can visit dispensaries to purchase cannabis products for the patient. It is illegal for caregivers to consume medical cannabis that has been dispensed on behalf of a registered qualifying patient.

It is clear that medical cannabis can aid at-home hospice care and make a patient’s end-of-life more tolerable, and Elevate Holistics is here to help. Patients can receive their medical marijuana card through Elevate Holistics with the help of a friend or family member. The process is fully online and you can complete it anywhere, making it as simple as possible. 

Not only does Elevate Holistics provide patients with medical marijuana cards through an easy process, our purpose is also to educate about cannabis and provide resources to help individuals live a better life, naturally. Cannabis and hospice, cannabinoids, state laws, and the latest weed discoveries – Elevate Holistics talks about it all. Visit our blog to learn about all things cannabis.

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About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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