As the New York Times reports, older Americans are flocking to medical marijuana. One of the reasons for this is that older Americans are looking for alternatives to dangerous opioids.

Dr. Joshua Briscoe, a psychiatrist at Duke also trained in palliative care, states in the article, “We’re always searching for a better medication that can treat pain and a host of other symptoms without burdensome side effects, and cannabis is promising.” Cannabis has been proven to reduce neuropathic pain, sometimes caused by diabetes, shingles or chemotherapy, without the toxic effects of opioids.

Catherine McCormick, a 53-year-old quoted in the story, finds cannabis to be a worthwhile expenditure. To lessen pain after knee replacement surgery, she was relying on high doses of ibuprofen, “too much wine” and several prescription drugs, including oxycodone, benzodiazepines and an antidepressant. She weaned herself from them all in a few months, she said, by smoking cannabis. That’s made her a believer.

“I have more energy. I can walk,” she said. “I’m not in pain. I feel so much better.”

Read the full New York Times story here.