Call me a stoner, I don't care: the story of an over 60 pothead

You can call me a stoner if you like, but I don’t care. I have been smoking marijuana, pot, ganja, weed – whatever you want to call it – for about 15 years now. I’m 64 and started smoking because of chronic back pain.

I have told very few people about my penchant for the illegal substance, as when I have, I have lost friends. I’m not sure why though, because it is a personal choice that shouldn’t involve someone else’s input.

So how did I start smoking pot? Well, I was 49 and in absolutely crippling pain after a car accident 20 years earlier than left me in a wheelchair for 8 hours a day. Nothing else would help; I’d tried acupuncture, chiropractors, osteopaths, physios, Bowen therapy, remedial massage – you name it, I’ve tried it. I was feeling quite low as I was approaching what was supposed to be the most free part of my life. I had my retirement planned but I knew I couldn’t bear to go on the cruise I’d dreamt of while I had such terrible pain. I’d tried surgery as well and it was slightly effective, but it was only when my son offered me a joint of marijuana at his birthday party that I finally felt better.

I can’t explain it, but after a couple of joints, I could walk around freely. I felt happy and relaxed, but also well. I didn’t want to go back to my painful life and so I asked my son to get me more of it. He wasn’t really keen on the idea, so I sourced my own through a number of people. I knew it was illegal and I knew it was deemed as wrong by society, but I’ve watched my own father die from alcohol abuse, so I’d much rather hedge my bets on a drug that has never killed anyone, than on something that wreaks havoc on my body. I know a few other people who also use marijuana for their various ills and they have also found it to be incredibly helpful. They’ve gone from feeling like they’ve been hit by a bus, to feeling ready to take on anything. I smoke about 4 or 5 joints a day…what someone would consider to be indicative of a “pothead”. But I guess the difference is I don’t do it to get high.

Ad. Article continues below.

In fact, I don’t even enjoy being high. I smoke just enough to make myself feel mobile, and so I can go about my day. I have also experimented with marijuana oils which have also been fantastic, though they are expensive and hard to come by. It’s such a shame that parts of America and other countries have decriminalised marijuana yet Australia essentially classifies it as worse than alcohol and cigarettes, despite both of those things killing so many people.

But really, I don’t need to explain my love for marijuana to anyone. My doctor can’t even deny my progress and he is a medical practitioner. I don’t want to seem like I’m encouraging people to try marijuana for their pain, but just know that it is a medicine and it really does work – I am evidence of that.


Have you ever smoked marijuana for medical reasons? What effects did it have? Do you think this writer should stop smoking or is it each to their own?