Cannabis Increasing in Canada’s Senior Population

The generations before us solidified their mark in cannabis culture in the 1960s and 1970s with marijuana being a staple in the lives of teenagers. They more than likely laid off cannabis during the 80s, 90s and earlier this millennium, but cannabis use amongst seniors has come full circle.

Seniors are becoming a booming opportunity for the legal cannabis market and Canadian cannabis entrepreneurs are beginning to catch on.

What Are Seniors Using Cannabis For?

While the data isn’t available as to how many seniors in Canada are currently using marijuana for medical reasons, 2013 Health Canada data shows that two-thirds of those registered to use medical marijuana were using it for arthritis. Arthritis is a bone condition more common amongst older adults.

In addition to this, seniors are using cannabis as a replacement for prescription drugs, that are feeding into the opioid crisis in Canada, from which seniors are not immune. One doctor in Essex County, where the city of Windsor is vocal about how marijuana will be prescribed in lieu of opioids to help combat the growing epidemic that is causing too many deaths per year.

Conditions that befall elderly people including osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, neuropathy, and other pain-related illnesses have traditionally been treated with painkillers and opioids are being replaced with medical marijuana prescriptions. Even sleep disorders, stress, depression, and lack of appetite can be aided by cannabis use.

Cannabis Outreach for Seniors

Cannabis entrepreneurs are heading to the call to serve seniors with cannabis-related options and help improve quality of life. Natural Care Group recently launched in Canada to provide medical cannabis solutions for the aging market. Natural Care Group positions itself as a leading provider medical cannabis education, products, prescriptions and support for seniors, with expertise in long term care and retirement. Natural Care is just one company offering much needed cannabis services to those in need as they age.

Pharmacy in Victoria BC is catering to seniors from what’s available on the menu, to their targeted education programs, to their customer experience. The dispensary boasts that about 50% of their customers are over the age of 55. They’ve created a space to cater to that, with vintage photos and an apothecary style, the over 55 crew will feel right at home amidst the classic rock music as they choose their strains. Granddaddy Purple, anyone?

More companies are now targeting senior communities and homes to help educate people about the benefits of cannabis, particularly for seniors.

Can Pot Be Covered?

Some insurance plans are also now covering medical marijuana for eligible patients. Veterans Affairs Canada is now reimbursing veterans who use medical cannabis, which has been highly regarded for its use in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is an increase in employer-sponsored insurance plans covering cannabis, but advocates warn that this is highly a case-by-case basis. As of now, seniors and other citizens shouldn’t expect blanket coverage of cannabis.

In Addition to Health…

While cannabidiols (CBDs) is usually what is highlighted when seniors are told about medical marijuana, seniors who are interested in bringing THC-strains into their lives may experience some social benefits.

Cannabis that is rich in THC is often tied to a heightened imagination, enhanced empathetic understanding and increased creativity, which by all accounts can be seen as a mind-enhancer for those experiencing a longing to use their right brains in creative outlets. Could we soon see marijuana linked to recreation programs in seniors homes?

Jump on Board, With Caution

If you’re a senior trying marijuana for the first time, here are three important tips to abide by:

  • Don’t just think weed is the same now as it was. In fact, marijuana is about 70% more potent now than it was in the 1970s. One joint in may send someone to the moon in 2017, whereas in 1970, it may have just created a bit of a buzz. That being said, there are many products available that provide targeted doses with low THC to help ailments that affect seniors. As regulation loosens, we will see more topicals, sublinguals, gel caps, patches and more available products for the medical and therapeutic market.
  • Do your research. The best thing a senior can do is their own research. Reach out to groups like Natural Care Group that are looking to seniors as their target market. Those who have taken on these approaches are guaranteed to have done the work necessary to engage older crowds.
  • Experimenting with marijuana can be both fun and educational. Not all strains are created equal, and many products are better than others for certain ailments. Experiment with different strains, methods of ingestion, and dosing to find your marijuana sweet spot. Speak to your doctor tnd what is right for you.

We’ll be eager to see Health Canada’s updated statistics on medical marijuana once they become available to see just how much more seniors are turning to pot. One thing’s for certain, with the Baby Boomers becoming the biggest living generation as demographics inevitably shift, cannabis entrepreneurs have a target audience whose spending power isn’t seeming to burn out anytime soon.