CA: Cannabis Workshop Draws Big Crowd At Senior Center

Photo Credit: Ann Marie Awad

A growing trend reveals senior adults are interested to try cannabis again or for some, for the first time.

“One-third of our customers are 60 plus,” said Eli Melrod, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solful Dispensary in Sebastopol. “We kind of designed it with that demographic in mind.”

Melrod was invited to deliver the “Let’s Talk Cannabis” workshop at the Sebastopol Senior Center last Friday afternoon. The front two rows filled up first as more than 40 people filed in for the presentation.

Katie Davis, program director at the Sebastopol Area Senior Center, said members of the senior community highly requested more information on cannabis.

“They are always just very interested and it’s always a topic of conversation,” Davis said.

The workshop was the second cannabis discussion at the senior center, both with  considerable attendance likely prompted by the Sebastopol city council’s decision to allow Solful and the SPARC dispensary to begin recreational sales to adults as of  Jan. 1. As knowledge of the herb’s potential health benefits spreads, so does interest, but the cannabis that can now be legally purchased isn’t the same “reefer” from the hippie generation.

At dispensaries like Solful, shoppers can browse different strains of cannabis offering different types of euphoric feelings. Another change has come in the form of consumption of cannabis. While inhaling the cannabis flower is still popular, consumers can also purchase edibles (which can be ingested), sublinguals (liquid drops which absorb by membranes), topicals (balms, salves, creams), and transdermals (patches that adhere to skin).

Steve Perdue, 65, said it’s been a long time since he used marijuana and he was eager to learn more after a recent visit to Solful.

“We are all in kindergarten,” he said.

Perdue said he wanted to learn more about the different strains and their effects as well as employment opportunities.

“I’m looking into supplemental income,” he said.

When Melrod finished his presentation and asked for questions, hands quickly shot up all across the room. For a full 30 minutes, Melrod did his best to openly and honestly answer all questions.

A common theme emerged about cannabis as an alternative to medications for ailments ranging from arthritis to insomnia and memory loss. Becky Wade, 62, attended the workshop with her 93-year-old mother.

Both suffer from sleeplessness and Wade said she recently quit using the sedative Ambien and started using cannabis tinctures, liquid drops placed under the tongue and absorbed through the membrane.

Wade said she hadn’t been high since the 1970s and the transition was a big one, but she feels encouraged.

“I haven’t taken any Ambien in four days and I’m sleeping,” Wade said.

More cannabis workshops at the senior center are in the works. Program director Katie Davis said she would like to continue the series with a variety of speakers, including some from the medical field.