Cannabis use continues to increase in popularity among adults 65 years of age and older in the United States. With the legalization of cannabis in many states for either medical or recreational purposes, there is growing interest in using it to treat a variety of long-term health conditions and symptoms common among older adults.
More than ever, cannabis use is on the rise for seniors. Legalization has given seniors more access to information that has helped to soften their harsh views of weed and create curiosity where there was once only disdain.
Yet, even with more material about cannabis becoming mainstream some seniors may still struggle to bridge the gap between their interest and their apprehension when it comes to actually going to a dispensary to buy cannabis for themselves.
Sue Taylor remembers a time when propaganda promoting the fear of marijuana was at a fever pitch — she admits that she used to think cannabis was “just as bad” as heroin or cocaine.
“I never had any intention of getting involved in the cannabis industry. You know, ‘Reefer Madness’ really did a number on me and my generation.” Taylor says. “I was taught that it was a very bad drug that made people do bad things — especially Black people. And, at the time, I believed it.”
Legendary actresses Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda will reprise their roles as Frankie Bergstein and Grace Hanson, two older women who frequently partake in some sinsemilla on-screen.
Fonda and Tomlin have blazed a cannabis trail on screen before. In the breakthrough 1980 film “9 to 5,” the pair played office co-workers who hatch a comical plot to improve their workplace conditions at “an old-fashioned ladies pot party.” Tomlin played Violet, the brains of the operation, while Fonda was the innocent secretary learning how to smoke marijuana and maneuver in a man’s world.
They are former biologists, engineers, therapists. They grew up under the influence of Richard Nixon and “Reefer Madness.” Some of them experimented with pot in their 20s. Others came upon cannabis much later, in their 50s. Today they have two things in common: They all live in a gated senior community called Rossmoor. And they all consume cannabis.
Boomers are using cannabis more, with many turning to the herb as medicine to deal with the challenges of advancing years. They are also the generation that begins the demographic tilt in favor of legalization.
In the decades since the medical marijuana movement began in earnest in the 1970s, cannabis has been anecdotally touted as an effective treatment for a variety of illnesses, including those impacting brain function, such as seizures, anxiety and depression. However, peer-reviewed research into the plant’s benefits remained stunted thanks to federal cannabis prohibition. But in recent years, new research both in the U.S. and abroad is finding breakthroughs about how cannabis could as a possible treatment for a variety of illnesses.
TELL US, are you senior who uses cannabis?