In a study sponsored by AARP and the National Poll on Healthy Aging, four out five seniors polled (80%) say they support legalization of medical marijuana, 40% support legalizing cannabis use for any reason, and more than 70% say that marijuana can ease medical complaints such as pain and depression. Research throughout the world has demonstrated that, used properly, the cannabis herb is a mostly benevolent, uplifting, helpful and insightful additive in senior living.
For over 70 years grass has been maligned as a dangerous drug like heroin and cocaine, but now we know that when approached mindfully, marijuana has been scientifically proven to be a safe, curative, enjoyable, and insightful insert into daily routines. In this blog series, I hope to clarify a number of key aspects of cannabis use specifically for our Boomer population.
I conducted my first formal marijuana research for the National Institutes of Health way back in the late sixties, and since then in my private therapy practice, I’ve been quietly advising clients on how to use cannabis productively to relieve pain, ease medical conditions, reduce anxiety and depression – and also boost emotional growth, enduring relationships and spiritual insight. Although I’m a pragmatist, I’ve come to value cannabis as a primary herbal boost to human wellbeing and our overall sense of fulfillment in life.
"Youth is wasted on the young," somebody once said. And with over 50 million of us Boomers now retiring and wondering what to do with the rest of our lives, the rapidly-growing acceptance of grass has raised the looming question – how can we best approach marijuana use to uplift our senior experience? Most of us missed out on the 60s revolution and never got to explore what using marijuana is all about. Now finally we have the chance – the boss is off our back, the kids are grown up, grass is more and more legal and available. So the time is finally right to 'blow our minds' a bit as we explore for ourselves the welcome inclusion of the marijuana muse in our lives.
Cannabis is definitely a potent herb, and needs to be approached respectfully. To help Boomers use grass successfully, my colleagues and I have been developing a set of safe free app-guidance programs that help ensure a safe positive grass experience. When approached mindfully and with a bit of professional support, all of us can discover for ourselves how our personalities respond to the inclusion of THC and CBD products in our health and enjoyment of life.
The Senior Advantage:
Carl Jung, an early hero of positive psychology, took the psychedelic mescaline (stronger but in many ways similar to cannabis) in his 60’s. He quite loved it, and wrote in detail about his powerful insight experiences in The Doors Of Perception. Curiously, he concluded that mature personalities would have a deeper, more rewarding experience with psychedelics than younger folk, because the effects draw strongly on our entire life experience: the longer and richer one’s life experience, the deeper one’s psychedelic or cannabis experience.
The high-potency cannabis products now available do provide the opportunity for a safe enjoyable inner adventure, and seniors are in optimum position – because we have had loads of life experience, and we still have ten, maybe twenty years of open exploration ahead of us for delving deeper into the medical and experiential benefits of cannabis. Our generation is lucky to be the first that legally has the opportunity to use cannabis to delve deeper into what it means to be alive and fully enjoying each new moment.
Now we have the legal freedom to explore cannabis. But – how can we wisely and consciously approach the marijuana muse? For instance, there’s currently much discussion about whether to focus on the pain-reducing effects of CBD when using cannabis, or to use high-THC products that are psychoactive and can improve our conscious enjoyment of the moment. Last week I talked about this question with a noted Bay Area physician who’s on top of new medical perspectives on marijuana, and he clarified what I’ve known for years. For specific medical treatment, of course follow the exact recommendation of your doctor. However, to maximize both medical and inner-growth effects, cannabis is best approached with a fairly equal mix of the two active cannabis ingredients, THC and CBD.
Why is this mix of THC and CBD of high value? Because the psychoactive chemicals in the marijuana bud affect not just our physical condition but also our emotions, thoughts, perceptions and our capacity for spontaneous emotional healing – and the THC element is what positively shifts our mood, mental fixations, and inner experience in directions that uplift both our spirit and our creative flow.
For decades now, more and more people have turned to grass to tap into expansive thoughts and uplifting emotions. But many of us are a bit afraid of allowing the muse of THC to influence our habitual mental and emotional patterns.– and therefore we use only CBD which doesn’t much change our conscious state of mind. Unfortunately, eliminating the THC ingredient tends to limit any shift in consciousness that might help us let go of the past, open to new experience, and enjoy the present moment more fully.
So it’s important to consider the best balance of THC and CBD for your own intentions. In this series of blogs, we’ll help you get educated about your options, as you develop a clear mindful approach to cannabis use. Mindfulness and grass can quite readily work together for an expanded inner experience of beauty, compassion, insight and enjoyment. As you learn to focus your attention in positive directions while using grass, you can safely expand your curiosity, explore new realms of consciousness, deepen your relationships, and discover how to more fully and enjoyably engage in senior life.
For more in-depth discussions, please refer to my new book Mindfully High, and when using cannabis, explore the guiding power of our free MindfullyHigh App. And be sure to return here for regular new blog posts on these themes.