Dear baby boomers,
I’m 60 years old and live in Washington state, where cannabis is legal. When I get together socially with my fellow baby boomers, hardly anyone smokes cannabis. Here’s the typical story you hear at these get-togethers:
“I used to smoke pot when I was young. Then I got a real job, got married, had kids. I’d try it every once in a while, but it would make me paranoid. It wasn’t fun any more, so I just stopped.”
It’s worth noting that the person telling such a story usually has a glass of wine in his hand, a telling reminder that he gave up cannabis but has chosen not to abstain from alcohol. These boomers still enjoy altering their consciousness, but despite the increase of successful legalization efforts, they’re staying away from cannabis. Why?
Here are the three reasons I hear most often:
- It’s too strong. A lot of today’s cannabis can have THC levels over 20%, so to a baby boomer that means one hit and you’re baked. Lots of people my age don’t like changing the channel so quickly and so markedly, so to speak.
- It’s a hassle to consume. Boomers aren’t so keen on cannabis stinking up the house nowadays, plus they think the smoke makes your eyes red and your mouth dry.
- It can make you lazy, uncommunicative, and paranoid. Boomers often equate cannabis to something you try when you’re young, but as soon as you’re older and saddled with responsibilities, it feels like something you have to grow out of.
Still, if we’re comparing ways to feed your head, marijuana has some real advantages over alcohol. For example:
- It’s not poison (like alcohol), which means no risk of death or severely adverse health effects from over-consumption;
- It tends to make things like music and art really interesting;
- It can alleviate symptoms of some illnesses or medical conditions.
Of course, none of those advantages overcome their objections (potency; hassle; laziness). But there are ways to address these concerns — for boomers who want to give cannabis another chance, here are some recommendations:
Buy a Vapor (“Vape”) Pen
I’m tempted to just end this article with that sentence. Modern society has made some impressive technological advancements over the past few decades, and a vape pen is one such achievement that’s wonderful in so many ways. It eliminates the hassle of rolling a joint or loading a pipe. (There are two kinds of vapor pens: the kind you can load with cannabis flower material and the kind that has a little cartridge of liquid cannabis concentrate. I like the ones that use concentrate, as for me it means less fussing around). It’s all self-contained, akin to an e-cigarette. Plus, a vape pen is discrete. It pretty much looks like…well, a pen.
The next big advantage is that there’s no fire and, consequently, no smoke. The way a vapor pen works is that it heats a small amount of cannabis concentrate enough to deliver the goods but without producing smoke. Take a puff and exhale an odorless vapor. It’s easier on the lungs, smoke doesn’t get in your eyes, and a hit or two off a vape pen does not get you baked. You’ll feel it, but it’s comparable to the degree of effect you get from a single glass of wine.
Buy the Right Strain of Cannabis Concentrate
A vapor pen consists of two parts that fit together: the electronic heating part and a little cartridge that contains the cannabis concentrate. Any dispensary worth its salt is going to have a choice of cartridges with concentrates derived from different strains of cannabis. As a general rule, strains that are classified as sativa provide a more uplifting, euphoric effect that is great for stimulating conversation, playing Frisbee, or enlivening otherwise mundane chores such as vacuuming the house. Concentrates derived from indica strains are more sedating and good for parking on the couch and doing a Sopranos viewing marathon. Many strains are classified as hybrids, which exhibit varying combinations of effects. The Leafly app or Leafly.com can steer you in the right direction, as can a good budtender at a dispensary.
In short: Use the right strain in a vaporizing pen and you may have reason to reconsider all the objections you held against using cannabis. (And you’ll probably have a good time in the process!)