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Is the stigma of cannabis preventing more seniors from using it?

Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 12, 2018

Seniors are among the fastest-growing population of new cannabis users. However, the stigma behind cannabis could be keeping some seniors from getting much-needed relief from chronic pain, as well as sleepless nights.

Greg Saweikis is one senior finding relief through cannabis. Since he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2017, he’s undergone rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. But after a suggestion from a friend, Saweikis started taking cannabis, too.

He takes CBD and THC pills by Stratos. He even uses a cannabis cream for his hands.  

“It seems like it really has been helping,” Saweikis says. “I sleep a little bit better.”  

But Saweikis knows not all people his age and older are open to using cannabis.  

“I think there is a large stigma, still,” he says. “And it's just a holdover from the 60s and the whole, you know, from demonstrations and all of that kind of thing.”  

Since the 1930s you've been told there's something really bad about cannabis that's always going to be there in the back of your head.  

Leland Rucker is editor of Sensi, a magazine for adults with a cannabis emphasis. He says the stigma is still attached.  

“And I talked to one woman who it really helped her start to sleep. She's all of a sudden sleeping much better, but she was embarrassed about,” Rucker recalls. “She was embarrassed to talk to people about it, because she had been so cannabis negative all of her life.”

But Rucker says more older Americans are exploring, encouraged in part by their children and grandchildren.  

“And so, you have to find out what the reality is,” Rucker says. “And I think that now that it's legal, we've given people that opportunity.”