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Think your parents would try cannabis? CBD may benefit seniors, but Boomers want more info

If you’re like most Millennials and Gen Xers, your parents probably warned you against the dangers of cannabis when you were growing up. But as Americans make a slow 180 in our collective perception of this plant, it might be time for Mom and Dad to give cannabis a try — CBD may have benefits for seniors.

“Baby Boomers are largely interested, but don’t feel informed enough to use CBD products.”

Who’s buying CBD now?

Recent research has shown that millennials and Gen Xers account for nearly three-quarters of CBD purchases.

“According to new market research from Chicago-based cannabis analytics firm Brightfield Group,” writes Chris Kudialis for Leafreport, “millennials, born between 1981 and 1994, and Gen Xers, born between 1965 and 1980 account for 71 percent of CBD users.”

The analysis also found that word of mouth is currently the number one way people are learning about CBD.

“Millennials also learn about the plant from social media, looking through stores or talking to a budtender,” writes Kudialis. “Gen Xers generally learn about CBD from more traditional sources like doctors, the news or print and TV ads.”

Some Boomers want to know more before they try

Of people not using CBD, 18 percent said they don’t know enough about it. Most of those respondents were born between 1946 and 1964, leading Kudialis to conclude, “Baby Boomers are largely interested, but don’t feel informed enough to use [CBD] products.”

Brightfield Group proposed a solution: education. Specifically, debunking misconceptions for people raised to believe cannabis is dangerous. (Reefer Madness, need we say more?)

“There’s so much to learn about CBD product types and their different uses,” a Brightfield spokeswoman told Leafreport. “Education is key in helping people realize how to be deliberate in selecting the right CBD products for their specific needs.”

Benefits of CBD for seniors

Although more research is needed on the benefits of CBD for seniors, specifically, existing research suggests that a growing number of Americans age 60 and older already use CBD and cannabis to:

Cannabis use is growing among older Americans

According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, older adults are already using cannabis to relieve common health conditions — and 61 percent of cannabis users started after they turned 60.

“Cannabis use among the elderly is growing as there is more public acceptance and reduced stigma,” reads an article from Harvard Health, not referring to CBD exclusively. “Medical cannabis is increasingly viewed as an effective option for managing insomnia and chronic pain.”

The article encourages older adults to have an informed discussion with their doctor to weigh safety risks, especially if they have heart issues, are taking multiple medications, or have cognitive changes due to aging.

“Most of the adverse effects associated with cannabis usage are dose-related,” the article continues, “so it is important to know the strength of the marijuana you are taking and to ‘start low and go slow’: start with the lowest effective dose and take your time working your way up to a dose that alleviates your symptoms with a minimum of side effects.”

Know an elder who might benefit?

If you think your parent or another elder in your life might benefit from CBD or cannabis use, encourage them to do some research and discuss options with their doctor. From pain relief to better sleep, CBD could allow them to enjoy life more fully. They might just need reassurance that cannabis is increasingly acceptable and, with a high-quality product and a "start low and go slow" approach, it's safe too.

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