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Book Review: Cannabis for Seniors Review in CannaConsumer Magazine
Dr. Beverly Potter  --  Cannabis for Seniors Dr. Beverly Potter -- Cannabis for Seniors
Oakland, CA
Friday, March 20, 2020

Book Review: Cannabis for Seniors Review in CannaConsumer Magazine

I had the pleasure of reviewing Cannabis for Seniors by Dr. Beverly Potter, also known as Doc Potter, and could not be more excited to share what I found, with our readers.

The description, on the back, shows that "Cannabis for Seniors is an essential reference for seniors, both new to cannabis and those who are experienced users." Additionally, that "Caretakers and family will find the information invaluable in evaluating the potential benefits of cannabis." After reviewing this publication, I could not agree more, as subjects that Dr. Potter touches upon are essential for seniors to find their way through this complicated, and stigma ridden, plant-ripe with potential medical and wellness benefits.

Why Cannabis for Seniors:

This chapter begins with this impressive statistic: "Baby boomers are turning 65 to become "seniors" at an incredible rate of 10,000 each day. The percent of Americans aged 65 or over will grow to 18% by 2030 and it's projected that the senior citizen population will balloon to 89% by 2050. Not that I was unaware of the explosion for the baby boomer populations, as I have family in this age group and we have been discussing the various issues with Social Security benefits, medical care, etc. for decades now.

However, Dr. Potter brings attention to some details such as "It is not uncommon for seniors to be taking up to 20 pills per day," many haves "become isolated due to grown children or "death of a spouse," and that they find it "harder to meet new people." She also points out that "with isolation comes feeling lonely and helpless to be able to change it, which can lead to anxiety and worry about their situation, health and future." Finally, that "cannabis has properties and benefit that seniors can draw upon for aid in these issues.

The Endocannabinoid System:

I was happy that Dr. Potter took the time to address the basics of the Endocannabinoid System as it is the system, in the human body, that is set up to receive cannabinoids. She discusses Trichomes, "the small, mushroom-shaped crystals that coat the cannabis flower" as well as terpenes, "the oils within the plant affecting it's flavor" and the other synthetic cannabinoids, or "designer drugs" made to emulate the natural cannabinoids of the plant.

Routes into the Bloodstream:

This chapter discusses all the methods of consumption, such as injection, inhalation, eating, absorption through skin, sublingual absorption, and suppositories. This chapter points out facts such as how although injection is the quickest route into the blood stream, cannabis is not water soluble and so this is not a typical method of consumption. Also, that "most people begin to notice effects of suppositories within ten to fifteen minutes after insertion." This is an incredibly informative chapter that is quite explanatory of the consumption methods, of cannabis, and the risks and benefits of each.

Tailor Your Therapeutics:

I felt it was important to highlight this chapter as Dr. Potter stresses the need for all patients, but especially seniors, to take back knowledge and control of their body and how medicine affects it. She explains the need to "establish a baseline" or to quantify "your level of anxiety or pain (for example)" in order to know how cannabis is helping that wellness issue. Then, once you have established your baseline then it is important to use small quantities to observe how it is helping you to get ahold of your particular condition. It is also important to "acknowledge the change" you have noticed, even if small, in order to understand the appropriate dosage and strain that is most helpful to the condition. This chapter leads into a chapter on the "Senior Opioid Epidemic" and points out some frightening statistics.

Did you that "from 2006 to 2012, a Towson University study found that ER visits for prescription overdose jumped by 78%"? Also, I was unaware that "the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows rates of adults 45-85 being hospitalized for opioid use to have risen by 500% since 1993?" Finally, that "a 2009 American Geriatric Society reversal in their policy to no longer recommend over-the-counter meds (such as NSAIDs) before prescribing opioids, which hastened the rise in opioid use."

Easy to see how, with the rise in population of baby boomers combined with the decision to recommend opioids over over-the-counter medications caused the explosion in opioid use, and addiction in the senior community. Also how a recent Journal of Psychoactive Drugs study concluded that cannabis can both substitute and totally replace opioids as well as enhance their effectiveness in order to decrease the sheer quantity of opioid consumption. The importance of decreasing the intake of opioid consumption, in all age groups, is vital to the future of our Country.

Cannabis and Depression:

"According to Gregg Easterbrook, author of The Progressive Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse, depression is a growing problem, especially among seniors."  Symptoms of depression included pessimistic thoughts, feeling useless and helpless, chronic unhappiness, no interest in hobbies, feelings of anxiety or grumpiness, changes of sleep patterns, changing in eating habits and thoughts of suicide. Popular treatments, within Western medicine, are the "use of antidepressant medications such as Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft and others." However, "many are turning to cannabis for relief from depression because it enhances mood and well-being."

Did you know that in the early 17th century Indian doctors used cannabis as a treatment for depression? Dr. Potter points out that "cannabis stimulates they body's endocannabinoid system, hastens the development of nervous tissue, boosts energy, improves focus and decreases anxiety." Studies from Montreal's McGill University show that "low doses of THC generate the happy chemical known as Serotonin within the brain." Some seniors may choose to consume through inhalation, eating or tinctures but it is important to make sure that the dose of THC is low, in order to benefit from the cannabinoids in the plant.

Cannabis and Anxiety:

"Chronic Anxiety affects the mind as well as the body." Anxiety is described as the "sensation of fear and/or panic and makes people feel nervous and fearful about certain life situations." The books points out that "clinical studies and growing evidence suggests that CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties, for more long-term treatment edibles, tinctures and transdermal products like ointments, patches and gels might work better as they last longer.

All in all, Cannabis for Seniors is 196 pages, within 22 chapters, and discusses so much more that what I have covered here today. Everything from the history of cannabis prohibition, myths about cannabis and even how to cook with and make DIY cannabis medications is covered in this book. I found it to be very informative, detailed and a very easy read. You can find Dr. Potter's book at Amazon.com and I highly recommend it. 

Cannabis for Seniors by Beverly A. Potter


Softcover $18.95 (200pp)


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Name: Dr. Beverly Potter
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Dateline: Oakland, CA United States
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