The Changing Age Demographic of Cannabis Consumers: Why Baby Boomers Are Back

We are all familiar with the young stoner demographic but the new cannabis consumer group that is growing rapidly are baby boomers.

Michael Gordon, owner of Kush Tourism, a Seattle based cannabis tourism company, notes that many of the cannabis consumers booking their tours defy the stoner stereotype. Customers booking their general-interest cannabis industry and culture tours tend be couples from 28 to 60 years of age. According to Gordon, boomers are quite enthusiastic as they explore the growing recreational cannabis market.

“Boomers are lifelong learners who enjoyed the 60’s and 70’s, it’s no wonder that they have an affinity to experience a Cannabis tour!  Boomers want to witness history in the making, to be able to learn about Cannabis on our Kush Tour is similar to a winery tour, a unique adventure with a treat at the end.”

Boomers Represent the Fastest Growing Group of Cannabis Consumers

Gordon’s assessment is backed by statistics that point to baby boomers as the fastest growing group of cannabis consumers. As reported by Consumer Affairs, between 2006 and 2013, there was a 71% increase in marijuana use among adults 50 years old and older. The rate drops considerably for adults 65 and older, who make up the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation. However, according to a 2016 study posted in the journal Addiction, cannabis use among consumers over 65 increased by 250%. In addition, only 5% of older adults consider cannabis to be a great health risk. Also, more of these boomer cannabis consumers are men than women.

Marijuana’s Health Benefits for Boomer Cannabis Consumers

An article posted on The Cannabist reported that states with medical marijuana laws also saw improvements in overall health for older men, although the health effects for older women were more mixed.

“The study found that, among individuals age 50 and older, “passage of [a medical marijuana law] leads to a 9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent increase in hours worked per week.” This boost in employment is attributed to the reality that the overall health of boomers appears to be better in those states with medical marijuana laws.

A post at Smart Living highlighted some of the medical benefits of cannabis to boomer consumers. They include nausea relief, nerve pain, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain relief, Crohn’s Disease and other intestinal disorders, cancer treatment, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, anxiety, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), epilepsy, glaucoma, and sleep disorders.

In addition to the medicinal values of cannabis, some boomer cannabis consumers reach for this plant in lieu of an alcoholic beverage for relaxation and socialization. Others report lifestyle benefits such as heightened creativity and increased libido, this enabling them to keep their mind and body invigorated as they age.

Marketing to Boomer Cannabis Consumers

As reported by Dope magazine, “The Boomers are into their mid-to-late sixties now, and medical cannabis is becoming the go-to medicine for more and more of them. According to a report from the University of Georgia, Medicare saved $165.2 million in prescription costs from the legalization of medical marijuana in the U.S., and the nationwide medical marijuana approval would save Medicare an average $468 million in prescription costs.”

With this increase of boomer cannabis consumers comes the expected marketing targeted to this demographic. For example, as reported by marijuana.com, “Collingwood-based CanCann Consulting hosts monthly workshops on how to use pot to help with pain. Events held at holistic community hubs are often standing-room-only, packed with folks eager to learn recipes for cannabis edibles, oils and tinctures.”

Leafly’s Advice for Boomer Cannabis Consumers

Older adults still face challenges when they enter the dispensary to make their purchases. Often the budtender is a person in their twenties who does not understand the dynamics of boomer cannabis consumers.

Leafly offers these suggestions to aid boomer cannabis consumers who gave up cannabis decades ago but want to give it another try. First, using a vapor (“vape”) pen enables one to enjoy a high without loading a pipe or rolling a joint. Also, a vape pen is discrete, and doesn’t emit smoke so it’s better on the lungs. Also, edibles are another option for those who do not wish to smoke any substance.

Second, boomer cannabis consumers should know what kind of experience want to achieve via this plant. Then they can have a conversation with an experienced budtender who can offer suggestions for the particular strain and consumption method that will produce the desired effect.

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