Did you know that cannabis might affect you differently as you age? That’s because our endocannabinoid system changes over time. That means a cannabis product may affect you differently than it does your grandmother, and also may produce different side effects.
According to Jointly data, consumers who are 58-76 years old have less success with all goals except for Focus. However, this demographic also has the lowest rates of side effects. In this article, we will present the Jointly data and then discuss the science behind these data.
This data comes from Jointly users, who rate how effective a cannabis product was in helping them achieving various goals including relieving daily stress, improving sleep, and soothing aches and pains. The results showed that older people rated cannabis products lower on average for all goals except for boosting focus.
Older adults aged 65-years and older are the fastest growing demographic of cannabis users outside of teenagers. But according to Jointly data, this group rates cannabis products lower on average for all goals except Focus. Here’s a visualization of our data:
As you can see, the goals Enjoy Social Experiences, Relax & Refresh, Stimulate Your Appetite, Enhance Intimacy, and Energize & Uplift have a stepped down pattern where the younger groups, on average, have more success than older groups.
It is noteworthy that average ratings for Enhance Intimacy and Recover from Exercise both drop significantly from the 42-57 year old age group to the 58-76 year old age group. Perhaps these data are related to age-related changes in sexual function or exercise recovery.
The obvious outlier is Focus (formerly Focus & Create), which has a higher average for the oldest age group compared to the others. These data could be related to the fact that low-dose THC can have real benefits for age-related cognitive decline. We will expand on this idea in the next section.
Evidence suggests that as we age, there is a decline in the expression and activity of the gene that encodes for the CB1 receptor, along with changes in the enzymes that synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids.
A decline in CB1 receptor activity as one ages means that THC may have less effects - whether intoxicating, positive, or negative - on older adults compared to when they were younger. Of course, many other factors can influence the state of your endocannabinoid system, such as the quality of your diet, your activity level, and more. However, the lower ratings on average for nearly all goals may be related to age-related changes in the endocannabinoid system. Additionally, the lower rates of side effects may also be related to these same changes.
Researchers have determined that the “expression level of the different molecular components forming this signaling system (the receptors and enzymes producing and inactivating eCBs) change substantially both in the brain and peripheral tissues as a function of aging. This suggests that the bioactivity of eCB-based therapeutics is likely to vary depending on the age of the patient.”
While research into how cannabis affects the elderly is still in its early stages, the available data suggest that low-dose THC treatment could slow down or even reverse age-related cognitive decline. These data may be due to the fact that the CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated by THC, which are under-stimulated “in the elderly brain due to age-dependent changes in the endocannabinoid system.” The higher averages for Focus may be related to this phenomenon as well.
If you're a younger cannabis user, you may be wondering how you can help older users enjoy the experience they are after. Here are some tips to help older adults enjoy their ideal cannabis experience.
First, it is important to be respectful and patient with older users. They may not be familiar with all of the terminology. It is also important to be aware of any medical conditions that an older consumer may have. Some conditions, such as heart disease, can be exacerbated by cannabis use.
Firstly, you should download Jointly on their smartphone and set them up with a Jointly account. Once they have the app, they can enter their preferences and goals, and get matched with top-rated products for each goal.
As always, it is important to start with small doses and go slowly when introducing an older user to cannabis. This precaution is especially important for edibles, beverages, and tinctures, which may have long-lasting effects and can take up to an hour to kick in.
Lastly, it is helpful to have a variety of different cannabis products on hand so that older adults can find the one that works best for them. Flower isn’t the best product type for certain goals. In fact, Jointly data suggests that beverages are the most popular product type for a variety of goals.
Jointly is a cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and match with the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences of hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.
With Jointly, match with top-rated products, and build lists of your favorites to save, share, and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.
Jointly also helps you track your cannabis experiences through reflections that help you understand what’s working, and what’s not. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your experiences.