Floyd Huen, a Bay Area geriatrician who once led Oakland’s Highland Hospital.Huen, 70, has made it his late-in-life mission to spread awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana among the group he has found most hostile to it: elderly Asian Americans.
Also, patients can use marijuana to get relief without smoking it or even getting high. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology and hematology at San Francisco General Hospital, treats cancer patients at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.
He said “not a day goes by” that he does not see seniors with nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain, depression or anxiety. “When I see those people, I’m able to offer them one medicine instead of writing them prescriptions for five or six, all of which might interact with each other or the chemotherapy or targeted therapy that the patients are taking,” Abrams said.
When Huen took the microphone and began trying to speak, the shouting increased. Huen and other medical professionals maintain seniors are exactly the population that could most benefit from cannabis treatment.
Data support this: In January, the National Academy of Sciences released the most comprehensive and authoritative review of medical marijuana studies to date.
AARP’s 2016 policy book, for instance, does not mention the word “marijuana” once.
Geriatricians aren’t getting any national guidance on medical marijuana, either.
Its executive committee, led by Renee Lee, met recently in the home of group member Dr.
Paul Holland and talked about the hurdles seniors face learning about and safely using cannabis.
“We have not developed any clinical practices guidelines for medical marijuana,” said Dan Trucil, assistant director of communications with the American Geriatric Society.
Health insurance almost never covers medical cannabis, which can cost ,000 per year on average — prohibitive for a person on a fixed income.
State survey data show that patients who use cannabis use it primarily for those conditions, as well as to ease side effects of cancer treatment. government has systematically blocked research into cannabis’ benefits. On March 9, the American College of Cardiology linked marijuana use with a 26 percent increase in the risk of stroke and a 10 percent increase in the risk of developing heart failure.