People in the Cannabis business know that people over 65 are perhaps the largest untapped market for their Cannabis goods and services, and the resistance of many of these Seniors is legendary, even in states where Cannabis is legal for all of their medical, spiritual, creative, and sensual needs. All over the US adults are trying to convince their aging parents to try Cannabis for some of the simple but terrible ills that plague their lives, but without success. It’s fear that is holding them back, and they have been made afraid deliberately.
Whether you’re in the Cannabis business, or you’re a concerned son or daughter, or maybe both, here’s why I think it is going to be hard to reach many of these older people with conventional thinking.
People in their late 40s/early 50’s today were toddlers just as the War On Drugs machine went into action. People who are in their 60s/70s today were those kid’s parents. They suffered the WOD propaganda machine running full bore through their psyche.
The War On Drugs worked through the schools by design, so parents and children in the 1970s were continuously subjected to the best behavior modification and propaganda techniques that tax money could buy, which continues quite pathetically today. And speaking of schools, who can forget Nancy Reagan and her screeching “Just Say No” contribution to the WOD of the 1980s. Those poor kids! Those poor parents!
The fear messages proved so effective in the 70s that they have been continually updated decade by decade ever since. Who can forget Crack in the Ghettos? Meth in the Hollers? And now, ta da, Opioids In The Burbs!
But wait! There’s something brand new that will really scare the shit out of you if drugs in the streets don’t do the job. Now we’re giving you Terrorism and Security to worry about. So just like parents in the 70s and 80s and onward permitted – no, insisted – on body searches and blood tests for drugs to keep their kids safe, they are now insisting on total surveillance of every school, to keep the kids safe.
Is the War on Terror any different than the War On Drugs? Well, the actual number of kids per year being killed by strangers, much less terrorists, in schools around the country has never ever been even close to the number of kids killed at home, nor in car wrecks. But using exactly the same “Assassin of Youth” fear tactics that proved so successful in terrorizing people for the War On Drugs, the War On Terror now has bombers and shooters lurking everywhere, and enough crazies are rising to the occasion, that American parents are in full-on fear. They are demanding universal surveillance and armed police in every school. And who can deny them – obviously America is under attack from obscure outside forces who will stop at nothing to destroy the American way of life. So giving up huge chunks of the American way of life in order to protect it from terrorists has once again been sold to the gullible public. And of course American entrepreneurs are ready and able to rise to the challenge of providing 100% security for everyone, and especially for the children.
So, with all this manipulation at every level for decades of their lives, is it any wonder that so many Seniors are, shall we say, leery of Cannabis?
Their raw numbers are huge, any way you cut it. Even segments of the potential, but non-responsive over-65 market for Cannabis products & services are huge. 43 million people live at home with full-time caretakers. That’s some 86 million people in 43 million households living with intense health issues hands-on, day after day.
Many of the things making life most difficult for these 43 million old, sick people and their 43 million caregivers, could be alleviated and even cured in some cases by judicious use of the right Cannabis strains, whether used as beverages, tonics, and foods or as medications, but often best taken by a puff or two of a beautiful Cannabis flower.
My wife and I cared for both our Mothers Laurie and Elizabeth for many years in our home, and we held Elizabeth’s hands when she died. I was also a single parent of a toddler son for years, so I understand what it takes to give care to another person. But I also had to learn to respect the personhood that remains strong even in someone who is growing older and sicker and further from life day after day, over many years, and not to make them feel helpless with my caregiving. Caregiving can be easily consumed with tasks that must be performed by all caregivers, many of them associated with small breakdowns of the body.
For so many millions of older people at least some of these little but vastly debilitating health issues like sleep, appetite and mood, don’t have to happen as long as the caregivers, and those cared for, are able to understand the truth about Cannabis as a natural medicine, and equally important, if they understand the healing power of sensual pleasure and how this aspect of Cannabis can give crucially important parts of life back to them. Too many younger people simply assume that old, sick people have forgotten about, and don’t need, sensual pleasures in their lives.
So why don’t Seniors accept what Cannabis can offer them? Why are people over 65 the age group that is most resistant to using Cannabis for healing medicine, let alone for healing pleasure.
We all also know that almost all people over 65 have some level of daily pain, some trouble sleeping, some gut issues, and other conditions that copious amounts of pharmaceuticals aren’t helping, and in the Cannabis industry we know that the right strain of Cannabis used in the right way could treat and even help heal older people suffering in these ways.
The really short answer is – fear. But that fear is many-sided, and can’t be dismissed, or made illegitimate, or over-ridden, or even reasoned with or cleverly avoided by Cannabis growers and manufacturers that want to reach a nice-sized segment of these 100 Million and more fearful Seniors.
As we all know fear gets expressed in a lot of ways, but here are some of the most common ways that millions of Seniors express their fear of Cannabis.
My doctor will think I’m crazy for asking and might turn me in
The federal government still forbids it
It is against my religious beliefs. God forbids it
I don’t know anything about medical marijuana and I don’t want to look foolish
I’m afraid I’ll become addicted
My doctor will find out when they test my blood
I’m afraid I’ll fall
Only addicts and criminals use marijuana
I’m not convinced about marijuana’s medical usefulness
Each of these fears, and all the others so carefully planted and nurtured over decades, can best be addressed with love, compassion and careful questioning and listening. If you are in the Cannabis business, you will have to also address fears like these effectively in order to be successful with seniors. That will also require love, compassion and careful listening on the part of your company if you want to understand and address the largely unrecognized needs of this diverse, suffering group of people.
But if an older person who you love lives near you, and you live where medical Cannabis is legal, and if they are resistant, why not spend a little extra time thinking about why they are fearful. As you know, older people express fear in different ways. Think of what you can do to help them overcome that fear, which only they can do for themselves but which is a lot easier if you have someone you love helping and caring. It may be that one of the finest gifts you can offer to an older person you love would be to help them decide to bring pure, natural Cannabis Flowers into their life, to share a place alongside aspirin in the medicine chest and organic Tea in the pantry.
Some effective pain relief, at least a little better appetite, a little better sleep for sure, more fun listening to music, and more vivid dreams and memories.