Should Your Elderly Parent Try Medical Marijuana?
by Carolyn Rosenblatt; Forbes, 8/27/13

It began with persistent insomnia. Alice, my 91 year old mother in law is generally willing to try different things, particularly if she has hope that it will help with a problem. She was tired of sleeping pills and the side effect of grogginess.

Her family members talked her into testing out medical marijuana for her long standing insomnia. In California, it’s legal to utilize marijuana if you have approval and a recommendation from a physician. An in-person exam is required. She was required to ask two doctors, but one finally accepted her. She learned where the nearest marijuana dispensary was, got a dosage of the edible kind and she tried it out. She isn’t a patient individual, and when it didn’t do the job the initial time, she didn’t pursue it very much. She had no qualms about making use of it, but she didn’t think it was helpful.

Alice recently came to visit us on vacation. She’s doing wonderfully for 91, and was able to get on a plane and make the journey by herself. We all had a great time. She requires assistance with distance walking but otherwise she exercised in the swimming pool, went out to dinner, sat by the gorgeous lake, played games and went to the casino. However, just before the week ended, she fell in the toilet and landed on her tailbone. Ouch! She was in agony. She doesn’t like narcotic pain medication, as it doesn’t agree with her. The usual anti-inflammatories didn’t help enough. Her son suggested she try edible marijuana for the pain. She got some, the kind that is in a sort of chocolate bar. She took a small bit and it helped some. Boosting the measurement of the piece worked extremely well. We all went to the movies that night and she sat through the movie without having to get up even once.

She additionally slept well that night and was in a position to survive the plane journey home. We did have concerns about her transporting the weed-laced candy through the airport terminal. We were hoping not to get a call from anyone informing us Alice was stopped prior to boarding because somebody thought she looked suspect and smelled like marijuana. Can you picture the scene? She gets a wheelchair escort to the aircraft so maybe that put off any suspicions. The edible kind of marijuana has no scent to speak of and you don’t smell like a doper if you eat it. Besides, she doesn’t look like an elderly pothead at all. She called us soon after she landed and a companion picked her up at the flight terminal. Whew! Glad the Feds and their sniffer dogs weren’t hanging out at airport security.

Her home is close to a respectable medical marijuana dispensary and her assistant will take her there to obtain enough of this medicine to last for as long as the pain in her backside endures. What we observe up to now is that it helps her disposition, as well as the tailbone pain. She got better relief from a very small piece of medical marijuana in a chocolate form than she did from standard narcotic pain medicine. She had no side effects from the edible pot. I thought it was great.

I am certain there are some of you reading this who will differ. I am not advocating using medical weed if you are in opposition to the notion or fearful of it. But I do find that pain relief is a very good argument for it, mainly when I see how valuable it is to Alice. And it does not have the challenging side effects of medications she would be prescribed by her medical doctors. She is only a few days past her injury and she is doing much better already. She nonetheless has some soreness, but now she has a sensible, efficient way to control it. She doesn’t get high, She doesn’t behave weird. She’s not needing the stuff. She is able to do what she generally does in the home. Her helper is doing the lifting and food shopping while she recovers. So far, so good.

Undaunted by the fall episode, Alice intends to maintain her plans to go stay at the beach with one of her girlfriends next month. Her companion is younger, drives at night and is more able-bodied than Alice. It will likely work out okay. She enjoys the beach. We’ve urged her to lay in a supply of those marijuana chocolate bars as needed. As long as the condominium where she’s staying has no drug sniffing canines, we expect she’ll do just fine.




“Under the care of Leo J. Borrell, M.D. since December 2001, I have seen a remarkable improvement in my mother’s condition. She is responding dramatically to the new regiment Dr. Borrell has prescribed”

- Beth Rose


Feb 3, 2008

The Interdisciplinary Team; The Role of the Psychiatrist

by Dr. Leo J. Borrell, featured in Assisted Living Consult for November/December 2006. A HealthCom Media Publication