Yes, your Grandmother is consuming cannabis and there’s nothing wrong with that!

Mainstreaming trends in marijuana. Growing your own cannabis at home.

Teacup and gummies on table.
Image by Author

With legalization, more people over 65 are turning to cannabis (edibles or inhaled) to address sleep issues or because they can no longer tolerate pain or sleep prescription medications. Today, cannabis is completely legal in 14 states for adult use and legal for medical use or decriminalized in all but 6 states. A study earlier this year by the Journal of the American Medical Association noted an increase from .4% to 2.9% in cannabis use among adults over 65. While these are small percentages of the total population, there has been a 10-fold increase in use over the past 10 years.

Other studies expecting to see negative cognitive effects found that instead “patients improved performance on a number of measures, particularly those assessing executive function.” Improvements were also noted on several measures of quality of life, sleep, and depression among adults using this same balanced CBD/THC cannabis.

The University of Iowa has instituted a Cannabis and Older Persons Study focused on the use of cannabis to address a variety of health issues from arthritis to anxiety and depression.

So, have the Woodstock Generation returned to weed again as they retire and may no longer be concerned with stigma among co-workers and friends? Or has the opioid epidemic made more people question whether they should trust prescription medications and the physicians who prescribe them for pain?

With legalization, whether for adult use or medically prescribed, people of all ages are visiting dispensaries or asking for delivery. Dispensary experiences vary by state as do the quality and testing standards for the cannabis produced. The benefits of commercial sales of cannabis presented by the industry are dosage level and testing and strict legal verification of consumers. Consumer concerns with dispensaries are: potential loss of privacy (while you may need to show your ID to buy alcohol at the liquor store, no one scans your license into a machine as if you were crossing a border), pesticides going undetected in testing, and cost.

Currently, the average cost of an ounce of cannabis is $326. A jar of low THC gummies (good for sleep) costs around $30 for 20 gummies. Much as consumers have taken to buying pesticide-free food, so they also looking for chemical-free cannabis. Canada, where cannabis is legal countrywide now has mandatory pesticide testing. However in the U.S., as recently as July this year, three companies in Massachusetts were fined for illegal use of pesticides.

Along with increased interest in gardening and in growing food and herbs at home indoors (spiked by COVID), cannabis consumers are also choosing to growing at home as well as creating their own edibles from the harvest. After legalization, states often take years to put in place the regulations (and taxes) required, but still allow citizens to grow their own cannabis (not for sale). Growing at home requires no trips to the dispensary and the associated concerns about being seen and stigmatized. Growing at home allows control of the plant growing environment (no pesticides, herbicides). Growing at home is also a lot less expensive over the long run.

But what if you have a “black thumb”? A whole industry has expanded in grow-at-home hydroponics. These devices are styled to fit on a wall in the corner of a living room, on top or under a counter. With “smart technology” , the devices take care of making sure plants grow to a healthy harvest by regulating the nutrients, water, humidity and light and usually come with a mobile app that gives you a heads up if something needs attention.

So, whether you are interested in discretely growing your own healthy cannabis in your dining room or tomatoes on a wall, there are businesses out there ready to help you succeed. The more expensive the plant or the higher the importance of food quality is to you, the easier it will be to justify the expense.

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