Colorado is the home of legal medical and recreational cannabis, and come to find out, we have history with this stuff. When Colorado became a state back in 1876, both hemp and cannabis could be grown legally, and they stayed that way for decades. By the late 1800s, cannabis oil was a common ingredient in medical tinctures. Asian-style hashish dens were common in larger cities like New York and San Francisco. Increasing popularity led to concerns that hashish would lead to mass addiction, and in 1906 the federal government imposed the first regulation on cannabis intended for consumption: A product simply had to be labeled if it contained the herb.
Between 1915 and 1917, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada all banned cannabis, and in March 1917, Colorado legislators made the use and cultivation of cannabis a misdemeanor. Those who broke the law were subject to a fine up to $10 and a month in jail, part of the growing national temperance movement that led to Prohibition in 1920.
On November 7, 2000, 54% of Colorado voters to approve the use of marijuana in the state for patients with written medical consent. Under this law, patients could possess up to 2 ounces of medical marijuana and cultivate no more than six plants.
Since the enactment ofColorado Amendment 64in November 2012, adults aged 21 or older can grow up to six marijuana plants privately in a locked space and legally possess all marijuana from the plants they grow, and possess up to one ounce of marijuana while traveling,
According to the most recent iteration of the 40-year-long “Monitoring the Future” study from the University of Michigan, 85 percent of Americans 50 plus have used illegal drugs, including marijuana, in their lifetimes.
Since 2006, marijuana use has increased significantly among adult Americans age 50 plus. A decade ago, roughly 4.5 percent of people ages 50 to 64, and 0.4 percent of seniors above age 65 had used marijuana in the past year. By 2013, those numbers had increased to 7.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. In percentage terms, marijuana use among 50- to 64-year-olds increased by 57.8 percent, while among seniors ages 65 and up, it ballooned by 250 percent.
This study, based on over 45,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, isn’t the first to note that marijuana use is increasing rapidly among older adults. But it digs more deeply into the demographics of older Americans’ marijuana use, uncovering some interesting findings. For example European-Americans and African-Americans are much more likely to indulge in cannabis than Latinos. Low-income and married Americans are more likely to partake than separated or divorced, but single or widowed Americans use cannabis the most.
Many 50+ Americans are using cannabis to deal with mental health issues. Among those 50 and older, people who have suffered with depression or anxiety in the past year are much more likely to use cannabis medically. A number of studies have shown a link between marijuana use and mental disorders. Given the widespread prevalence of medical marijuana laws, some seniors may be turning to cannabis as an alternative treatment for the ailments of old age.
One study found that Medicare reimbursements for a number of common prescription medications dropped sharply after the introduction of medical marijuana laws.
Medical or not, it’s clear that the rise in cannabis use among older adults is driven by the aging of the baby-boom generation, who dabbled extensively with cannabis in their youth and may be returning to it in old age for a variety of reasons.
Let’s face it. Most Boomers are different in their views of cannabis use compared to the generation before them, and since there are still plenty of boomers under 65, this trend toward increased use in old age is likely to continue into the future.
It is important to note that in some countries, like Israel, medical use of cannabis is considered standard treatment. Medical marijuana use has been permitted in Israel since the early 1990s for cancer patients and others with pain-related illnesses such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients can smoke cannabis, ingest it in liquid and caplet form, or apply it to the skin as a balm.
So here we are facing Valentine’s Day again, a Hallmark holiday whose origins, much like Halloween, are rooted in pagan partying. This lovers’ holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat or dog skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility, so says classics professor Noel Lenski at University of Colorado, Boulder. What do pagan parties have to do with love? Nothing.
I was quite lucky. After decades of struggle, study, and contemplation I finally met someone who was worthy of my love. Of course I didn’t know that at first. In my case I felt certain of his love whenever I was around him, but completely uncertain when I wasn’t. It took me a long time to truly trust him with my heart, but he was always patient and loving around my trust issues.
For us it was a life and death struggle in a world full of complete nonsense. He had a chronic illness which had challenged his will to live for decades. I had lost my will to live after so many decades of disappointment with the human race. He wanted to find new reasons to live, and he wanted to help me find new sources of joy.
We decided to make life great again TOGETHER…
From this I have learned that when you struggle together against great odds, you can build a powerful, trusting relationship, and you will never be the same after sharing struggles like this.
Thirteen years later we still face many health challenges, but we know we will face them together and we will find a way to win.
I have spent the past week learning something I did not want to know about boomers, and what we will be dying of in the future. This all started when I contracted a Clostridium difficile or C. diff infection back in October. C. diff is a common bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It can be very difficult to cure with standard antibiotic treatment, and the spores are easily transmitted on all surfaces.
According to the CDC, Clostridium difficile causes over half a million infections in the United States each year, and over 29,000 die within 30 days of initial diagnosis. More than 80 percent of the deaths associated with C. difficile occurred among Americans aged 65 years or older. C. difficile causes an inflammation of the colon and deadly diarrhea.
I have followed the standard protocol of antibiotic treatments for the past few months, but my infection continued to return. Because the generic vancomycin I have been taking off and on for months seemed less effective, I recently requested a stronger, more targeted antibiotic, fidaxomicin also known as Dificid. Come to find out, this drug is Tier 4 to my insurance company, so they will not help me purchase it, and at over $5,000 per treatment, there are no guarantees it will be more effective in curing my illness.
