Cannabis in Colorado History & Boomers’ Cannabis Use Patterns

MJ weedColorado 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.

Conditions recognized for medical use include: cachexiacancerchronic pain; chronic nervous system disordersepilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizuresglaucomaHIV or AIDSmultiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity; and nausea. Patients could not use cannabis in public places, or in any manner which might endanger others including operating a vehicle or machinery after medicating.

Since the enactment of Colorado Amendment 64 in 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,

Since 2012, Colorado sales of cannabis have been staggering! Since legalization, Cannabis sales have topped 13 billion, with 4.5 billion just in 2017. Tax data shows close to 22 million collected just in 2017.

Boomers and Cannabis Use

cannabis budIf you remember the 60s you weren’t there…

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.

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ALL KINDS of BOOMER LOVE for YOU!

clearer when in loveIsn’t Valentine’s Day crazy? Talk about a great gimmick to sell crap. I so dislike the way capitalism turns everything and everyone into a commodity to be manipulated, but this isn’t about that at all! This is about what a great idea it was to create a holiday totally based on LOVE. I think we should celebrate love every single day. After all, without love, where would we be?

So let’s start out with a post about LOVE from Carol Cassara: Love gives our lives meaning, whether we have a mate or not. That’s why I like to think of Valentine’s Day as covering love of all kinds, including maternal, filial, love we have for friends–the whole gamut.”

Sue from Australia says: At Valentine’s Day our thoughts turn to love and especially the love of a partner. But Sue Loncaric from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond wants to talk about a more important kind of love – Self-Love: The ability to appreciate who we are and love that person fiercely. Go see why we need to love and value yourself first, before expecting others to feel that way about you.

Happy V Day

After being divorced for several years, Jennifer, over at Unfold and Begin, knew it was time to wade back into the dating pool. She decided that online dating was the way to go. Here she shares her experience and guidance: Yes, It’s possible To Meet The Love Of Your Life Online.

For many, Valentine’s Day conjures up images of flowers, chocolate, hearts and often young love. But Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting instead chooses to peek into the lives of a married couple who have spent years of Valentine’s Days together the “Old Folks Way,” an oldie but goodie posted Valentine’s Day 2012.

Rebecca Olkowski of BabyBoomster.com says: Not everyone loves Valentine’s Day especially if you aren’t in a relationship. But, there is a solution. Rebecca suggests planning a Galentine’s Day with your girlfriends. Friends who are always there to support you.

old Charleston graveTom isn’t so sure he can fit his writings into our LOVE theme this week. He just knows he loves to visit Charleston in the winter. Tom Sightings, like many retirees, typically turns February into an extended snowbird trip to a warmer climate. This week in Sightings of Charleston he posts pictures of the historical city and asks for your feedback on a photo project he’s doing for his learning-in-retirement class.

And finally, Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, wants to teach you a bit about Valentine’s Day economics, or what she calls “the cost of love.” U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $143.56 on Valentine’s Day an increase from last year’s $136.57. Total spending is expected to reach $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion last year. The numbers are the second-highest in 15 years, topped only by the record $146.84 and $19.7 billion in 2016.

LOVE in LaLaLand

I just want to remind you all what real, mature, durable, sustainable boomer love is all about! I’m living it everyday and so I can assure you: All You Need is Love!

 

 

Insights into Boomer Health Care Costs

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 Cdiff 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.

fluAccording 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.

The only truly effective treatment for C. diff is a fecal microbial transplant. This treatment is over 90% effective, but guess what? This treatment is still considered experimental and is therefore not covered by insurance in our country.

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.

Can we even talk to each other anymore?

America as a free Speech Zone

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’

So I find this recent news story on CBS quite disturbing! Apparently some college students will not allow speakers of diverse views express those views on campus. After my own totally negative experience dealing with one spoiled student at Regis University, I feel the need to say, how spoiled are these children? And will their inability to tolerate a world that does not coddle them and their way of thinking destroy our democracy?

free speech and our feelingsI 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. 

Happy Gut, Happy Life!

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.

gut brainMost 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.

vagus nerveThe 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.

Jungle, a fascinating new adventure film!

One way to evaluate the power of anything new to you, is to see how long it takes for it to leave your consciousness. I saw the film “Jungle” a few days ago. Now I feel the need to tell you about it.

Jungle the movie 2017

This is a true story that happened back in 1981, first made into a book in 2005. A young Israeli adventurer named Yossi Ghinsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) travels to La Paz, Bolivia for a journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. He makes a few new friends who are also looking for adventure, and then meets a mysterious Austrian, Karl Ruchprecter, who claims he has great expertise in traveling this jungle and can take them all to see some lost Indian tribe. Yossi believes him, and convinces the others to join him on the trek of a lifetime.

Things go really well for a few days until one traveler injures his feet badly and cannot keep walking. Karl and the injured man decide to try and walk the three days back to La Paz. Yossi and his friend Kevin choose to continue their journey on a makeshift raft. After some great rafting footage, their raft is destroyed in a waterfall, and Yossi is washed away down the river, leaving Kevin far behind. Without a knife or any other kind of survival training, Yossi is forced to improvise shelter and forage to survive.

Daniel Radcliffe in Jungle

Yossi’s three weeks of wandering through the Amazon jungle are the meat of this film. This is the story of amazing survival, but so much more. I like the phrase “discovering the hero within you” to describe the powerful and primal battle Yossi fights inside and outside himself while living on almost nothing, with so many deadly insects, plants and animals. Yossi never gives up hope in spite of so many mistakes, missteps and fascinating hallucinations in this complex psychological thriller. The best part for me was the study of all the ways our mind will fight to protect us from reality, when reality is beyond comprehension. For a few days, Yossi develops a special relationship with a native girl he finds in the forest. Just as quickly as she appears, she vaporizes back into the mist. His dream sequences are also a total hoot!

Meanwhile Kevin is eventually discovered by people from a local town and he begins a campaign to go back into the forest to find Yossi. When flyovers fail, Kevin still believes his friend has somehow survived weeks in the jungle. Kevin bonds with a local boatman and they take off down the river in search of Yossi, finally finding him very nearly deceased, lying on a river bank.

There are so many great lines in this film. I think a few of my favorites came at the beginning when Karl, the Austrian great white hunter who thought he knew everything about jungle life, explains things to these young kids from the ‘civilized’ world. One of their greatest fears was of jaguar, so Karl explains to them: “jaguars love to eat monkey meat, and to them we are just big stupid monkeys.” We never do find out why Karl disappeared into the jungle, never to be heard from again.