A How-To Explainer For First-Time Senior Patients

Joe Evans
Joe Evans - Content Writer

Mar 10 2021 - 4 min read

Did you know that more and more seniors are turning to cannabis as an alternative and effective form of medicine?

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, there are more than 4 million medical cannabis patients across the 35 states, four U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. And while cannabis isn’t often associated with the elderly, studies show that a steadily growing number of those patients are seniors! In fact, of Oregon’s around 24,000 medical cannabis patients, the majority of them are between the age of 60-64!

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While it might surprise some that seniors are turning to medical cannabis, it’s not a shock at all if you look at the science. Medical cannabis has been shown to help manage symptoms or reduce the effects of illness often associated with aging including:

It’s also worth noting that Baby Boomers, the next generation aging into the senior category, is already very familiar with cannabis use. It only makes sense that as they age and develop chronic health conditions often associated with aging, they would want to turn to a more natural form of medicine rather than addictive, synthetic opioids.

Plus, it’s never been easier to quickly get a medical cannabis card of your own thanks to telehealth services, like those provided by our licensed cannabis doctors here at Leafwell. But we know seniors may have a lot of questions about actually using their medicine. That’s where we come in! This article is going to break down the how-to essentials for using cannabis as a senior for the first time, giving advice for what to do and what to avoid, and what’s important to keep in mind before using your medicine for the first time.

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Tips for First-Time Senior Cannabis Patients

When it comes to first-time cannabis use for seniors, it’s easy for things to feel overwhelming or too complicated. Thankfully, cannabis has changed tremendously amid the twenty or so years of legality here in the U.S.

These days, you can get your medical cannabis in the form of some standard dried flower, a disposable vape pen or oil cartridge, oral or anal suppositories, CBD or THC-infused oils and tintures, edibles treats and snacks, or cannabis compound concentrates. No matter what form of medical cannabis you end up with, however, it’s even more important to take the proper dosage.

Download Your Guide to Medical Marijuana & Seniors.

Dosage Tips for Senior Patients

While figuring out your proper medical dosage can still be a bit tricky, cannabis today is measured out and grown much more carefully than it was before. Medical cannabis is all about precision, making sure they get the right strain, in the right dose, to the right patient. Plants are grown to be consistent in their cannabinoid profiles, edibles have exact measurements of THC and CBD oils infused baked into them, and tinctures and capsules are about as precise as they get when it comes to dosage.

To start with, you should always ask for recommendations from  your licensed cannabis doctor and your budtenders at your local medical dispensary. Then, make sure you read the product label on your medical cannabis itself. But at the end of the day, figuring out how much cannabis you need to treat your various conditions is deeply personal. One person, depending on their height, weight, and severity of their condition, might need a different dose than someone who’s a different height, weight, or suffering from a different or more/less advanced form of illness.

It takes a little time but you should be able to figure out the right dosage for you through some simple trial and error. If you find that your symptoms aren’t being eased as much as they should by a dosage you tried, up your dosage slightly. If you feel your dosage might be a little too much, consult with your physicians and reduce your dosage a bit.

In the end, it’s all about figuring out what’s right for you individually. Medicine is a practice, after all, and the same general principles apply to medical cannabis as well! Our most important advice is to start low, go slow.

Download Our 1 Pager Guide to Dosing Medical Marijuana

Know What To Expect After Using Cannabis

Once you get your dosage down, the next thing you’ll need to understand is how the cannabis you’re using will impact you. There are some key differences between cannabis strains which impact their effects.

Understanding what strain you’re using, whether it’s an indica, a sativa, or a mix of the two, will give you a general guideline of what to expect when you use that product. For example, indicas are generally associated with a more relaxed, couch-lock type of experience, while sativas can be energizing and better for day-to-day use in easing pain, arthritis, and other chronic conditions which impair your ability to live life to the fullest.

While everyone responds a little bit differently to individual strains, we have enough understanding of cannabis to predict how certain strains may make people feel. You should, of course, consult with your licensed cannabis doctors and the workers at your local dispensary about their understanding of strains and their effects just like with every other medication. For more in-depth details on figuring out which type of cannabis strain is the right one for you, click here!

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

The legal cannabis industry is constantly growing, changing, and evolving rapidly. New products and strains are constantly going in and out of the dispensary, so it’s entirely possible to try something new every week or two. Even trying to read a dispensary menu in the first place can be intimidating. While you can always check online outlets like Leafwell for guidance on which strains are best for beginners, your best option is to start asking questions in person.

There’s no shame in not knowing something about cannabis, and that’s what dispensary workers and licensed cannabis doctors specialize in. You’re not a bother for asking questions, you’re just trying to get a better understanding of your medicine and how it will impact you!

Being able to ask questions about what you’re buying, how much to take at a time, and how it will impact you are the three most important things you should know before taking any type of medication. So the same rules apply for medical cannabis!

Written by
Joe Evans
Joe Evans

Joe Evans is a journalist, writer, editor and contributor for Leafwell. He has, to date, more than 5,000 articles published online under his byline on topics like cannabis, local and National news, politics, automotive news, sports, pop culture and even a cult.

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