Business of Cannabis, Staff
Estimates predict that by 2036, there could be over 11 million seniors in Canada. This makes seniors a powerful influence – and an essential market for the cannabis sector. Currently only six percent of the senior demographic identify themselves as regular cannabis users – but this is primed to grow exponentially.
Cannabis is one of the most potentially disruptive healthcare options to become available on the wellness, anti-aging and pain management fronts. Whether you are in the cannabis or health industry, or just interested in understanding the influence of cannabis legalization on a growing seniors platform, these are the key points to understand about the interplay between cannabis, aging and older Canadians. All of these issues will also be addressed at our upcoming Toronto series, Green + Silver: Cannabis and Optimal Aging.
Understand the Medical Research Gap
Until very recently, there were significant barriers to medical cannabis research. As a classified substance, it was difficult to obtain research samples and funding for the work was at a minimum.
As a result, we are currently at a moment where we are entering legalization but waiting on the outcomes of the numerous recent studies that have launched.
At this point in time, the onus is on seniors themselves and their caregivers and families to ask their doctor about medical cannabis as a treatment option. But with legalization, seniors may find themselves consulting with recreational businesses because their doctor won’t prescribe it to them.
Once we start seeing solid research on medical cannabis’ effects, the eight out nine doctors who currently feel uncomfortable prescribing cannabis might change their minds. We could see an uptick in doctors prescribing medical cannabis to older adults’ common ailments, such as chronic pain.
A Personalized Approach
There’s been more conversation and understanding of how cannabis strains, ingestion methods and potencies impact different people. Older adults and their support communities need to monitor how cannabis affects seniors in conjunction with other medications, as well as their own individual chemistry. Currently, the means of creating a personalised medical experience is via online tracking apps such as Strainprint and engaging on patient conversations like those driven by SheCann and others.
Modern Medical Cannabis Means Choice
The importance of introducing older Canadians and their families to the range of medical cannabis products currently on the market cannot be over-emphasized. Modern cannabis comes in an array of forms, most of which are new to most Canadians, such as dried cannabis flower, edibles, sprays and balms. Each of these ingestion forms comes with its own unique benefits and challenges, especially considering not all of them will be legal on October 17th, which may cause confusion for many – not just older Canadians.
Focus on Women
The studies clearly show that women overwhelmingly tend to be the primary co-ordinators and administrators of elder care. This means they are the ones engaged on the decisions on treatments paths and wellness purchases – including cannabis. Our upcoming Caregivers’ Lunch welcomes family members alongside care industry professionals to provide this group with the latest in cannabis care options.
The end of cannabis prohibition in Canada is likely to open up more therapies and treatments for older Canadians to deal with the health and wellness challenges of aging. But education around cannabis – medical and adult-use recreational – is critical for all of us, especially those populations that have been less inclined to seek the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, like older Canadians and those that care for them.
Come out to Green + Silver: Cannabis and Optimal Aging to further investigate these questions. Featuring doctors and industry experts, seniors and their families need to be engaged in being given the educational materials needed to empower them to make informed decisions.