Grandma gets high: Why seniors are consuming cannabis
If you’re used to finding home-baked cookies in grandma’s pantry, don’t be surprised if these days, you find other goodies too. Seniors have established themselves as some of the most enthusiastic cannabis consumers in the US, although their presence in the world of weed sometimes flies under the radar.
Why has cannabis gained such a strong foothold among older adults? What are senior cannabis aficionados hoping to gain from weed, and how do they fit into contemporary cannabis culture?
While commonalities still unite cannabis consumers regardless of age, emerging research is providing fresh insight into cannabis use among those in their sixties, seventies, and older.
Why weed, why now?
For many senior consumers, the motivation to try cannabis is less about the giggles and more about medicine. Recent research published in the April 2020 issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry explores the reasons older individuals are turning to weed. The study, based on the findings of a survey completed by 568 patients at a geriatrics clinic in La Jolla, California, set out to learn more about the cannabis habits of seniors, targeted symptoms, and the perceived helpfulness of the plant.
According to Kevin Yang, first author of the study and medical student at the University of California, San Diego, the survey revealed both predictable and novel insights. “We found that 10% of older adults reported cannabis use within the past six months,” said Yang in an interview, with the vast majority turning to it for medical purposes.
“The most common reasons for cannabis use were for pain, problems sleeping, and anxiety, which is unsurprising given that these are very common symptoms experienced by older adults. We also found that 43% reported using cannabis for more than one condition,” said Yang. Among those who used cannabis to help ease anxiety, 70% found that it was extremely or somewhat helpful in soothing their worries.
Many older adults who pass through his dispensary doors are looking for something new and fun to add to their wellness regimen.
Senior patients visit the dispensary with the hope that cannabis can alleviate an ongoing issue that regular pharmaceuticals have had little efficacy in treating. “Arthritis, neuropathy, sleep, and surprisingly, irritability, are some of the most popular conditions that we encounter,” said Guadagnino. “Many are looking to experience mood-lifting or mood-enhancing effects, along with medicinal symptom relief. We often hear the request that they would like to be happy.”
Additionally, there’s growing awareness that weed may be of assistance between the sheets. Cannabis can be a useful ingredient in promoting sensuality in older adults, helping to alleviate pain and increase relaxation and sensation. Brands such as Foria Wellness appeal directly to senior consumers, encouraging them to reclaim and celebrate sexuality with CBD-infused lubricants and oils.