Here's why seniors are turning to marijuana

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While cannabis is inextricably intertwined with youth culture, and parents wring their hands over fears of children getting hooked on the devil’s weed, the fastest-growing group of cannabis consumers is adults over 50.

Boomers are going back to their hippie roots as they drift into seniority on a cloud of smoke. Retirement, fewer responsibilities, more free time, no drug testing, and the onset of medical issues mean that seniors are a perfect target demographic for the drug.

The de-stigmatization of cannabis has been a long time coming, and federal legalization in Canada (as well as nearly a dozen U.S. states) means that people are more open about discussing the drug.

Modern dispensaries mean seniors no longer have to ask their kids or “know a guy” to score a little weed, rendering the drug’s purchase far less intimidating and more accessible.

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The stores are also stocked with a wide array of products such as topicals, oils and gel caps, meaning older consumers have more control over their high—or if they even experience a high at all. Smokeless options such as vapourizers mean that non-smokers don’t have to take up the habit to reap the benefits of cannabis.

As cannabis can be used to treat nausea, pain, inflammation, and a plethora of other symptoms, many seniors find it to be a helpful supplement, or even replacement, for other prescription drugs with more serious side effects, such as opioid painkillers or benzodiazepine sedatives (both of which are habit-forming and come with a significant risk of overdose).

Research about cannabis and seniors is also on the upswing, with universities in Israel at the forefront of treating geriatric illnesses with cannabis, some of which shows promise for treating conditions such as dementia and side effects of dialysis.

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