I recently attended a Clubhouse presentation where cannabis industry experts discussed how to reach their most desired audience, represented by a persona they called “Forest.” In her early 40s, she lives in Portland, Oregon (where pot is legal) and is busy raising kids, working full-time, and supporting her aging parents.
Forest also has chronic back pain, insomnia, and anxiety, so naturally, she’s perfect as a budding client. While much of the conversation felt like blowing smoke, I loved that for once, someone passed the dutchie to Gen X.
A recent study found that although we’re just 20% of the US population, we account for 30% of lawful cannabis consumption. And a majority of us (65%) are for legalizing it, not criticizing it. That said, as natural skeptics, we’re smart enough to weed out the blunt truth about cannabis.
The ABCs of THC
First, the basics: cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t get you high because it’s non-psychotropic. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical responsible for the psychological effects.
This is why currently hemp-based CBD is legal in all 50 states. Only 36 states currently allow medical marijuana-based products, and just 16 states and the District of Columbia have authorized recreational pot use for adults.
Still, the flowering of the end of pot prohibition is lighting up opportunities for us to revisit reefer. As epidemiologist William Jesdale points out:
It’s easier to get and it’s also less stigmatized. With less punitive policies and just-say-no rhetoric, people who used in their youth and may have stepped away might have come back, now that it’s not Demon Weed anymore.
In fact, many see pot as a natural solution for various health issues from chronic pain to tremors, inflammation, mental afflictions (i.e., anxiety, depression, PTSD), glaucoma, insomnia, and even cancer.
Unfortunately, this may be a half-baked assumption.
While pot is often promoted as a miracle panacea, the empirical evidence is pretty dank. That’s because marijuana has been classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic since the Nixon White House, complicating and limiting research.
Still, there is encouraging evidence that cannabis helps relieve chemotherapy-related nausea, muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis, some sleep disorders, and certain kinds of chronic pain, albeit modestly. Other studies support utilizing it to treat short-term depression and anxiety, although continued use may worsen symptoms over time.
Plus, as we age and our metabolism slows, it’s important to consider side effects, like dizziness, drowsiness, and interactions with other medications. There’s a free cannabis-trained nurse hotline called Leaf 411 if you have questions.
Still, there’s no need to think pot’s potential has completely gone up in smoke. With cannabis decriminalized in almost all states, it may be high time to explore if today’s grass is greener than we remember it.
Lighting Up Later in Life (New York Times)