(This article was originally published in CBD Journal and is reprinted here with permission.)
Too often dismissed as out of touch by dispensaries and other CBD retail outlets, senior citizens are quickly showing themselves to be an untapped demographic in the ever-growing CBD market. In fact, older Americans are an ideal target group for a product with the healing potential of CBD, and with prescription medication costs on the rise, they are ripe for suggestion as well. To attract seniors, retail outlets and dispensaries that sell CBD will need to learn how to both communicate and educate this burgeoning demographic on the myths and facts about this fantastic all-natural solution.
Why More Seniors Are Taking CBD
Of course, it is no secret that as people age their bodies begin to become more fragile. Senior citizens across the country suffer from any number of ailments, from muscle aches and pains to painful joints, to restless nights. From there, the problems may only be worse. A myriad of doctor’s appointments and a medicine cabinet full of expensive prescriptions are likely to follow most Americans into old age. It is an unfortunate, but natural part of the aging cycle.
Though the numbers are small, reports of seniors using CBD as a replacement for traditional prescription medications have grown over the years. Healthline.com reported recently that the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows use of marijuana products by seniors, including CBD, climbed 250 percent between 2006 and 2013. Pain was the number one reason people reported trying cannabis products for medical reasons.
CBD, which comes from either marijuana or hemp extracts and does not give the user a high feeling, or feeling of euphoria when taken, is helping seniors overcome all kinds of debilitating pain. Healthline.com reported the story of one older woman who found relief in CBD not only from an old injury but from the Crohn’s disease she suffered from her whole life. As many seniors are on a fixed income, this woman praised the drugs affordability as well as its healing properties.
In another instance, many seniors are using CBD to help them go to sleep. Restlessness is one of the most prominent complaints among older Americans to their doctors. Leafly recently reported that some older Americans are discovering CBD later in life and they are extolling its benefits.
Communication and Education
Still, with all of the excitement surrounding seniors and the use of CBD, much more are afraid to try it or are turned off by the “culture” surrounding it. Marijuana Business Magazine writes about many seniors having less than welcoming experiences walking into dispensaries when trying to purchase CBD. They find themselves confronted by college-age “stoners” who are all too eager to help them “get baked” when all they are looking for is some relief from what ails them.
The site relayed the story of Bob Leber, a senior citizen in just such a predicament who ended up developing some advice for dealing with seniors.
“The number one thing for seniors is being able to educate them,” Leber said to Marijuana Business Magazine. “There’s a huge educational process at the beginning, and this lowers their anxiety and their apprehension.”
Communication and education are the keys to bringing in the senior demographic and letting them know about the benefits of CBD. Many older Americans are worried that CBD is the same thing as smoking a joint and “getting high” and retailers need to dispel those myths. Making seniors feel comfortable when purchasing CBD and listening to them about their preferences are two essential aspects to opening the door to this new demographic.
Older Americans are ready and willing to try CBD, as long as retailers don’t scare them off. Strong communication and education, and a welcoming atmosphere are the key ingredients to targeting this group and opening up a whole new sales channel.