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Medical Marijuana: Older Pennsylvanians Are Using It

Older Americans are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups effectively using medical marijuana to treat a wide variety of ailments. Seniors who are dealing with the natural cycles of aging often use cannabis under a doctor’s care to help them address pressing issues—like chronic pain, insomnia, depression, anxiety and low tolerance for traditional medications.


How do you know if medical marijuana can help you—and where do you go to learn more?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program website is a great place to get answers to these and other questions. You’ll find a list of approved serious medical conditions, and details about how to participate in the program. Once you register on the website, see an approved practitioner to get certified, and receive your medical marijuana ID card, you can come to the dispensary at Keystone Shops to make a purchase.

The Science Behind Medical Marijuana

Cannabinoids, terpenes, decarboxylation . . . These scientific words can make you reach for the readers and start Googling!

At the dispensary at Keystone Shops, we simplify the learning curve for you. Just make an appointment to come into our dispensary and we’ll talk with you about how medical marijuana is processed and how it is used to alleviate symptoms and provide relief.

Marijuana is a complex creature with lots of cannabis compounds, or cannabinoids, that interact with each other and with the consumer. It is available for consumption in several forms (flower, oils and concentrates for vaporizing or ingesting). Some cannabis compounds, or cannabinoids, medicate with intoxicating psychoactive effects while others medicate with positive, non-intoxicating psychoactive effects. CBD is the celebrity compound that falls into the latter category; THC provides a more intoxicating effect.

All dispensary CBD products have some THC in them, and the two compounds—CBD and THC—overlap to potentially relieve symptoms. Each cannabinoid works slightly differently and can be used to address distinct issues. Cannabinoids are also powerful when combined, having synergistic effects, collectively named the Entourage Effect. As a general rule, CBD tempers the intoxication of THC.

A common request we hear is “I want the best thing to relieve [fill in your ailment] but I don’t want to be high.” Based on patient feedback and our extensive experience, CBD and its intoxicating partner, THC, work best as a team, and patients need to pick their players accordingly. Discovering what works for each patient is a process!

What to Expect When You Begin to Use Medical Marijuana

1. You’ll likely try products with various ratios and dosages of THC and CBD. You may need more of one than the other depending on the type and source of your symptoms, and the time and place you will be medicating.

2. If you are able, consider using a combination of vaporization and ingestible products. The former offers quicker, shorter-term relief, while the latter has a longer onset and then kicks in for the long haul.

3. Have realistic expectations of exactly how much marijuana can dial down symptoms without further inhibiting functional abilities. If you are getting no relief from high CBD products and cannot tolerate intoxicating properties of THC to any degree, at any time, medical marijuana may not be a fit. This is why starting with small doses is best. At first, you may not get much relief, but eventually, more tolerance of some amount of THC can develop. Think of THC and CBD as members of your team: if THC and CBD are your new players, they need to be systematically and gradually trained to get strong and play their best.

4. Be aware that the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania is still growing and our products depend on the successful growth of a living plant. Therefore, products may at times become unavailable so it is best to become accustomed to multiple products. That way, you’ll have a back up plan at your service when necessary.

At its best, marijuana can help older people regain their ability to feel more “normal” and well. It may not be the entire answer for everyone, but it can be a fabulous and safe tool in your “Feeling Well While Aging” toolbox.

It may take a while to find out what makes you feel good but not ‘high.’ Older patients must be open-minded and understand that in the medical marijuana world, there are no absolutes or prescriptions. The staff at the dispensary at Keystone Shops is well informed, patient and ready to guide you. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.

Keystone Shops



Phone: (215) 876-0420



420 Lancaster Ave

Phone: (215) 876-0420

Hours: Monday – Saturday (10 a.m. – 8 p.m.); Sunday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

King of Prussia

367 S. Henderson Road

Phone: (215) 876-0420

Hours: Monday – Saturday (10 a.m. – 8 p.m.); Sunday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

South Philly

300 Packer Ave

Phone: (215) 876-0420

Hours: Monday – Saturday (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.); Sunday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)


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