John Wenzlau and Millie Oakeson

There is an alternative, natural way to treat a number of chronic issues, such as pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis and many people are using it — cannabis. Some statistics say that 75 percent of those using medical marijuana as a way to treat those issues are seniors who have medical marijuana cards. This new choice in therapy is giving successful aging new meaning.

Radio hosts John Wenzlau and Millie Oakeson bring expert guests to their weekly radio show “Successful Aging” on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX to talk about how to live your best life and age well. This past week, they spoke with Medical Director for Harvest Dispensaries Dr. William Troutt on the subject of seniors who are using medical marijuana and why.

Most people considering medical marijuana as an alternative are doing so because they have tried traditional medications and are tired of the side effects. The main reasons they are turning to this option is to treat pain, nausea, vomiting caused by cancer treatment drugs, sleep disorders and lack of appetite. Marijuana works differently in the brain than prescription drugs because our brains have different receptors. “In the correct dosage, marijuana is very safe,” Troutt said. “In 5,000 years of reports on the drug, there has never been a fatal overdose.”

There are other options, too, if the patient doesn’t want the “high” feeling. There are cannabinoid (CBD) alternatives that don’t have the THC included. Patients get the same pain relief and other benefits without the euphoric feelings. However, a small amount of the THC cannabinoids can give patients the relaxed feeling that can enhance the effect and make them feel better.

Patients don’t have to smoke marijuana to get the desired results. Inhaling will deliver the effects of the marijuana the quickest, but using a vaporizer lessens the carcinogens and also speeds up the effects. Edibles have become a popular choice. However, those take longer to give the desired relief because patients must ingest them first, and because they don’t feel the effects immediately, they may eat more and then feel more lethargic than they had hoped.

To get a medical marijuana card, the patient must see his physician and discuss with him the help he is hoping to get. The doctor needs to determine if is a good fit for the patient’s health needs. A prescription is then written and a certification center issues the card. The best way for patients to find out what their optimal dosage should be is to attend a patient orientation that is held each month at Harvest Dispensaries. For more information, check out Harvest Dispensaries at www.harvestofaz.com.

For more information on these topics or to ask a question, visit www.successfulaging.info. Tune in from 11 a.m. to noon every Tuesday to Independent Talk KFNX 1100 as we continue to explore “Successful Aging.”