Episode 54 - Integrating Medical Cannabis Into Elder Care

Modern medicine knows how to prolong life but rarely addresses the quality of that life. this episode explores another way of growing older -- in which our symptoms are not controlling our lives – with the help of medical cannabis.

 
 

This episode is supported by Medical Cannabis Mentor: The finest evidenced-based cannabis education courses for healthcare professionals, dispensary personnel and patients.

One of the turning points for my understanding the power of medical cannabis occurred in an Israeli nursing home where elders with dementia were being treated with it. Rather than being a gloomy and harrowing place like so many of these patient warehouses are, the Haradim Nursing Home was peaceful, even cheerful. It was where I encountered Moshe Roth a 90-something gentleman smoking a joint—the only form of treatment available in Israel at the time. That joint had turned his life of torment into a much happier existence, one in which he was able to enjoy music, painting and the company of his wife again.

Inbal Sokorin, the head nurse of Haradim at the time, has turned her experience there into an international company. In partnership with co-founder Alon Blatt, who is interviewed on this podcast and who oversees the US operation, NiaMedic now has 3 facilities in the Los Angeles area that use medical cannabis in conjunction with conventional treatments to ensure that our elders have a better quality at the end of their lives. They’ve partnered with UCLA to research and document their findings. Some of the preliminary results are noteworthy.

  • About 5% of the population doesn’t respond to CAN therapies. But for those who do, 93.8% report improved overall conditions.

  • 87.5% report significant pain reduction. Before cannabis treatment the median pain level of the NiaMedic population was 10 out of 10. (In other words, excruciating). After 6 months of cannabis treatment, the level dropped to 2.5 our of 10. What’s more, over half of their patients stopped using opiates.

  • Their dementia patients have also saw their cognitive functioning improve by 10%. This  indicates that cannabis is either a neuroprotector (as many pre-clinical studies show) that improves cognitive functioning or that it helps patients decrease their other, more mind-fogging, medications.

One final, non-sequential thought: If you’re a New Yorker or believe that legalizing cannabis in New York (population 25 million) would be a game changing event for the entire east coast, please listen to Melissa Moore, the Drug Policy Alliance’s NY State Director, on what you can do to get our state legislators to do the right thing. We have until mid-June to push for legalization. Even if you don’t live in New York please listen and send to your friends in New York. Now is the time to act.

Joe Dolce