A quest for more information on medicinal cannabis – from how addictive it is (or isn’t) to whether it reacts negatively with ‘typical’ prescriptions, where it can be obtained locally and more – brought a healthy dose of seniors out to Wednesday’s meeting of the Kent Street computer club.
The crowd – estimated at 130-plus, more than double the club’s regular turnout – supports the sentiment that seniors are “absolutely” thirsting to learn more about the topic, club member Dennis Anderson agreed after the presentation by Terry Roycroft of Vancouver-based Medicinal Cannabis Resource Centre Inc.
And Anderson, 76, was no exception. He left the hour-long ‘Medical Cannabis 101: An introduction for Seniors’ event with new questions about the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for his father – who, at 99, is still coping with the aftermath of a broken hip – as well as some new perspectives on the topic.
For one, “I’m not afraid to talk about it anymore,” the White Rock resident told Peace Arch News.
And, when seeing people ‘partaking,’ “I’ll have a different attitude now.”
Roycroft, who is founder and president of MCRCI, touched on everything from myths of cannabis use – including that people only use it to get high – and the evolution of its access for medicinal purposes, to tax benefits and the body’s pre-existing ability to process cannabinoids.
Its medical benefits are plentiful, Roycroft told the crowd, naming chronic pain, insomnia, stress, depression and anxiety among the top conditions people treat with medicinal cannabis.
And while “not one person’s ever died from using cannabis,” Roycroft said it’s important those turning to it for medicinal purposes get expert guidance.
“It’s really, really important to be very aware of your dose,” Roycroft said, noting that ingesting cannabis “is a very different story” to inhaling it when it comes to feeling the effects.
With the latter, the effects are typically felt within a minute, he explained.
By contrast, ingesting can leave a new user with the impression of no effect, leading the individual to inadvertently “double-dose.”
And that “green out” is “not pleasant,” Roycroft said, describing wobbly legs, hallucinations and more.
“This is something that we see at 4-20,” he said, referring to the April 20 ‘national holiday’ for cannabis culture.
“That’s the danger of cannabis in the extracted form.”
Asked how addictive medicinal marijuana is, Roycroft said it falls far below dozens of other substances, among a list of 150 that ranks things like alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and crack cocaine in the top 10.
“Cannabis came in at number 143,” he said.
“Cannabis can be addictive, but it’s not physically addictive. (It’s) not really very addictive, but it can be very, very habit-forming.”
Wednesday’s presentation was the first of two cannabis-themed presentations scheduled by the computer club this month.
The second – ‘Alta Alta – Medical Cannabis for Pain Relief in Seniors’ – including a ‘show-and-tell’ of various medical cannabis products, is set for 12:30-2:30 p.m. on March 27.
Anderson – who noted he went to school in the ’60s – said for many attendees of this week’s presentation, including himself, pain is a constant.
Armed with more information, he said he will “probably” try medicinal cannabis for relief. It’s far less scary than some prescription options.
“OxyContin – that’s scary. Whereas this doesn’t scare me.”
For fellow club member Mary Ross, the jury remains out on the benefits of medicinal cannabis. And the presentation did nothing to pique her interest in testing the waters.
“It’s not something that I see myself doing,” she said, noting cannabis is “something that may or may not prove to be useful to people.”
Regardless, “I have a reluctance to do any drugs,” she said.