Medical Marijuana Haunts Old-Age Nursing Homes
Norma Winkler in Rhode Island regularly uses cannabis oil to ease her chronic back pain. She is 82 years old and uses cannabis oil for her pain, which she has been enduring since she was 15. The cause of her back pain was a horrendous car accident that fractured her spine and skull. She underwent many operations for her pain, without getting any relief. The pain used to keep her up at night affecting her health.
But, with cannabis oil Mrs Winkler is able to live independently, even managing a jewelry factory. But, she is worried about the future, when she might need institutional care. Would old age care facilities allow her to continue using medical marijuana? Mrs Winkler is certain she will not go to a nursing home that prohibits the use of medical marijuana.
Medical Marijuana Haunts Nursing Homes
The question of elderly patients using medical marijuana is haunting assisted living nursing homes. This is because using medical marijuana is prohibited by federal law. The federal government does not think it has any medicinal value. Care facilities receive federal funds through Medicare and Medicaid. Doctors in 14 states plus the District of Columbia can recommend medical marijuana. Eight other states are also considering legalizing it.
Questions About Medical Marijuana
Facility administrators are thus obliged to obey federal law, but their patients need medical marijuana. A resolution to allow care facilities to use medical marijuana was shot down. There are concerns about proper use of medical marijuana in these care facilities. Dosage is a major concern. In some nursing homes, medical marijuana tends to disappear. Staff also seek to share marijuana with patients.
What About Other Patients?
Another vexing problem is how non-using residents may view the use of medical marijuana at care facilities. They may see it as a criminal offense, raising a dilemma about patients’ rights. Marijuana smoke may affect other patients’ lungs and its smell can also be offensive. There may also be cultural complaints because of the stigma attached to medical marijuana.
One solution is to designate marijuana-smoking areas. These questions raise issues about patients’ rights as they would like to lead their lives choosing their own choices and values. More importantly, elderly patients in care facilities want to live a pain-free life by using medical marijuana.
California to Decide
California is due to vote soon on the question of recreational marijuana use. If the measure is passed, it can bring many positive changes for elderly patients in care facilities, as it would provide them easier access to medical marijuana.