March 16, 2017

The Changing Face of the Cannabis Industry and How it Caters to the Senior Population

March 16, 2017

Cannabis use has taken its place in the mainstream, and the population of seniors is getting with the times. The booming senior demographic has great health care needs. Treatment with cannabis has become a welcome option for many. Cannabis companies are taking notice of this trend and are trying to get seniors engaged in voting for cannabis policy reform as well as catering to this population with education, microdosing, design, and more. Industry leaders and entrepreneurs weigh-in on what they are doing to better serve this growing demographic, as well as consumption trends and the future of marijuana for an aging U.S. population:

Sally Vander Veer, President of Medicine Man Denver

We have seen a steady increase of approximately 50% in the last year of senior customers at both the medical and recreational counters.  As information surrounding the benefits of marijuana becomes more prevalent and more mainstream, we are welcoming several categories of customers over the age of 55.  Some were former marijuana users in their earlier years who gave it up for fear of legal repercussions. Many are trying cannabis to treat ailments and symptoms ranging from arthritis to severe illnesses like cancer or MS. We even see a large number of new users who are curious about marijuana now that it’s legal.

For the most part, the older demographic who come into our stores have reached a point in their lives where they are not concerned about the stigma of cannabis.  They don’t care what others think of what they do and make decisions on their recreational activities and/or medical choices without considering the judgement of others.

New users will tend to ask more questions of our budtending staff and are eager to understand what to expect from their products. These customers are most interested in flower or pre-rolls, edibles, and topical preparations. We don’t see many who use concentrates. Medicine Man offers a senior discount and no limit to the time they spend with our trained staff at the point of sale.  Our stores are clean and professional which is appreciated by not just their demographic!

David “Bean” Bienenstock, Head of Content at High Times

Seniors are increasingly discovering that cannabis provides incredible relief for many ailments associated with aging—without serious side effects or dangerous interactions with other drugs. Word spreads fast in retirement communities and other places seniors gather, and once they see one of their peers enjoying a vastly improved quality of life through the herb, they’re open to learning more and trying for themselves.

Jeffrey Zucker, CEO of Dipstick Vapes

Much of the older population of medical cannabis users is struggling to find their preferred consumption method. Smoking is often too harsh, while vaping and edibles often provide inconsistent experiences. However, much of the population is very open to trying new methods as they learn about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis for treating their ailments.

Concentrates can be very intimidating to the uninitiated. The standard method of a torch and dab rig often leaves people avoiding it all together. The Dipper vaporizer by Dipstick Vapes allow for easy hand-held, torchless concentrate consumption. New users are also attracted by the ability to control exactly how much concentrate they’re consuming. With Dipstick Vapes, we’re working to make concentrates more accessible to the average consumer by alleviating the pain points of consumption.

Christie Strong, Kiva Confections

Safety is absolutely key to helping seniors transcend the lingering stereotypes around this plant. Companies must lab test their products and provide accurate nutritional information and clear instructions. Products need to be consistently dosed so users can feel confident that the same dose will result in the expected experience each time. This is the only way that medical cannabis products will be taken seriously as a medicine by seniors.

Cannabis companies should keep seniors in mind when branding and marketing their products. There’s an abundance of products made with recreational users in mind- less so for seniors. Good design has the power to destroy the stigmas around this plant because tasteful branding makes cannabis accessible to a much wider demographic of users.

Microdosed products are perfect for introducing seniors to the benefits of cannabis edibles. Kiva Confections’ Petra mint only has 2.5 milligrams of THC, a fraction of the potency of many common edibles. The subtle dose shifts one’s understanding of cannabis from a psychoactive drug to a productivity tool. It allows anyone to safely manage stress and anxiety without any interference with their focus or energy levels. We hope that with a product like the Petra mint, seniors can be eased into cannabis and see the myriad benefits this medicine can have on their own lives. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years- it is not a niche product, and it’s time to remind people of that.



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