Pot and Senior Citizens: It’s a Natural Fit

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel December 21, 2015

    As another year draws to a close, and I turn another year older, I am reminded how nicely marijuana compliments the aging process. And yet, because of the fears and misconceptions from the decades-long “reefer madness” government propaganda campaign, most seniors today remain unaware of the benefits and pleasures of cannabis. Those over 65 years of age remain the only demographic in the country who do not yet support marijuana legalization. We need to change that.

    Marijuana and Health

    First, aging brings a host of natural aches and pains, many of which are best remedied with a little marijuana smoking. Most of us who qualify as seniors end up with a growing list of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by our physicians, most of which have some undesirable side-effects, some minor and some not so minor. Recent research has documented that those who use marijuana to treat the symptoms of their conditions generally use fewer dangerous, Schedule 2 narcotics, avoiding the inevitable unpleasant side-effects those drugs bring, along with their palliative effects.

    Improving the Quality of Life for Seniors

    But primarily the point I would like to make in this column is the positive role marijuana can play in an older individual’s life, beyond the traditional medical applications. That is, marijuana can help enhance the quality of life at a time when most seniors have time on their hands and can explore facets of life that might have been missed when one’s career or family responsibilities consumed every available moment. We can now slow down and smell the flowers.

    Many older citizens fill their time by traveling more extensively than before; some spend more time playing golf or tennis or some other sport that may have been only an occasional diversion during their earlier years; and many pursue an intellectual search to learn more about the world around them, an option made enormously more attractive with the internet.

    And each of these uses of their free time, and many more, can be enhanced with the use of marijuana.

    With a couple of hits of high-quality weed, one might be inclined to finally take the time to learn that foreign language you have always wanted to master; or to research the family tree to learn your family’s history; or to more fully understand some of the serious social and environmental challenges with which we are confronted today.

    There are wonderful, creative ways to spend free time when your mind is open to new experiences.

    Opening the Doors of Perception

    The marijuana high, when used properly, opens the doors of perception and allows us to ask ourselves questions we might not have asked before, when we were overwhelmed with the challenges of everyday life – it stimulates one’s intellectual curiosity.

    By the nature of our existence, as we grow older we naturally ponder the reality that we are mortal and will not live forever, and that none of us are certain precisely what that means. It is the nature of the human experience that some of these question are beyond our ability to answer.

    Marijuana can be an entheogen that helps one achieve a degree of calmness about such imponderable spiritual questions, and allows us to set those issues aside while we enjoy each day, even with all of life’s uncertainties and challenges.


    And finally, the marijuana high can turn an otherwise ordinary time into a special experience. Marijuana enhances the pleasures we derive from spending time with family and friends; from good music and good food, however one defines those things; and from those ordinary things that bring us joy each day, such as seeing a new-born baby, listening to the birds chirp in the morning, smelling the distinctive aroma of spring flowers, playing with our pets, or watching our grandchildren develop into younger versions of ourselves.

    This seems to me to be the most useful aspect of the marijuana high; it allows us to find value and richness in the ordinary.

    For seniors who enjoy smoking marijuana, there is really no such thing as “too much time on our hands.” It’s all good time that we can use to enrich our lives.

    I sometimes think marijuana is wasted on the young; it really is best suited for those of us who are now senior citizens, with discretionary time, and enjoying every minute of it.

    Stoner Seniors. It has a nice ring to it!

    35 responses to “Pot and Senior Citizens: It’s a Natural Fit”

    1. Miles says:

      I will turn 60 in 2016. I’ve used cannabis since age 15 and have had a very successful life. I’m certainly not the only person with a similar story. Most of my friends are in their 50s and 60s and enjoy cannabis. Neither I nor any of my friends have any kind of problem with it and none of us hurt anyone as a result of our enjoyment of the herb.

      Can’t our friggin’ Govt at least allow for seniors to use it legally? I mean, what could possibly be wrong with someone 60+ using it in their own home; or growing their own if they can’t buy it legally?

      I’m so tired of Big Brother (like Chris Christie and those like him) trying to thwart the will of the people and support the fraud of marijuana prohibition.

      My friends and I all hope to be legal before we die! It really sucks beyond imagination to be considered a criminal for my usage even though I’ve not broken any other laws! I’m a good citizen and my neighbors all like me and consider me to be someone they could call on if they needed help. Still, here in Virginia, if I was to get caught with it somehow (perhaps if I reported a home invasion and the police searched my premises) I would probably go straight to jail. Unbelievable it is still illegal anywhere in a country that is supposed to be a democracy and was called “The Land of the Free”.

      Our countries leaders should be ashamed!

      Bernie Sanders is currently the only candidate that I support. I will vote for Hilary only if she is the Democratic candidate since the Republicans seem to be firmly on the side of Big Brother and prohibition. I know there are some Republican exceptions, but the part in general seems very Un-American and anti-freedom as far as I can tell.

    2. Fireweed says:

      I’m also pushing 60 and have been smoking since age 15. Unlike Miles, I do not share the good fortune of having “most” of my friends be pot smokers. I wish it were true, but unfortunately I’ve actually lost friends simply by disclosing that I’m even in favor of legalizing marijuana, let alone smoking it, let alone on a daily basis!

      Ironically, I’m in the minority of my same-aged friends in that I can still: get down on the floor and get up, not taking a single prescription outside of an occasional temporary medication, not 50+ lbs overweight.

      I never thought that at this ripe old age I’d still be able to do:
      a cartwheel
      a flying camel
      an Ollie

      but now after over 40 years of smoking marijuana (could anyone say the same about 40 years of smoking cigarettes?-I doubt it), I can proudly say that:
      I’m well-educated and professionally advanced

      I’m in outrageously good health and I take no prescription medications

      my biggest health complaints are an occasional sports injury (from which I quickly and completely heal) including this year 10 stitches on my scalp

      my credit score is in the very good range

      even my mother is starting to think that maybe smoking pot isn’t such a bad thing

      It’s ironic that the Republicans like to champion for individual rights so much, especially when it’s the rights of a corporate executive, but when it comes to marijuana and the average worker, it’s big-business brother rules.

    3. Just An Observer says:

      Sometimes with old age comes wisdom but sometimes old age just comes by itself…LOL!

    4. Ben says:

      Well said, Miles. Well said.

      I agree about Bernie,
      but I think Hillary is about as bad as most of the GOP, (notwithstanding Christie, that guy is something else…)

    5. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Looking at the great times in the past are more enjoyable on weed. It may bring back the old laughter while reliving those dreams again, and bringing back memorable friends who have pasted on. I’m going to smoke a lot of weed and enjoy being old.

    6. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Darn I’ve messed up. I meant passed, not pasted.

    7. Voive of the Resistance says:

      That’s right Keith, I’m 59, And have been enjoying weed since age 19. Oh and I am not a spoiled child like like the way prohibition likes to portray pot-heads. I’ve always had to work darn hard for everything.

    8. Ben says:


      Good work, Keith and team NORML.
      And, thanks for the excellent writeups, here,
      by my fellow visitors.

      Regardless of which of the candidates for the presidency
      you side with – I would strongly posit that



      because, clearly, even with legalization being in tax-payer interest,
      and in line with the ideals of
      The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights-


      So, I urge you to reach out and communicate,
      let the leadership/candidates know that THEIR interests of power and authority are significantly impacted by their stance on, and efforts relevant to our right to legally possess, partake, and transact cannabis.

    9. Julian says:

      I just want to look like Willie Nelson when I’m his age…

    10. oldvaper says:

      The smoothness of a good hit from a good vaporizor with glass straw, ceramic bowl, and water filter is pretty dang good too.