Let the Elderly Have Their Weed!

How Medical Pot Is Helping Seniors Get Off (Prescription) Drugs


On February 18, 2014, Reason TV released a short documentary, "How Medical Pot Is Helping Seniors Get Off (Prescription) Drugs." Here's the original text:

"Talk to almost anybody over 65-years-old and there's a list of medications that they're taking. And very often, the side-effects from those medications are worse than the symptoms they're supposedly treating," says Steve DeAngelo of the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on the legal supply of marijuana for research purposes. Because NIDA is more focused on studying marijuana abuse than its potential benefits, researchers in the U.S. have had difficulty getting their hands on marijuana to use in their studies. One notable exception is a research project initiated by the University of California in 2000. The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research has found that cannabis may offer benefits to people suffering from pain as a result of nerve damage, HIV, strokes, and other conditions.

The mounting evidence that cannabis has medicinal value is becoming increasingly difficult to deny. For example, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, was a medical cannabis skeptic when he wrote a 2009 TIME magazine article called "Why I Would Vote No on Pot." After digging deeper into research conducted in other countries, Gupta changed his mind, saying, "We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my role in that."

At the Harborside Health Center, Steve DeAngelo and his team are well aware that cannabis is an effective treatment for a wide range of health problems, including many of the ailments that afflict the elderly. The problem, however, is that seniors tend to be uninformed or misinformed about cannabis. So a few years ago, DeAngelo hired Sue Taylor, a retired Catholic school principal, to reach out to seniors in the Oakland area. As Taylor puts it, "I am here to remove the stigma of medical cannabis."

Approximately 5:45 minutes.

Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

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  1. And very often, the side-effects from those medications are worse than the symptoms they’re supposedly treating

    I dunno about “very often”, but as part of our intake and “medication reconciliation” process for patients, it is not unusual for us to go through a (literal!) grocery sack of meds for elderly patients. Cleaning up their prescriptions by getting rid of most of them often works wonders.

  2. Old people don’t need medical marijuana. They need to be isolated and studied so that it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.

    1. Stop reading that Ross Perot pamphlet.

  3. There’s an amazing potted history of marijuana legalization in today’s Washington Post.

    The best quote comes from former Drug Czar and retired 4-star general Barry McCaffrey of all people. Behold:

    “The momentum to treat marijuana as a legal drug is irreversible,” says McCaffrey, the former drug czar. He no longer accepts invitations to appear on television to debate the issue because he says the networks “only wanted a rented idiot general who didn’t understand that marijuana was harmless and filling America’s jails. The opposition has gone silent. The politicians, police, judges know this is bad policy but they don’t make a peep. So we’re going to end up with impaired surgeons and air pilots. We’re just accepting another drug of abuse.”

    You really have to read the whole thing. He blames the clever libertarians for sabotaging the entire American Experiment!

    1. Ah yes, powerless libertarians and their ability to control the government and civil society. It’s the same dumb logic Tony uses here. It’s fun knowing that Team Purple has found a common enemy; libertarians.

    2. Just like we have drunk surgeons and pilots today.

      Proof that you don’t have to be smart to be a four star general.

    3. Well, he’s right about one thing…

      He is an idiot general.

      1. ++1

        Every lacky in the drug war should be sent to the reeducation camps.

    4. This really is a good example of someone in denial. I mean how can anyone look at the drug war and see anything positive? It has done nothing but “invent” criminals and has cost billions in resources to round up the criminals they created. How can a man smart enough to become a 4 star general still support this miserable failure?

      I suppose he thinks our Cuban policy is spot on as well. Just a little bit longer and those commie bastards will be eating out of our hands…

  4. Based on the picture, this should be entitled “Let the Elderly, Smug, Hipster Douches Have Their Weed!”

    1. Resembling Bill Murray, in this instance, does not help advance the argument in favor.

  5. I’m sitting here, looking out the window at roughly a foot of fresh snow.

    Haha, California. All your snows are belong to us.

    1. That is cruel.

    2. I’m sitting here, looking out the window watching the hummingbirds duel over the flower bed.Earlier I saw the local red-tail hawk with 4 (!) baby hawks in tow. I’m in my shirt sleeves. Later, I’ll go down to my local bar and watch drunk college girls play pool.

      Keep the snow.

    3. My view of the sunset today:

  6. A little pot never hurt anyone.

    1. “A little pot never hurt anyone” ? So sez YEE!!! AH, Yers Truly, Self-Appointed Inter-Galactic Ambassador of THE TRUTH, sez that POT is the Living Embodiment of ALL That is Satanic-and-Static-Cling-Accursed (non-suppressed-by-a-Guv-Mint- Almighty-Approved-and-licensed-static-suppressing cling-and- Klingon-free dryer sheets),EVIL, humanistic and Godless, hedonistic,and self-indulgent! ALL must bow, NOW, in obedience to cling-free-ness!!! And ADDICTION, do we NOT all know by NOW, that addiction is BAD?!!??! That is why AH, in My Sacred Holiness, do Hereby CLING to my static-free (and obliviously obvious) MORAL SUPERIORITY in declaring MEself to be TOTALLY clean of ALL pot-headedness!!! Oh-TAY!?!? And never mind all the whiskey I drank to come up with all of this, at least all of THAT is LEGAL, Oh-TAY?!?!?!?

      1. Oh, and by the way? “full disclosure” and all? May I pwease add? NONE of these sediments that Ah has hereby expressed, are in any WAY coerced from me, by Bow-Wee Oh-Blow, who (Blessed Be His Name), has Magnanimously NOT (yet) sent me to jail, for questioning His Imperial Wisdom?

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