Upcoming Leaf Learning Series event features Dr. Peter Grinspoon, addresses older adults’ questions about cannabis

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

If you’re over the age of 50 and new to today’s cannabis products, you’re not alone! In fact, older adults currently make up the fastest-growing group of cannabis consumers in the United States according to recent data reported in the New York Times. We’re proud to say that we were mentioned as a resource in that article, too!

Older adults also make up the majority of callers to our Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline. In 2020, 65% of Leaf411 callers were over the age of 55. The need for clinically-sound guidance around cannabis use for older adults has never been greater. That’s why we’re excited to announce our next Leaf Learning Series event:

Demystifying Cannabis for Older Adults on Thursday, April 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. MDT. The free event takes place online, and is open to the public. Event registration is available at this link.

Coffee mug next to laptop showing virtual learning event like the Leaf Learning Series.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Peter Grinspoon Will Lead Candid Conversation on Cannabis and Older Adults

We’re excited to announce that Dr. Peter Grinspoon, Harvard-trained primary care physician and renowned cannabis clinician, will be the keynote speaker at our April 22nd event. Dr. Grinspoon brings 25 years of experience as a cannabis clinician as well as firsthand knowledge of the plant’s therapeutic potential. 

Dr. Grinspoon has been featured as a cannabis expert in national media, including on NBC, C-SPAN, Fox, NPR as well as print publications including People Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Nation, and the Los Angeles Times.

During our event, you’ll have the opportunity to hear directly from Dr. Grinspoon and ask questions, as time allows.

Cannabis dispensary shelf showing different legal cannabis options.

Navigating the New World of Cannabis

Today’s legal cannabis and CBD hemp products are a far cry from what existed before legalization, back when many of today’s older adults first experimented with marijuana. 

At Leaf411, we know many of you are navigating a whole new world as you seek out alternatives for pain management, sleep issues, stress or other concerns. Our Leaf Learning session on Demystifying Cannabis for Older Adults is designed to help, no matter where you are on your cannabis journey.

Looking back at yesterday’s cannabis, it’s true that marijuana in the 1960s-1980s was less potent. It also was very poor quality, and was sometimes contaminated with dangerous herbicides like paraquat.

State legalization allowed progress in research and innovation around cannabis cultivation, extraction and manufacturing. Product standards also came online, with states testing for contaminants including pesticides and mold.

In other words, today’s cannabis is different—both stronger and safer—than the products you may have bought on the illicit market 40 years ago.

Cannabis edibles, including THC-infused chocolates and cookies.

Not All Cannabis Products Are the Same

Needless to say, today’s expanding range of legal cannabis products have a steeper learning curve when it comes to finding the right product and dose to meet your desired effects. Both new and more experienced users may have misconceptions that can lead to a less-than-ideal outcome.

For example, we once had a caller who was experienced in smoking cannabis flower (bud), but had decided to switch to using cannabis-infused chocolate. The caller assumed edibles would affect him the same way as smoking flower, and inadvertently consumed the entire bar assuming his tolerance to smoking flower would allow him to tolerate a large dose in an edible. Following that experience, he called our hotline for help.

In fact, finding the equivalent dose between flower and edibles can be tricky, because flower lists THC by percentage, and every bud is just a little bit different when it comes to cannabinoid and terpene content. Edibles, on the other hand, list dose by milligrams per serving and are more standardized, though they too can vary due to different batches of raw flower used in the manufacturing process.

Also, when cannabis is ingested, it passes through the digestive system where the liver converts the original Delta-9-THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. The result? A delayed-but-longer-lasting high that many users report feels both stronger and different than the high you get from smoking.

Fortunately for our caller who was switching from flower to edibles, one of our hotline RNs was able to help them dial in their cannabis edible dose moving forward.

Wooden scrabble blocks on a table spelling out “Join Us” with a plant in the background.

We’d Love for You to Join Us for the Leaf Learning Series: Demystifying Cannabis for Older Adults

At Leaf411, our bottom-line goal is that everyone has access to evidenced-based information and guidance on safe cannabis use. That’s why we created the hotline as a nonprofit whose mission is to provide free RN guidance to the public, and why we’re hosting the upcoming Leaf Learning Series event tailored to older adults. It is essential to understand the nuances of the new cannabis market you see today to help you understand what you are truly consuming.  Learning events can provide the peace of mind needed to make an informed decision.

Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up! Free registration is open now at: https://hopin.com/events/leaf-learning-series-demystifying-cannabis-for-the-older-adult 

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.