Medical Marijuana for the Elderly


The use of medical cannabis is highly controversial, but a study done at Tel Aviv University now shows that  prescribing pot for elderly patients can "soothe severe pain, increase the appetite, and ease insomnia where other common medications fail."

A release from the university reports that In 2009, Zach Klein, a graduate of Tel Aviv University's Department of Film and Television Studies, directed the documentary Prescribed Grass. Through the process, he developed an interest in the scientific research behind medical marijuana, and now, as a specialist in policy-making surrounding medical cannabis and an MA student at TAU's Porter School of Environmental Studies, he is conducting his own research into the benefits of medical cannabis.

The release says he is using marijuana from a farm called Tikkun Olam — a reference to the Jewish concept of healing the world. Along with colleagues, he tested the impact of the treatment on 19 residents of the Hadarim nursing home in Israel. The results, Klein says, "have been outstanding." Not only did participants experience dramatic physical results, including healthy weight gain and the reduction of pain and tremors, but Hadarim staff saw an immediate improvement in the participants' moods and communication skills. The use of chronic medications was also significantly reduced, Klein says.

Overall, Klein believes that the healing powers of cannabis "are close to miraculous." He has long supported an overhaul in governmental policy surrounding the drug. Since his film was released in 2009, the number of permits for medical cannabis in Israel has increased from 400 to 11,000. His research is about improving the quality of life, he concludes, especially for those who have no other hope.


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