Debunking CNN – Marijuana is a Serious Risk to Seniors, They Could Get Too Stoned to Open Their Medication Bottles
In a recent story published on CNN that is making the rounds on social media, the clickbait headline CNN used is the following, “Marijuana Use is Rising Sharply among Seniors over 65, Study Says, and There are Serious Risks” (Editor’s note: We capitalized and punctuated the title of the article correctly above, CNN literally published the title verbatim like this “Marijuana use is risking sharply among seniors over 65, says study, and there are serious risks” – no capitalization and no end punctuation, I have no idea what editor at CNN let a title run without capitalizing the non-preposition words and left it with no punctuation at the end, but that is another story…)
The headline is a great clickbait link for hitting you with a positive segment to start the story, seniors are using more weed, but then ends with a foreboding warning, there are serious risks. There is only one problem with the article not counting the horrendous job the editor did with the capitalization and punctuation, they can’t list any dangers or risks in the article.
If you review the article in the link at the top of this story, the doctors interviewed and quotes taken can’t find any real risk or dangers, unless you are on blood thinner, then there may or may not be risk with cannabis and the blood thinner warfarin, but we really don’t know.
The correct honest title of the article should be, “Senior Marijuana Use is Booming, but be Careful if You are on Warfarin”.
Let’s look at the Reefer Madness article.
First 25% of the article is about Carol Collin, a women from California who loves using cannabis for sleep issues and pain relief. She has had insomnia since she was a kid and takes a cannabis gummy at night to help with sleep. Now that she is older, she uses a topical with THC in it to help with pain in her joints. As she says, “”I’m doing this to sleep and provide pain relief and I find it works,” she said. “I wouldn’t have done it if it was illegal.”
So far so good.
The next 25% just deals with senior’s stats showing more and more seniors are trying cannabis for a variety of alignments and senior interest in using cannabis is pick up. “In 2006, only 0.4% of seniors over 65 reported using marijuana products in the past year, they said. The newly published study found that by 2015, the number had doubled to 2.4%. By 2018, it had doubled again, with 4.2% of seniors over 65 using weed.”
Again, so far so good, and 50% done.
Now comes the sub headline, “Worrisome Findings”
First, they say there is a 180% increase in diabetic seniors using cannabis. The section then just ends with a quote from a doctor, “”I’m not sure why older people with diabetes are increasingly using cannabis”.
That’s it. No negatives for diabetic seniors, no bad signs, just that diabetic seniors are using it at a much higher rate than the last survey and we don’t know why.
70% through the article.
Then the money shot, the big scary, spooky part.
One of the most disturbing findings, he said, was an increase in cannabis use among older adults who also use alcohol. In 2015, only 2.9% of seniors reported both alcohol and cannabis use (although the data cannot say if they use simultaneously). By 2018 it had jumped to 6.3%.
Boooooom! So, 3% of seniors in 2015 said they used cannabis and had a drink of alcohol. Now we are up to 6.3%.
Ahhhhhhh! The horror. Do you think that might be due to the fact that about 50,000,000 seniors now have legal access to cannabis that didn’t have access to it in 2015? Isn’t that stat more of the law of numbers than any great findings. If 3% of seniors did both in 2015, and now millions more seniors have access to cannabis now and also have a beer or wine, won’t that number go up just due to natural availability? I bet the number of seniors on Facebook and Instagram has gone up dramatically in that time period, too. Causation and correlation are very different in statistics.
85% of the article done.
CNN then throws in the towel and the doctor being interviewed says he is worried about how cannabis interacts with other medications (fair enough), that cannabis is so much stronger today than the 70s (technically true but not something you can’t figure out with one puff or one edible) , and how there are so few studies showing how cannabis helps seniors. (Yeah, the federal government has it as a schedule 1 drug so no one can study it legally, that is the whole point, Doc.)
Finally, we get to something concrete after 95% of the article. If you are on a blood thinner like Warfarin, there may be issues with cannabis and blood clotting. “”Marijuana may increase the serum concentrations of warfarin and increase the risk for bleeds,” Mahvan said, adding that the use of marijuana could also affect a senior’s ability to open and manage their medications.”
There you go! There are your serious risks to seniors. You may not be able to open your medication bottles if you are stoned. Too stoned to open the childproof orange medication bottles. So, unless you are warfarin you biggest risk is being too stoned to figure out how to open a childproof bottle.
Nice job, CNN.