Introducing the ‘Cannaboomers’- The Growing Number of Seniors Using Cannabinoids

As the stereotype of cannabis users shifts away from young adults and teens towards a more diverse representation, it's important to look at how this market is affecting seniors in particular. The ‘Cannaboomers’ — those aged 50 and over who are actively incorporating cannabis into their daily lives—are on the rise, creating both opportunities for community-driven business models as well as giving seniors access to potential medical treatments that can improve quality of life . With cannabis becoming increasingly accepted (medically or otherwise) around the world, now is an opportune time to explore how older populations are engaging with these products, especially topical products.  Read on to learn more about this growing segment of cannabis consumers and how using topical CBD/THC may help improve quality of life.

Seniors are Exploring the Use of Cannabis More than Ever
Seniors are the fastest growing group of cannabis users.  Approximately 20% of folks over the age of 50 are reaching out for cannabis to address multiple ailments and conditions.  This group of people may have experimented in the 60s and 70s but gave up for various reasons.  They likely raised their kids during the era of "just say no" and that weed is the "devils lettuce".  But people are sick of conventional approaches to medical issues such as pain, inflammation, insomnia, anxiety and more.  Many seniors want to use the plant but are fearful of the psychoactive effects of THC.  This is where using phytocannabinoids topically may be just the answer they are searching for.

What Topical Cannabinoids are and Their Benefits for Seniors

First, we need to explain what cannabinoids are.   Phytocannabinoids are compounds (CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, THCV are some examples) found in the cannabis plant that interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is like a secret club in your body consisting of neurotransmitters AEA and 2AG and tons of receptors found in and on the body that only responds to the coolest members - phytocannabinoids.  You could say it's pretty exclusive. 

More and more seniors are turning to topical application for targeted relief and also because they don't want to experience the psychoactive effects of inhaling cannabinoids, mainly THC.  Topical cannabinoids are creams or lotions infused with cannabinoids and applied directly to the skin. Once applied, the cannabinoid molecules bind to the receptors in the skin cells, helping reduce inflammation and pain in a localized area. 

Pain and Inflammation

One of the primary benefits of using topical cannabinoids is their anti-inflammatory properties. As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to chronic inflammation, which can lead to the development of more severe conditions such as arthritis and joint pain.  Applying topical cannabinoids can provide immense relief to seniors who suffer from arthritis, tendonitis, or other types of pain where inflammation is the primary source of discomfort. Endocannabinoid receptors are abundantly located on the skin so using a topical salve, balm, ointment or patch over the affected joint or muscle will help alleviate pain in that area.  It will take effect in about 30 minutes on a smaller frame person and and hour or so on a larger frame person.

Topical cannabinoids can also be helpful for seniors dealing with neuropathic pain, a sensation that can be challenging to treat with over-the-counter medication.  Pharmaceuticals that treat neuropathic pain can have a whole host of side effects especially in the elderly.  Medications commonly prescribed are gabapentin, lyrica and opiates.  Using creams, lotions, balms, salves or transdermal patches can help those tiny nerves that are affected and result in neuropathy symptoms. Using these products will reduce the risk of side effects of pharmaceuticals including dependency. 

Improving Skin Health

Another benefit of using topical cannabinoids is their ability to improve skin health. Cannabinoids interact with the CB2 receptors in the skin, which can help regulate oil production, treat acne, repair sun damage and help improve conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.  I like to apply my own homemade product to my face and have noticed a difference in the fine lines and wrinkles I am experiencing. 

Promoting Better Sleep

When pain is present, anxiety can occur and thus, sleep is affected. Topicals can promote better sleep by reducing stress and anxiety, relaxing the body and mind, and easing pain and discomfort.  Apply your salve or cream on the bottom of the feet just before bed and if you make your own, add some high quality lavender essential oil for an added boost.  

Pros and Cons of Using Topical Cannabinoids
Pros of using topicals:
  • Because this approach eliminates first pass metabolism, and it isn't being absorbed into the blood stream it alleviates feeling the psychoactive effects of THC
  • You can take it with you
  • If you use phytocannabinoids internally or via inhalation - it can be an adjunct
  • You can target the localized area you wish to address
Cons of using topicals:
  • Potency can vary from product to product
  • It can be expensive
  • It can be messy 
As a senior myself, with arthritic knees and feet and occasional shoulder and neck and back pain, I have found using topicals for a targeted approach is an immense help.  I highly recommend it and if you need guidance, I can help you with that.  Click the button for more information.  


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