Will Older Voters Back Pot for Pain?

Last updated: May 29, 2012

Reefer madness -- or a cure for what ails you? A group called the Silver Tour is working to persuade Florida's older adults to join 17 other states and the District of Columbia to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. The group is making its "pot pitch," as the Wall Street Journal dubs it, in nursing homes and places of worship around the state.

The advocacy group was founded in 2010 by 69-year-old Robert Platshorn, a former pot smuggler who served 30 years in federal prison. "Nobody in the marijuana movement is talking to seniors," he says. Yet "seniors are the only damn people that go to the polls." (In California in 2010, however, 66 percent of adults over age 65 voted against a medical marijuana bill.)

The Silver Tour presentations feature a doctor, a patient, and other advocates, including, occasionally, Democratic state representative Jeff Clemens. The roadshow also feature free buffets and, for dessert, brownies (the regular kind).

The WSJ cites a 1999 Institute of Medicine study, which was commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, showing that cannabis can sometimes help with pain relief, nausea reduction, and appetite stimulation. It's sometimes used to help ease chemotherapy nausea. Adverse effects include diminished motor skills and dysphoria (unpleasant feelings). THC, the active chemical in pot, can also impair memory and accelerate aging.

Some listeners say the pitch changes their view of marijuana to a more benign one; others still consider it a "gateway drug."

One pro-legislation rabbi who hosted the Silver Tour for his congregation penned this song: "I can see clearly now, my glaucoma is gone. Gone is the pain that comes from chemotherapy. Gone are the symptoms that had kept me down. It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright day thanks to THC."

Image by Flickr user jeffreyw, used under a Creative Commons license.

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8 Comments So Far. Add Your Wisdom.

over 2 years ago

I have never used so-called "recreational" drugs because it is a stupid thing ro do. We have had numerous instances of drivers high on a so-called rectional drugs, killing themselves whilst driving, or worse; maiming for life, or killing some innocent person. I only use what my doctor prescribes for any specific medical condation, of which I have three. It is important than anything I take will not conflict with a medication used for any of my other conditions. For anyone to claim that the pharmaceutical companies are aginst finding a cure for cancer because they would lose money; is utterly ignorant. Or is the writer also of the opinion that those who are "against" finding a cure for cancer; have never had, nor ever will have, a family member or close friend, who may fall prey to cancer? Finding a cure is of paramount importance to all mankind around the world; and that in itself would be extremely lucritave for the pharmaceutical companies.

over 2 years ago

The drug companies demonized MJ because they are only interested in their bottom line. 100 years ago (pre Big Pharma) it was THE drug of choice for nearly every medical problem. I have MS and for several years it was the only thing that eased my pain enough for me to sleep. I live in Sydney, Australia where it is NOT legal & I (and my friendly taxi driver) had to go to suppliers in the dark of night it was crazy and very expensive. Now the doctors here "kindly" say you are allowed to grow 2 plants for your own consumption. Well, I am a gardener, and we have a near perfect climate but it is very difficult to grow and the there is a lot of processing before it is ready to consume (I made cookies as I could not get the hang of inhaling but that required more MJ so I needed to cook up a large quantity hence the expense). Also the commercial MJ is full of toxic chemicals and has been manipulated (I have been told) to give a better high - organic is best. I now have a baclofen pump which controls the pain and is much cheaper as medical aid here pay for everything. But there are side effects I am shaky and luckily the minimum dose controls my pain because any more makes me feel sick & depressed. I know this option is really expensive in th US ($36 000 for pump + 400+ for refills). I never had any negative side effects to MJ. In the UK there is a legal MJ spray (into the mouth) that would be easy for seniors to use.

Anonymous said over 2 years ago

This should be another option for people to use, Obama's waffleing on this may cost him his re-election.

over 2 years ago

I agree. We have to change many laws in my country (México).So, it´s not that easy for us to use Mariguana for medical purposes. Thank you very much for the information.

over 2 years ago

MJ has few side effects if any at all. If you can find an honest review on it, which I have, that is what they said. Whereas, the other so called legal ones have terrible side effects. There is no reason for anyone to suffer with pain, lets get it on the market and out in the open to use, thats what "We the People", want.

over 2 years ago

medical marijuana is legal in California and maybe some other states. To me it is just another remedy and ought to be legal for medicinal purposes. At least then it could be regulated. my late husband could have used it for pain relief legally but his type of cancer prevented swallowing or inhaling it. Side effects? Well, all med's have side effects including the very strong dilaudid and morphine and tylenol he could use. MJ issues are part of a larger issue re pain relief for seniors and that is that their pain is often not adequately controlled and often Big Pharma drugs provided have lethal side effects but somehow make it to market without adequate testing or with serious deficits covered up. Doctors are not gods. I know. I was married to one for a quarter century.

over 2 years ago

The government doesn't want MJ legal because of the cotton conglomerates paying them not to legalize. It makes a better material than cotton that lasts longer and the cotton company doesn't want that. It has cures for many ills and cures for cancer. Big Pharmacy doesn't want that. Look at all the money they'd lose if cancer were cured. That's why they are holding back legalizing it. MJ is not a hard drug and it should be legalized to help people from suffering. Damn government.

over 2 years ago

Agreed. Should be a choice. Heavy duty anti-psychotics which are under patent and hugely costly are often NOT a choice since physicians as we know are God.

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