Bob Dylan turns 72 this year. Though the singer/songwriter is not ready for a nursing home, researchers believe a line from his song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “Everybody must get stoned,” may be good advice for seniors in these establishments.
Using marijuana from a farm called Tikkun Olam — a reference to the Jewish concept of healing the world — researchers in Israel tested the impact of giving this drug to 19 residents of an Israeli nursing home. The results, the researchers say, have been outstanding. Not only did participants experience dramatic physical results, including healthy weight gain and the reduction of pain and tremors, but the nursing home staff saw an immediate improvement in the participants’ moods and communication skills. The use of chronic medications was also significantly reduced.
In the nursing home, 19 patients between the ages of 69 and 101 were treated with medical cannabis in the form of powder, oil, vapor or smoke three times daily over the course of a year for conditions such as pain, lack of appetite, muscle spasms and tremors. Researchers and nursing home staff monitored participants for signs of improvement, as well as improvement in overall life quality, such as mood and ease in completing daily living activities.
During the study, 17 patients achieved a healthy weight, gaining or losing pounds as needed. Muscle spasms, stiffness, tremors and pain reduced significantly. Almost all patients reported an increase in sleeping hours and a decrease in nightmares and PTSD-related flashbacks.
There was a notable decline in the amount of prescribed medications taken by patients, such as antipsychotics, Parkinson’s treatment, mood stabilizers and pain relievers, the researchers found, noting that these drugs have severe side effects. By the end of the study, 72 percent of participants were able to reduce their drug intake by an average of 1.7 medications a day.