Ask 83-year old Rose Durette what she thinks about medicinal cannabis, and with a smile on her face, she’ll tell you, “I feel great because I have no pain!” Durette takes cannabis oil four times a day and prefers to have it mixed with a bit of apple sauce “because it tastes better that way.”
Durette has lived at Trillium Villa Nursing Home in Sarnia since September 2015. During her time there, her existing mobility problems worsened due to increased pain. She was rarely able to leave the nursing home and was very uncomfortable sitting in her wheelchair. Visiting with family was also difficult as she was heavily sedated from the narcotics being used to control her pain. When approached with the opportunity to try medical cannabis, Durette and her family immediately agreed, in the hopes it could improve her quality of life and help with her pain.
Seniors’ changing attitudes
Durette is now able to use a sit-to-stand lift, allowing her to participate in daily activities for the first time in more than a year. This summer she participated in a picnic lunch with fellow residents — something that was simply not possible before her decision to try medical cannabis.
After meeting with Dr. Blake Pearson — the founder of Greenly Health, which specializes in providing cannabinoid therapy to seniors living in long-term care — Trillium Villa decided to make medicinal cannabis available to their residents.
“Dr. Pearson educated us on how medical cannabis would benefit our resident population,” recalls Kim Van Dam, the Administrator at Trillium Villa. “Once we started to look at potential outcomes we agreed that we wanted to offer this service to our residents.”
A recognized expert in the field of cannabinoid medicine, Dr. Pearson accepts referrals from across Ontario at his Sarnia clinic and also offers virtual appointments for people living out of town or with mobility issues. This allows him to consult with patients and administration in long-term care homes across the province. Dr. Pearson is also the founder of Greenly Medical Consulting, which provides educational services to practitioners, allied health professionals and the public in order to improve patient access and further understand the potential of cannabinoid medicine in the treatment of complex health conditions.
Medical cannabis’ unique abilities
“Cannabinoid medicine is a good option for seniors because it’s what we call a multi-modal medicine,” explains Dr. Pearson. “It can be used to treat several different conditions at once, allowing doctors to reduce poly pharmacy, which is a big issue in long-term care.”
According to the latest research from the Canadian Institute of Health Information, seniors living in long-term care are twice as likely to be on opioid medications and three times as likely to be on anti-depressants than others their age. Additionally, seniors on 10 or more medications are five times as likely to be hospitalized due to an adverse drug reaction. “This data speaks for itself,” says Dr. Pearson. “It was a primary driver behind our efforts to explore safe, effective alternative therapies for seniors living in long-term care.”
Kelly Batson, Manager of Patient Care at Trillium Villa, was instrumental in setting up the medicinal cannabis program, collecting the data required to measure outcomes and support registered nurses who were administering the cannabis oil. As Batson approached more residents and families about Dr. Pearson’s cannabis therapies, the support and eagerness to participate became overwhelming.
“Resident outcomes have been remarkable in terms of quality of life and pain management,” says Van Dam. “Medical cannabis can be of great benefit to seniors. That’s why it’s so important that we address barriers to access, such as integrating the process for ordering, storing and administering medical cannabis with Trillium Villa’s existing medication management processes and the fact that it’s not covered by the OntarioDrug Benefit program.”
Durette’s family can vouch for the benefits of providing seniors with medicinal cannabis. They note that she is so much happier now that she’s not in pain. They also find that they’ve enjoyed better visits with her because she is vibrant and clearer of mind when they’re together.
“I think people should try it if they can,” says Durette. “I feel much better.”
Co-Founder and President, Weed Me Inc.
Committed to Seniors’ Care
Seniors aged 65 and over are the fastest growing demographic in Canada and they often suffer from ailments that may benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis companies are determining the best cannabis delivery methods for the elderly. They’re also focused on developing unique formulations that address specific medical conditions.
There’s also the challenge of establishing processes that smoothly integrate the provision of medical cannabis into a variety of long-term care settings. Since medical cannabis was legalized, we’ve learned that the cannabis plant contains many beneficial elements that do not have psychoactive properties. While all of this is exciting, perhaps the most important thing is the increase in the quality of life for seniors who are benefiting from a new method of treatment.
Co-Founder, Weed Me Inc.
Canada is Leading the World Forward
We are at a time in history where countries around the globe are acknowledging the potential of cannabis as a medicinal benefit. Here in Canada, we are a hub for development, a shining example of what modern cannabis regulations look like, and the front runners in accessibility. Our potential for growth as a global provider is immense.
Even though cannabis has appeared in medical documents for thousands of years, it is only now that we are utilizing scientific advancement to begin to understand the merit of this incredible plant. Our mandate is to produce the highest quality medical cannabis through industry-leading production processes, all while continually striving to enhance bioavailability, develop new formulations, and benefit humanity as a whole. In the future, I think we will look back as a nation and ask, “why did we wait so long?
Chief Marketing Officer, Weed Me Inc.
Educating the Canna-Curious
When people say they use cannabis, the word use suggests purpose. For registered medical cannabis patients, that purpose is very clear. However, for the remainder of society, legitimate questions about cannabis remain. Why do people use it? How do they use it? Is there more than one way? These are the things that people need to know.
We are constantly reflecting on these questions on our CannaCurious blog. The last 80 years of prohibition have created knowledge gaps that we feel compelled to fill. The ‘canna-curious’ are not only people who are interested in exploring cannabis as a therapeutic benefit. They’re also people who want to understand how policymakers are planning to keep our children safe, eliminate cannabis’ black market, and reduce harm.