Baby Boomers, Canada’s fastest-growing group of cannabis consumers.
Since the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada since October 2018, more and more people over the age of 55+ are turning to cannabis. But why are seniors becoming Canada’s fastest-growing demographic of new cannabis users? As more research is being done into the benefits of cannabis use, more people are leaving behind their pharmaceuticals and switching to cannabis. Whereas the cannabis market has done a great job of showing cannabis in a good light, what can it really help? How can we help the generation who shaped our current world live out a more comfortable way of life for their final years? Let’s dive into new information that was released by Statistics Canada in October 2019.
New statistics from StatCan shows that cannabis use amongst seniors has increased since legalization. For example, in 2012 cannabis use amongst seniors was less than 40,000 users compared to data collected in the last few months. It the last few months this has risen to 400,000 seniors partaking in cannabis in the last 3 months of 2019. In recent surveys research has shown that seniors makeup ¼ of new cannabis users this year! This means more and more seniors are seeing and reaping the benefits of cannabis thanks to legalization.
Why are seniors using cannabis?
From a brief survey, I gathered amongst older adult cannabis consumers and seniors, many are turning to weed for two main things.
A sleeping aid
It’s common knowledge as we age, our body slowly deteriorates with it. Even with proper diet, exercise, and good health we will all age and experience some pain, discomfort, and/or health problems as we age. Pain and cancer are the two main things that affect seniors the most sadly, luckily with the aid of cannabis we can help ease the pain that affects them. As more research is done, science is showing us that prolonged use of NSAIDS can cause long term preventable health problems,
Cannabis is known for its strong analgesic properties, which means it relieves pain. Another draw to cannabis for the older generation is the back of negative side effects. Aside from dry mouth, potential short-term memory loss, and a case of inappropriate giggles, cannabis has far fewer negative side effects than your standard NSAIDs or opioid prescription.
Due to chronic pain, arthritis, and various other ailments and medical conditions many seniors suffer from lack of proper sleep. Sleep is something that is vital to be able to function, heal and live out your days in a pleasant mood. When we lose sleep, other areas of our lives suffer. Luckily we have cannabis to help restore some peaceful sleep to our lives. Traditionally high THC products and strains were sought after to give us that restful slumber, but new research is showing that CBD may provide relief in these sleeping situations. Though the research is contradicting, CBD has many benefits and can be an aid in helping you achieve a restful slumber without the “high” thc offers.
What strains are good for seniors to try?
When you go to a cannabis store, the budtenders will recommend an indica strain typically due to the common misconception that all indica strains are meant to relax and ease the pain. This is not necessarily true. When one is seeking out a strain for pain relief or sleep, it really helps to look at the terpenes in cannabis.
Terpenes are a large diverse group of molecules that are produced by nearly every plant in nature. So before you even consumed cannabis, you’ve experienced terpenes daily in fruit, vegetables, flowers and various other plants.
The terpene you’ll want to seek out is called Myrcene. Myrcene is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s couch locking abilities and it’s capabilities to help induce sleep and ease the pain. This is something many users seek out and knowing what terpene to search for can be extremely beneficial when looking to ease the pain.
Strains to seek out for pain relief that is high in myrcene are;
Girl Scout Cookies
Thin Mint cookies
Grandma doesn’t want to smoke weed, what can she do?
Many of the older generations are opposed to cannabis due to the fact it is traditionally consumed by inhaling the smoke from a joint or pipe.
Luckily we are living in the year 2020 and our cannabis options are so vast it’s truly mind-blowing and can be overwhelming, to begin with.
With legalization 2.0 coming into play with recreational stores starting to offer a wide array of edibles in the forms of chocolate, candies, peppermints, drinks, and more. Edibles are a great way for new cannabis users to experiment without lighting one up.
The recommended dosage for new cannabis users is 5mg to 10mg of THC to start with. You may think this is not much THC but edibles are a different high than smoking cannabis. They offer a more powerful body high. This is a great option for those users looking for pain relief
To learn more about edibles, check out this informative blog here
We also have the options of cannabis oils, capsules, and topicals. All these items are less overwhelming and more familiar to seniors.
Cannabis oils are easily dosed by a measured dropper and used by administering them under the tongue or added to food.
Capsules are very similar to your typical pill and are easy to swallow and come in pre-measured doses. Oils and capsules can come in CBD, THC only, or THC/CBD combination.
To ease into the cannabis world I always recommend a topical to start out with. Topicals have zero psychoactive properties and are applied topically to the skin to give pain relief, help skin irritations, treat eczema, help heal minor burns and cuts, and help soothe the pain and inflammation arthritis causes.
Thanks to legalization and more positive research being put forth into the benefits of weed, more and more seniors are realizing how beneficial it can be in their lives. Many seniors have reported being able to give up some or most of their prescribed medications for pain and have substituted it with cannabis. As we put forth more positive research into cannabis and its benefits and produce more products that cater to the older generation, we will be able to help live out the final years of their lives happily and pain-free.