Dr. Joshua Briscoe, a palliative care doctor at Duke University School of Medicine who has studied the use of marijuana for pain and nausea in older patients. “Buyer beware.”
Talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor you’re thinking about trying medical marijuana. Although he or she may have some concerns, most doctors won’t judge you for seeking out alternative treatments.
Make sure your prescriber is aware of all the medications you take. Marijuana might have dangerous interactions with prescription medications, particularly medicines that can be sedating, says Dr. Benjamin Han, a geriatrician at New York University School of Medicine who studies marijuana use in the elderly.
Watch out for dosing. Older adults metabolize drugs differently than young people. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, try the lowest possible dose first to avoid feeling intoxicated. And be especially careful with edibles.They can have very concentrated doses that don’t take effect right away.
Elderly people are also more sensitive to side effects. If you start to feel unwell, talk to your doctor right away. “When you’re older, you’re more vulnerable to the side effects of everything,” Han says. “I’m cautious about everything.”