Medical Cannabis Pilot Study For Seniors Living In Residential Care

Medical cannabis and senior citizens
Image: sabinevanerp

A study is to get under way in Ontario, Canada examining the use of cannabis in the long-term care of senior citizens.

As in Australia, Canada has an ageing population. According to Statistics Canada, the proportion of seniors grew from 8% in 1960 to 14% in 2009. Seniors are expected to comprise around 23% to 25% of the population by 2036, and around 24% to 28% in 2061.

Length of life and quality of life can be very different things. As people live longer, they are more prone to long- term conditions such as cognitive disease and chronic pain – and medicinal cannabis has potential to assist in the management/treatment of both.

Spectrum Cannabis, a subsidiary of Canopy Growth, has partnered with the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) through the provision of an unrestricted educational grant to fund a study of medical cannabis use with seniors

“Medical cannabis is currently prescribed for residents as appropriate, but it’s still an emerging area,” said Candace Chartier, CEO, OLTCA. “Through this partnership and pilot study, we hope to provide more clarity to long-term care clinicians and frontline staff about the use of medical cannabis for residents.”

Canopy Growth states it will be world’s first and largest medical cannabis pilot program of its nature and will see as many as 500 residents participating.

“The pilot study we’ve announced today is the first step in developing an evidence-based, best practice approach to medical cannabis that will result in consistent care for thousands of seniors and ultimately improve quality of life and outcomes in long-term care homes,” said Canopy Growth President and Co-CEO Mark Zekulin.

Another study we mentioned earlier this year found therapeutic use of cannabis to be safe and effective in the elderly population and pointed out its potential in decreasing the use of opioid medications; abuse of which has been a growing problem around the world.

Medical cannabis appears to be quite well accepted among U.S. seniors. A national poll we reported on in April revealed 80% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 80 years support allowing medical marijuana if it’s recommended by a physician.