Cannabis & Seniors: Overcoming Cannabis Stigma
By Margo Amala
As cannabis makes its way into the mainstream, it calls to people for a vast array of purposes. Your knowledge about and access to cannabis may largely depend on your location and access to information. For seniors this presents extra layers of challenges. On a cloudy Portland morning, I sat with Peggy Anderson, a cannabis advocate who specializes in working with seniors to better understand and access cannabis. Peggy’s advocacy platform Canna Help You? connects people to educational and medical cannabis resources. We discussed what is most appealing about cannabis to seniors. Conversely, we talked about the biggest challenges facing seniors in today’s emerging cannabis market.
Cannabis peaks the curiosity of people from all adult age groups. Some of the most common day-to-day health issues affecting all people include: sleep, pain, anxiety and digestive distress. These issues only continue to take their toll as we age. Peggy noted, in her experience, one of the most appealing things about cannabis for seniors is that is has the potential to help you get a good night’s sleep. Further, she added cannabis can have a relaxing, relieving and appetite stimulating effect which has the potential to help ease some of the other big day to day challenges for seniors. Given our natural human drive to feel good, anything that has the prospect of easing our day to day health challenges gets quite a bit of attention.
Science Daily confirmed via a study done in Colorado: cannabis use among older adults is growing faster than any other age group. That said, there are some unique challenges that show up for older adults using cannabis. This flowering herb has a long history of misinformation and propaganda that has created a great deal of stigma for cannabis users. Even as cannabis legalization is spreading across the country, that stigma remains. In Peggy’s experience, dealing with the stigma of using cannabis presents one of the most significant obstacles to cannabis access for the aging population. She says many of the seniors she has helped don’t want to talk to their doctors about cannabis and they don’t want their friends and neighbors to find out they are using it. The Colorado study confirms: most doctors are not educated or knowledgeable about medicinal cannabis use. This is a huge deterrent and makes people even more uncomfortable talking to their doctors about cannabis. Peggy has a solution for people who live in Oregon: she talked about her positive experiences working with the Knox doctors from the American Cannabinoid Clinics. Dr. Rachel Knox and her family are some of the first medical doctors specializing in understanding and treating the endocannabinoid system. Peggy connects people with the American Cannabinoid Clinics to ease the stress and fear of talking to doctors who are not educated about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.
Another major challenge for the aging population is accessibility. In some places where cannabis laws are only emerging, there are few dispensaries and access is inherently limited. However, even Portland, Oregon where dispensaries are proliferate, only some create a welcoming atmosphere for people of all ages and walks of life. Further, if you are seeking cannabis knowledge there are even fewer dispensaries that prioritize cannabis education and endocannabinoid system knowledge. For some people who struggle with the stigma of being a cannabis user, visiting a dispensary fires up all those feelings. Urban Farmacy actively works to dispel the stigma around going to a dispensary. Urban Farmacy is among the select few dispensaries with a comfortable, clean and friendly atmosphere where you can come to ask questions and get answers based on the latest scientific research. Your dispensary experience at Urban Farmacy honors privacy. We create the space for each person or group of people to meet one-on-one with a professional budtender. Urban Farmacy is here to bridge the gap of missing information.
If you are a person who struggles with the stigma of shopping for and using cannabis, know there are places and people working to ease the stress of breaking through that stigma. Changing our beliefs is challenging, and powerful. Seeking out accurate information, finding knowledgeable people and places to help you along your journey are amazing resources. Wishing you well on your journey with cannabis!
Cannabis use among older adults rising rapidly
Peggy Anderson, Canna Help You?