The waiting room at NiaMedic Healthcare Research Services looked just like every other doctor’s office at the Saddleback Medical Center in California’s Laguna Hills: unflattering overhead lighting, landscape paintings and a smiling person in scrubs behind the reception desk. It was the ideal location to attract NiaMedic’s target demographic: seniors. Saddleback is nestled in the rolling hills of a region surrounded by at least 15 retirement communities, including the over 18,000-resident Laguna Woods Village. But the patients who come through NiaMedic’s doors generally start with the same question: Can marijuana help?
“The short answer is yes,” said Alon Blatt, NiaMedic’s director of business development. “The constant pain, the arthritis, the fatigue, the trouble sleeping, the anxiety—we see cannabis help with all of these.”
As legalization of cannabis has spread across the country, the stigma and suspicions around using marijuana for therapeutic purposes have begun to fade—even among older people. Eleven states