If you’re one of our treasured Amintronian friends, you likely have a dusting of gray hair, a sprinkle of smile lines and it’s possible you may have experimented with smoking pot “back in the day.” Don’t worry – we won’t tell anyone! Besides, in many states and provinces across North America, cannabis use is now legal and it is easily accessible in speciality shops making it a whole lot easier to obtain in your boomer years than your teenage years. Whatever the reason, if you’re still curious about cannabis and considering indulging, we have some information you need to know.  This article is all about cannabis in the second half of life – “Round Two!”

Quite some time ago we wrote about confiscating your kids cannabis stash, teaching them a lesson about “right from wrong” and then experiencing the resulting dilemma of whether you should smoke it or not! These days however, there is no “right and wrong” associated with cannabis consumption. Now legal in a number of US states and Canadian provinces (for reference it’s even traded on the stock exchange!) the use of marijuana is currently more about making an individual decision that’s based on a variety of factors including your medical history and personal preferences. In fact, it turns out many 50+ older adults are choosing to indulge, with cannabis use nearly doubling amongst those in “the second half” of life.  Want to know what all the fuss is about? Read on……

Why Cannabis and Why Now?

Medical Marijuana has been used for quite some time to control pain for some people. It can be an effective tool for preventing nausea during chemotherapy treatments, a pain management strategy for those with ongoing, debilitating pain and has recently showed promise in relieving the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. According to a post by the Harvard Medical School, “Medical cannabis is increasingly viewed as an effective option for managing insomnia and chronic pain.” They caution however, that “It’s key to have an informed discussion with your doctor to weigh the safety risks, especially if you have cardiac issues, are taking multiple medications, or have cognitive changes due to aging.” In other words, it could be that cannabis use might become a part of your overall care management plan but frankly, should only be included after an open and honest chat with your health care team.

What To Consider When Considering Cannabis?

     1. What other medications are you currently taking?

Blood thinners for example, could put you at a greater risk for side effects if you indulge in cannabis, whether or not for medicinal purposes. Review all medications you are currently on for their potential interactions with cannabis.

     2. Dosage.

Many folks thinking back to their youth and smoking a “joint” don’t give adequate consideration to the way both their body, and marijuana in general, have changed. As we age how we respond to any drug differs and the potency of pot has changed too. In fact, one of the leading causes of medical emergencies amongst those 50+ who choose cannabis is accidental overdose. This is particularly true when alternate methods of consumption are chosen without adequate care and caution.

Cannabis Comes in Candy Now – The Various Ways to Indulge

It might come as a surprise to some but (again, in those states and provinces where it’s legal) cannabis comes in all shapes and sizes these days. While that might sound enticing, you still need to be careful! If smoking or vaping marijuana isn’t for you, there are other ways to try it.

Edibles: These include gummies, chocolate bars, soft baked cookies and even beverages including sparkling waters and iced tea. Again, as a reminder while these might seem like a fun and safe way to indulge, the biggest risk with edibles comes from the difference in “onset time” between smoking vs. eating. If you’re not already “in the know,” onset time refers to the “time to feel the effects of edibles.” It can be as long as four hours after ingesting vs. an almost immediate impact after smoking, meaning some people accidentally over-indulge while waiting for the “high.” In other words – be careful out there!

If you are still curious about consumption after reading this blog, take the time to learn the facts. What are the regulations in your province or state? Do you have any special medical conditions to consider? It’s one thing to “relive our youth” and/or to enjoy the second half of life to its fullest but if age has taught us anything, it’s how do so responsibly!  And – you don’t have to worry about confiscating it from the kids either!

By Sheralyn Roman, Amintro contributor and Baby Boomer