Cona Elder Law

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Aging & Cannabis: Why People Over Age 60 Account for the Largest Demographic Spike in Cannabis Use


The Compassionate Care Act of 2014 legalized the use of medicinal marijuana in New York State.  Since that time, a growing number of older adults are turning to medical marijuana to help treat a number of serious and debilitating medical conditions and to improve their overall quality of life.  In fact, since the law passed, an unlikely demographic has emerged as one of the leading groups of patients seeking medical marijuana patient certifications in substantial numbers – the aging and elderly members of our communities, including those residing in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and other residential medical communities. While some may have imagined that the aging population would resist the use of this once-stigmatized substance, the aging population has instead embraced the opportunity to utilize medical marijuana to alleviate pain and suffering, reduce reliance on opioids and improve their overall quality of life.

According to the most recent report issued by the New York State Department of Health, approximately one-third of patients treating their conditions with medical marijuana are over the age of 60. The patients with the largest overall number of medical marijuana use fall within 51-60 years of age, suggesting that in the next ten years, the demographic of aging and elderly New Yorkers using medical marijuana will rise even more substantially.

There are a multitude of reasons for this popularity among the aging population. The list of qualifying medical conditions deemed appropriate by the state for medical marijuana treatment aligns closely with those often found in the skilled nursing facility population. For example, medical marijuana has reportedly been used in relatively large numbers by patients in the 61-70 and 71+ age groups to treat cancer, severe or chronic pain, cachexia/wasting syndrome, and severe nausea, which responds well to marijuana’s appetite-stimulating effects. Perhaps the most significant reason that medical marijuana has found such a strong patient base in this group of older patients lies in the desire for aging New Yorkers to optimize their quality of life when facing a long-term illness, and to live out their days with dignity.

Curious to learn more?  Join us at our Conference on December 4th:

Aging & Cannabis: The Business, Politics, Law & Science of Cannabis

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

People over age 65 account for the largest demographic spike in cannabis use in the US.

• Learn the science behind cannabis use for the aging, including therapeutic benefits, conditions treated and how cannabis is significantly reducing seniors’ reliance on opioids.

• Hear how health care facilities are legally implementing cannabis programs for their patients and long-term residents.

• Learn the ins and outs of New York’s medical cannabis laws, including which patients are eligible for certification and how caregivers can legally assist patients using medical cannabis.

• Learn about the lobbying efforts, barriers and current political status of the legalization of recreational cannabis in New York.

• Hear about the business of cannabis, including capitalization and structuring, cash management, banking and the role of venture capital in new businesses.

Qualifying Medical Conditions:



Parkinson’s Disease




Opioid Dependence

Cachexia/Wasting Syndrome


Click here to register:

About the Author Cona Elder Law

Cona Elder Law is a full service law firm based in Melville, LI. Our firm concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care facility representation. We are proud to have been recognized for our innovative strategies, creative techniques and unparalleled negotiating skills unendingly driven toward our paramount objective - satisfying the needs of our clients.

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