JAN 20, 2023 7:40 AM PST

Cannabis and People Over 65

WRITTEN BY: Helaine Krysik

For most people, when they overdo it on cannabis, they consume too much due inexperience, or to the delay in the onset time of their original dose. They think that their first dose is ineffective, as they don’t immediately feel anything, so they consume more doses. As a result, when the effects finally do kick in, the user is overwhelmed. They get too high, they green out, and need several hours to come down from the extreme effects, oftentimes experiencing anxiety or paranoia in the meantime.

However, for some people over 65, the effects are more serious than simply overdoing it due to inexperience. Over the past several years, there has been a sharp uptick in edibles consumers over 65 going to the E.R.

Why is that? Because cannabis use in older adults, especially in those over 65, has skyrocketed since cannabis has become increasingly legalized. These older users tend to use cannabis to help alleviate chronic pain or discomfort. But while cannabis can be highly effective in treating these conditions, the potential side effects can lead to other issues, particularly in those who are consuming edibles.

The adverse effects that cannabis consumers over 65 endure, especially when they consume edibles, cover a wide range. When some older users tend to overdo it, especially if they are brand new to consuming edibles, they go to the hospital with heart palpitations. Others experience overall impaired attention, leading to accidents such as falls. Yet others suffer a worsening of cardiovascular disease, or even severe effects such as cannabis-induced psychosis in people with pre-existing conditions.

Since there is increasing evidence that seniors can benefit from controlled cannabis use conditions such as lowering blood pressure, the cannabis industry stands to benefit from creating products for seniors with fewer side effects such as low dose edibles. As the industry continues to mature and grow more diversified, seniors will eventually have more options to choose from.


Sources: Weedmaps, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, AJC, MJBizDaily

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Helaine is a cannabis industry writer and marketing consultant. She has been active in the Illinois cannabis industry since 2020, and writes for a variety of national publications.
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