The Silent Trend
Where are the senior-targeted products?
The Broccoli Report
Friday, August 11, 2022
Time to read: About 8 minutes. Contains 1,632 words.
Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis consumers. So where are the senior-targeted products?
In my usual scan through weed-related Google Alerts last week, I caught something about Anderson Cooper and seniors who enjoy cannabis. Upon closer inspection, it was about the latest episode of Cooper’s investigative series, The Whole Story, which focused on the growing number of seniors turning to cannabis for pain relief rather than refilling pharmaceutical prescriptions. The episode—“Senior Moment”—follows a skeptical Dr. Sanjay Gupta as he gets to know this demographic, first by hopping on a bus tour that brings curious seniors from Laguna Woods assisted living facility to a dispensary in Southern California. He then visits Israel to check in with a doctor researching the long-term effects of cannabis use in seniors. Gupta had done a feature about his work ten years prior, and during this recent visit, the doc shares more developed theories—how it seems that humans may stop producing cannabinoids as we age, requiring us to nourish our endocannabinoid system to keep it functioning normally. Gupta also chats with a woman who obtains medical cannabis oil in Israel for her father to help with his Alzheimer's, and she talks about how twice daily doses have helped “bring her father back.”
I know it’s not exactly breaking news—the headlines about older adults being the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis consumers have made the rounds for the past couple of years. But that’s why this episode really caught my attention. Older generations are increasing their number of dispensary visits, so much so that mainstream media is reporting heartwarming stories about it. Why hasn’t the market responded to that demand?
Where are the brands and products that are made for and marketed to seniors?
Why don’t we do more to make them feel welcome, at ease, and accommodated in dispensaries?
Let’s dive into the swirl of stigma, short-sightedness, and youthful naivete that got us here and examine some creative approaches and ideas for solutions.
Bud For Boomers & Up
Sure, there are Senior Discount Tuesdays at many a dispensary. Due to their potent, high-volume dose, I hear products like suppositories are the favorite form factor at many Portland, OR, retirement homes. On the aesthetic side, 1970s-themed brands like Dad Grass, Electric Lettuce, and Cheech And Chong's Cannabis appeal to the older generation’s nostalgia for the classic counterculture.
That’s all that comes to my mind, and that’s nothing.
I regularly pick up edibles for my grandma, and the minute I shop from her perspective, I’m stumped. If I have a hard time, as a seasoned shopper, how intimidating must this process be for my grandmother’s peers? To figure out better ways of welcoming and selling to consumers of a certain age, let’s start with a shopping trip in their shoes.
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