As much as the Millennial Generation is embracing marijuana reform, the largest market who could benefit the most from the reform is still hesitant. I am talking about the older generation, our seniors.
Although they find it harder to embrace the drug it may be due to the fact they remain unaware of the multiple benefits of marijuana for seniors and many age-related conditions.
The Medical Efficacy of Marijuana for Seniors
The considerable health effects of marijuana – both as a medicine and as a preventative therapy are the biggest reason that seniors should consider adding a cannabinoid regime to their overall health care regime.
Many seniors who take multiple medications to battle conditions complain of side effects from one or all of them.
The good news is there are no real side effects with cannabis. Switching to a cannabinoid regime will actually drastically increase the quality of life for those who are forced to take meds for frequently co-morbid conditions.
What’s more, to ease concerns, there are many strains of marijuana that do not cause the psychoactive “high” caused by THC. These strains work just as well, so seniors can try the drug for symptomatic relief without the ‘high’. This option is far less toxic than other pharmaceuticals.
A Multi-Faceted Drug
Marijuana is a multi-faceted drug. It can be consumed in a variety of ways – including
- Vaping the dry herbs for clean inhalation
- Eating Edibles such as cookies and lozenges, etc.
- Drinking drinks such as tea and coffee or tonics
- It can be applied topically and internally via suppositories
Plants today are also bred specifically to treat certain conditions – and different effects. A strain low in THC and high in CBD or CBG, for example, can frequently be just as if not more effective for certain conditions as marijuana containing high levels of the psychoactive cannabinoids.
Production quality is very important – which is why obtaining the drug legally and from certified, licensed outlets, is critical for those who want to use the drug for medicinal purposes.
Education is Key
Most of the resistance seniors have towards marijuana is based on generational stereotypes, although this is not always the case (Boomers, who were at one point highly receptive to marijuana in their youth, are now the majority of senior citizens). For this very reason, educational campaigns targeted at this demographic should stress that today’s marijuana is not just skunk that creates the giggles and munchies.
The market and understanding the drug has advanced light years in just this century. Outreach campaigns should stress the medicinal impact of the drug and make scientific information easily accessible and understandable for people who may have harbored misconceptions based on decades of drug war propaganda.
Specially Targeted Outlets
Family members, who are trying to educate their elder parents or grandparents about the drug should also consider that buying marijuana from dispensaries – even if legal – can be intimidating and foreign.
Many seniors feel that their needs are not met (which includes deep knowledge by dispensary staff) about the strains on sale. Others just cannot afford the high prices charged by dispensaries particularly since medical use is not covered under any health care insurance.
There are more and more speciality collectives in legal states which also cater specifically to the elderly and/or those on limited budgets. If trying to convince grandma or grandpa to switch to cannabis as a medicinal relief, try to find groups of people their own age who use the drug. In some states and areas, there are even starting to be collectives catering specifically to this demographic.
The New Age of Aquarius
In truth, it is actually not that hard to convince “seniors” that the drug works, particularly if introduced in a gentle way. The reality is, according to a report from the CDC, that,
Marijuana use has grown over 300% since 2002.
Boomers in particular, can find out a great deal about the drug online – and many seniors, despite the stereotype that they are not IT literate, have smartphones and use social media and the internet.
There is a great deal of information, including specifically targeted at this demographic, as well as more scientific health data about the medical impact and efficacy of marijuana.
The elderly who are older than the Boomer generation might need more convincing – and may not be so computer literate. In such cases, plan to watch an online video together. There are also several charming fictional films (such as Saving Grace) which show an intergenerational approval of the drug (i.e. it is not “just” for recreational stoners).
Consume cannabis together
One of the easiest ways to introduce marijuana for seniors who may not have thought about using it or express reservations about the same is to create a “family” event to educate them about how it feels and what happens.
While this is not a “kid friendly” event, a middle-aged parent caregiver might consider making some marijuana brownies or tea if the idea of smoking a joint together seems a bit too outrageous.