I’m beginning to see, the worse your illness, the less likely your insurance will pay for needed treatments. Now I see why C. diff is killing so many Americans.
So there you have it. The only two treatments that might actually help me at this point, are not covered by insurance and are therefore so outrageously expensive that no one but those billionaires who hang out with our president could afford them! I did find a British clinic in the Bahamas that offers FMT at a halfway reasonable rate, and if we get desperate, that is what we’ll do.
Good to know our health care system is working so well for Americans over 60. Sure there are lots of great drugs and treatments for infections and cancer, and most of us will never be able to afford them. We may also need to go to other countries to get treatments we can afford, and those that actually work!
Time to go renew my passport I guess…
The average cancer drug price for approximately 1 year of therapy was less than $10,000 before 2000. In 2012, 12 of the 13 new drugs approved for cancer indications were priced above $100,000 per year of therapy.
Amendment I to the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I was raised on this worldview from Voltaire:
‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’
I am reminded of a phrase that represents to me the ultimate spoiled child worldview: “I want what I want and I want it now!” There is a whole world of individuals who disagree with me and you, but democracy requires that we all get to express ourselves. Even if we find others’ views completely offensive, we need to all have the freedom to hold our own views of the world. Without that right we are no better than places like Russia and China where there is really no freedom at all.
What right do you have to silence the ideas of those who disagree with you? I believe that is called fascism.
I wish to share something I’ve been learning a lot about lately. I have been experiencing a bad and surprisingly virulent intestinal infection in the past few months. Through this I have learned BIG TIME that nearly everything about our health, for example, how we feel both physically and emotionally, hinges on the state of our microbiome or intestinal organisms. Since I started having intestinal distress, it has become quite clear to me that dysfunction in my gut causes much confusion in my brain.
Most have no idea that our intestinal organisms, or microbiome, participates in a wide variety of bodily systems, including immunity, detoxification, inflammation, neurotransmitter and vitamin production, nutrient absorption, feelings of hunger or fullness, and how we utilize carbohydrates and fat. All of these processes factor into whether you experience chronic health problems like allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, type 2 diabetes, or dementia.
Your microbiome also affects your mood, your libido, your perceptions of the world and especially your clarity of thought. A dysfunctional microbiome can be at the root of headaches, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and even a negative outlook on life. Neurologists are now finding that no other system in the body is more sensitive to changes in gut bacteria than the central nervous system. The good news? They are now seeing dramatic turnarounds in brain-related conditions with simple dietary modifications or with techniques to reestablish a healthy microbiome.
Scientists are learning that this intimate relationship between the gut and the brain goes both ways, which means that just as your brain can send pain to your gut, your gut can relay its own state of calm or alarm to the brain.
The vagus nerve, the longest of 12 cranial nerves, is the primary channel between millions of nerve cells in our intestinal nervous system and our central nervous system. The vagus extends from the brain stem to the abdomen, directing many bodily processes that don’t require thought, like heart rate and digestion. Bacteria in your gut directly affect the function of the cells along the vagus nerve, in other words, our gut’s nerve cells and microbes release neurotransmitters that speak to the brain in its own language.
We have so many neurons in our gut that many scientists are now calling this our “second brain.” This brain not only regulates muscle function, immune cells, but also manufactures an estimated 80 to 90 percent of the serotonin, our “feel-good” neurotransmitter. This means your gut’s brain makes more serotonin than the brain in your head.
This is why many neurologists and psychiatrists are now realizing antidepressants can be less effective in treating depression than proper dietary changes.
To this I can only say Live and Learn! It’s funny how we don’t learn about these interesting bodily connections until we notice them in ourselves! Take care of your gut and it will take care of you.
I feel inspired to speak my own truth after observing so many come forward in the past few months in the #MeToo movement. Hearing so many women’s stories, I feel fortunate to have only experienced a mild case of sexual harassment in my 62 years on this planet. It was a simple case of attempted date rape at age 27. I told him to disappear and never come back. He listened.
But I still find the way I was treated by Regis University Libraries when my boss fired me back in 2004, to be unfair and unwarranted. Believe me, when one female librarian stands up and protests to an all male administration at a Catholic University, from the head of Reference, to the head of the Library and the head of HR, nobody listens.
“Speaking our truth is the most powerful tool we have.” – Oprah Winfrey
I was unfairly charged with being rude to one student at the Reference desk, her word against mine. That’s all it took. I had been in my position for almost 6 years with no training, no evaluations and no previous complaints against me. It looked to me like my new boss didn’t like my uppity attitude. This from a man who had lost previous positions for being a terrible head of reference. And sure enough, he lost his position at Regis too, but in the meantime, he had the power to fire me so he did, quickly hiring a friend of his to replace me.
As it turned out, my life improved dramatically after I lost that job, so on some level I need to say, “Thank you!” I got out of a dead end job with a bunch of dead beats, got out of librarianship entirely, moved on to professional writing, a marvelous new marriage and a comfortable and happy retirement.
Whenever I meet people like that boss, who treat others badly and seem truly miserable inside I think: Being them is punishment enough!