Sunday, October 10, 2010
Marijuana, Once Divisive, Brings Some Families Closer - NYTimes.com
To the rites of middle-age passage, some families are adding another: buying marijuana for aging parents.
Bryan, 46, a writer who lives in Illinois, began supplying his parents about five years ago, after he told them about his own marijuana use. When he was growing up, he said, his parents were very strict about illegal drugs.
“We would have grounded him,” said his mother, who is 72.
But with age and the growing acceptance of medical marijuana, his parents were curious. His father had a heart ailment, his mother had dizzy spells and nausea, and both were worried about Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. They looked at some research and decided marijuana was worth a try.
Bryan, who like others interviewed for this article declined to use his full name for legal reasons, began making them brownies and ginger snaps laced with the drug. Illinois does not allow medical use of marijuana, though 14 states and the District of Columbia do. At their age, his mother said, they were not concerned about it leading to harder drugs, which had been one of their worries with Bryan.
“We have concerns about the law, but I would not go back to not taking the cookie and going through what I went through,” she said, adding that her dizzy spells and nausea had receded. “Of course, if they catch me, I’ll have to quit taking it.”
This family’s story is still a rare one. Less than 1 percent of people 65 and over said they had smoked marijuana in the last year, according to a 2009 survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. But as the generation that embraced marijuana as teenagers passes into middle age, doctors expect to see more marijuana use by their elderly patients.