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Medical marijuana can help seniors with chronic pain and diseases, study says

John and Anne Lustig during their active-lifestyle community's visit to Bud and Bloom,a Santa Ana, California, store that bills itself as a senior-friendly medical marijuana dispensary.
John and Anne Lustig during their active-lifestyle community's visit to Bud and Bloom,a Santa Ana, California, store that bills itself as a senior-friendly medical marijuana dispensary. (CNN)

NEW YORK – A new study suggests medical marijuana may be a safe and effective option for older adults with chronic pain and certain diseases. 

The research comes from Dent Neurologic Institute in New York.

Scientists tracked about 200 seniors taking medical marijuana to ease the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, or neuropathy. 

Nearly 70 percent felt some improvements, especially in their pain, sleep problems, and anxiety.

One-third reduced their use of opioids. 

There were some downsides. Initially, 34 percent of patients experienced side effects from medical marijuana, most commonly sleepiness, balance problems and stomach issues.

After adjustments in dose, only 21 percent continued to have side effects. Ultimately, 3 percent of participants stopped taking medical marijuana due to side effects.

A 1-to-1 ratio of THC to CBD proved most effective while limiting side effects.

Click here for more information on medical marijuana.