Adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s are trying cannabis for the first time, hoping the plant will ease chronic pain, insomnia, depression and anxiety after pharmaceutical drugs have failed.
Around this time of year, Hope Bobowski can’t wait to garden in the flower beds outside her home near Keremeos, in the hills of southern Interior British Columbia.
The petite 79-year-old loves card games and cooking for her great-grandchildren, but the only thing that keeps her on her feet is her daily dose of cannabidiol (CBD), a potent extract of cannabis or hemp.
She took her first spoonful last June, when the pain from osteoarthritis in her back had become so bad that her husband Stan had to dress her, do the cooking and help her in and out of bed. “I was going downhill fast.”
On TV, they saw a show about CBD oil. Her first thought was, “No way, I’m not having anything to do with cannabis.” The way she was brought up, “you didn’t go around drugs.”
Then she thought about the four to six pills of Tylenol 3, laced with codeine, a narcotic analgesic, she took every day. She thought about her doctor’s suggestion that she try opioid painkillers. “You can get hooked on that.”
So, she tried about 10 drops of CBD oil her husband had obtained from an unlicensed producer. Unlike THC – the psychoactive component in cannabis – pure CBD has medicinal properties without any “high.”
The next day, she said, “there was no pain.”