Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946-1964, are circling back to marijuana, becoming known as “Boomerangers”. This group of older adults are giving themselves permission to enjoy old and new ways of consuming cannabis, both recreationally and for the management of pain, anxiety and insomnia. But today’s cannabis products are undoubtedly more potent than the weaker “grass” they may have experimented with in their younger years.
Marijuana of the 1960s and 70s likely had THC levels of 2-3%, while strains found in the modern dispensary average well over 10%. So tread lightly to prevent potential anxiety, paranoia or physical instability. Plan your cannabis experimentations when you are free of other obligations and comfortable in your pleasantly prepared environment, and avoid consuming too much for your first time back in a crowded environment such as a concert.
Entering a dispensary in a legalized state can be like walking into a candy store. Find a high quality dispensary with a knowledgeable budtender, someone who speaks the new cannabis language, and can walk you through the wide assortment of choices and ways to consume the plant.
It helps to know what effects you are looking to experience, as well as ones you would like to avoid. “Indica” strains are often experienced as physically sedating, ideal for relaxing or before bed. “Sativa” strains tend to provide invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative endeavors. “Hybrids” are a blend of both.
Flower refers to the actual green bud of the marijuana plant, which can be consumed in a pipe, bong or joint. Most dispensaries sell conveniently pre-rolled joints.
Vaporizers do not combust the cannabis, but rather use lower heat to create vapor from the flower before inhaled. Portable vaporizers, which come in all shapes and sizes, have become popular for their ease of use, portability and discrete nature.
Concentrate pens or vape pens have pre-loaded cannabis extract. They come in a many flavors and offer various experiential benefits.
Edibles are an alternative to smoking or vaping, and the varieties of goodies are endless. Be aware of dosage; you can always take more but you can’t take less. There are food-based treats as well as sublingual edibles such as juices, tinctures and lozenges.
Concentrates, which can be much stronger than flower, are best in small doses. Methods of consuming concentrates include dabbing or applying topicals, non-psychoactive lotions that provide beneficial cannabinoids.
Metabolism slows with age, so you may feel high for longer. It is also important to take current medications into consideration; Xanax or Valium can interact with marijuana to cause intense lethargy, and mixing with Prozac can cause irritability and restlessness.
Marijuana is contraindicated for those with heart conditions, so consult your doctor before you consume any cannabis products.
Sari Frances is a contributing writer to The Fresh Toast. The Alaska Cannabist has partnered with The Fresh Toast, a lifestyle and entertainment platform featuring coverage of cannabis, culture, comedy, food, drink, edibles and more.