During our five years of helping seniors better understand the benefits of medical and recreational cannabis, Senior-High has maintained one consistent stipulation: when first using cannabis with THC, go “low and slow.”

We strongly suggest that first-time users who may have tried cannabis years ago approach today’s gummies, vapes, pre-rolls and tinctures cautiously. Only buy from legal cannabis dispensaries. Read the label and understand how the ratios of CBD to THC and different strains may affect you. Take a small amount to see how your body will react before taking a full dose. 

After allowing sufficient time for the products to be effective, then take an additional amount following the same premise…low and slow. Doing so will lead to greater success and comfort. It will also keep you from having to visit the emergency room, a situation that is continuously climbing among seniors who didn’t realize two critical issues:

#1 Today’s cannabis is a lot stronger

Cannabis is more potent than when we were young. Pot’s new legal status in many states along with the growing popularity of recreational products has led to the development of new variants with higher THC concentrations up to 99%.1 Additionally, the “entourage effect” (the theory that the full spectrum of the cannabis plant works best together) can produce an even stronger psychoactive experience that lasts longer. 

#2 Our bodies are less resilient

As we age, our immune system doesn’t work as well. Our bodies simply are not as capable of easily handling drugs – including alcohol and cannabis. A little can go a long way.

What do we recommend for seniors?

Vaping. New users may want to try vape products that contain less than 40% THC with CBD at 60%. Take one puff and see how you feel after 20 minutes. One hit may be all you need. If not, try another puff and wait another 20 minutes. Low and slow. Experienced users may enjoy a ratio of 1:1 (CBD to THC) 

Gummies. These are a favorite among seniors who have problems falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Many trying gummies for the first time may make two serious mistakes: taking too strong a dosage and not waiting long enough for the gummy to kick in. 

We recommend a maximum of 5mg of THC in a gummy, brownie, cookie or other edible for experienced users, and half (2.5 mg) for new users. However, many brands have 10mg to 30mg or more of THC. Read the label, then cut up the gummies accordingly to find the lowest dose that works for you. 

The reason many seniors “green out” is that they consume a gummy and expect it to work quickly. So, they take another. The first one hits, then the second one comes on. That’s a lot of THC and panic attacks may arise.

Remember, edibles pass through your stomach and kidneys before they reach your bloodstream. It can take as long as 90 minutes before you feel anything, the effect won’t peak until 2-3 hours later, and it lasts longer than inhalation.

Tinctures. We’re big fans! They are absorbed quickly (place a few drops under your tongue and swallow after a minute). Still, be cautious: use tinctures that contain less than 40% THC. Start low and slow with 1-2 drops at a time until you reach your preferred dose. Those who have used tinctures for a while may be comfortable with a ratio of 1:1.

We prefer products that contain three cannabinoids: THC, CBD and either CBG or CBN. Our experience is that such products are dosed properly and use the entourage effective to relieve aches, pains and sleeplessness.

Remember…low and slow!

Lustman is chief marketing officer with Senior-High which offers education and resources on medicinal marijuana via private consultations and complimentary seminars to communities. He can be reached at (760) 459.4593 or visit www.senior-high.com

1) https://www.thefreedomcenter.com/is-marijuana-stronger-now-than-ever-before/#:~:text=The%20answer%20is%20yes.,approximately%20tripled%20in%20that%20period.

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