As medicinal marijuana becomes legal in many states, increasing numbers of senior citizens are turning to the drug for relief from pain that would otherwise be treated with painkillers such as morphine. Many retirement homes, including one in the Bronx, are now allowing residents to self-administer marijuana if they keep it locked up in their rooms. Some senior citizens are claiming that the drug allows them to cut back on more addictive painkillers, and relieves suffering. While many medical professions support the use of medicinal marijuana, many are wary of the effects. Many say we do not have sufficient evidence to suggest the dosage or safety of medicinal marijuana, especially in this new demographic of senior citizen users. Many are also concerned that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of retirement homes creates a safety issue in which the caretakers of senior citizens do not know what the senior citizens are ingesting. Nonetheless, support group clubs for seniors taking or wanting to learn more about taking marijuana have been popping up in retirement homes. Despite the stigma around taking marijuana, many senior citizens and their families also support it because it lowers medical costs. It will be interesting to see the effect of legalization of marijuana on this demographic.

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