In this episode, we share tips and stories to help you start the conversation and support seniors who are open to weed as an alternative to prescription meds.
Host & co-creator: April Pride
Co-creator: Ellen Lee Scanlon
Producer: Nick Patri
Marketing manager: Madi Fair
April Pride: This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: We’ve had a woman in her seventies, and she has fibromyalgia, which is notoriously difficult to treat. And so she was on opioids and some of the other antidepressants to try to manage fibromyalgia and was feeling crummy on them, started using cannabis. She uses a daily tincture, just sort of as like a baseline method, and then a vaporizer as needed for pain. And she’s eliminated her other medications. And she’s out there doing marathons and running regularly.
April Pride: Welcome to The Pot Talk. We hope you love our podcast, How to Do the Pot. So, what is the pot talk? Well, when cannabis was declared an essential service during the lockdowns for COVID-19 in March of 2020, the national conversation around the plant shifted from stigma to solving real problems related to stress, sleep, and mental health. If you’re one of the many women who has found relief with cannabis during this time, we’re here to help because what does come next after cannabis has been deemed essential medicine for millions of Americans.
April Pride: If you’ve listened to the show for a while. You no doubt recognize the voice you just heard. Dr. Jessica Knox, a Harvard trained physician who practices cannabinoid medicine and co-founder of the American Cannabinoid Clinics. We hear a lot of stories like this, which is why we’re excited to share what we’ve learned with you. From Saturday Strains to our High-Five series, we get into the weeds to answer the top pot questions we get from women with practical and tactical information that we try to make fun, because for all of our calls for research and attempts to bring teaching to pot, we get the irony. It’s the name of this show. I mean, are you kidding me? Who wants to have to learn how to have fun? Where is the fun in that? Well, it turns out a lot if you are hosting a weed podcast. So enjoy The Pot Talk series.
April Pride: It’s, well, consider it our next handbook series, like a City Guide Collection from Louis Vuitton or Wallpaper or Goop, but for weed. In The Pot Talk, we’ll share stories about these top of mind topics. Last week, we gave you every way possible to help a friend do the pot already. In the coming weeks, we’ll talk about a friend who you think smokes too much weed. Looks for the nuances of having a sober partner who is off the weed for work or to work the steps. Plus, we’ll talk about teens and vaping, but today we’re talking about boomers. Your favorite boomer, who is unfortunately probably prescribed too many pills. And perhaps they’re one of the two-thirds of Americans that think cannabis should be legal.
April Pride: So have you had the pot talk with your parents? Our best advice is to keep it basic. Mom and dad typically want to know if it’s legal if CBD is the same as weed and whether they need to get high to feel better. In this year of challenging conversations to why should you delve into this particular topic? Today, 15% of the US population is 65 and over. But by 2030, over half the US population will be 65 plus. This phenomenon is known as the silver tsunami, and currently, Americans 65 and over are prescribed over one-third of all prescription drugs.
April Pride: So it should come as no surprise that this generation is increasingly suffering from opioid use disorder. Do you see where this is going? So a smart way to curb this trend is to support seniors who are open to weed as an alternative to prescription meds. Are you a little nervous to talk about weed with your parents? If so, you’re not alone. Shonitria Anthony runs a successful cannabis lifestyle brand and hosts a podcast called Blunt Blowin’ Mama. And she didn’t even tell her mom until she was about 60 episodes in.
Shonitria Anthony, Blunt Blowin’ Mama: I was really afraid to tell her because my mom is Christian Baptist woman born and raised in Mississippi. It doesn’t really get any more Southern than being born and raised in Mississippi. And she lives in Georgia now, and my mom does not smoke. My mom does not drink. My stepfather is Nigerian. He is Muslim. He really does not smoke or drink. And I think that my parents, for a lot of parents, but especially black and brown parents, they really just want to know that you’re not fucking up your career or your life.
Shonitria Anthony, Blunt Blowin’ Mama: So then she’s like, “What is this thing again? Just explain it to me, just explain it to me.” I’m like, “Mommy, it’s just a podcast. And I talked to people who are women in the industry and moms and how cannabis helps them. And it’s not bad, mommy.” And she’s like, “Okay, well I will never do that, you know. But I support you, and I trust your judgment.” And even better. She told me the next time she sees me she wants to wear one of my sweatshirts. She was like, “I don’t do it. I don’t really believe in that, but I’ll support you. So give me a sweatshirt, and I’ll wear it around the house.” That was the best part. And I think it’s just breaking down to people and really helping them to understand that this plant is not bad.
April Pride: However you decide to share your own consumption story with your parents. Tackling the conversation with compassion is key.
Shonitria Anthony, Blunt Blowin’ Mama: Be gentle and understand there’s a lot of unlearning that they have to do, just much like myself. I had to kind of really learn and unlearn some things. Kudos to you, Nancy Reagan, with your war on drugs. And just say, “No bitch, you are brilliant.” That was the most brilliant campaign.
April Pride: Sandra Guynes, AKA the Kush Nurse, is an RN with over 15 years of experience and a former military spouse living in California. She has dedicated her nursing practice to helping people medicate with cannabis. And she works with a lot of seniors interested in doing the pot.
Sandra Guynes, The Kush Nurse: So I’ll start with seniors, which I love. And so I live in a retirement community. So when we were looking for houses, we ended up here. There’s literally everybody in my neighborhood is retired, and I am now the joint lady. Everyone comes over to me for their joints. And when I say joints, it’s not the ones you smoke. It’s the ones on your body.
April Pride: A big part of the pot talk with your parents is knowing what physical or mental challenges they may be facing. What meds are they on? And for what?
Sandra Guynes, The Kush Nurse: Some 65-year-olds. Yeah. They’re managing their conditions as well. Some 65-year-olds are not. So it just really depends. If I get a child referring their parents. I always ask them, what are they able to do for themselves? And how are they managing their condition? But I definitely will say that topicals is definitely like that. That’s the doorway to access. That’s where everyone comes. They’re like, “Can I have a balm, or can I have a lotion?”. I feel like the 65 and older would rather apply it or smoke it. It’s the weirdest thing, right, because smoking is so familiar to them.
Sandra Guynes, The Kush Nurse: Because remember, this is like the marble man era. It is surprising to me because I have clients who are literally on their social security check. First of the month, they’re like, “I’m ordering flower.” Okay [inaudible 00:07:17]. And I’m like, “Get it, girl.” But weirdly enough, I do like inhaled medicine for seniors because the time frame is short. And if they’re forgetful or if they have any kind of side effects, it will be short-lived because it’s inhaled. So it’ll be two hours or something like that, as opposed to edibles or tinctures and things like that.
April Pride: Getting a good night’s rest can be challenging for older adults. I am an older adult if that is the case. And they are seeking out advice. Yes, we are, on how to best use cannabis to improve their sleep. We recommend listening to our episodes about sleep. It’s a complicated topic that will probably require some experimentation to find what works best.
Sandra Guynes, The Kush Nurse: With seniors, lifestyle is everything. If you have a senior that’s going to the casino and going over here and walking their dog and active. They may get CBD during the day. And they may wear themselves out to the point they can go to sleep because their lifestyle has improved. But if you have somebody who’s sedentary and they’re not getting out as much. And then they’re struggling to sleep, for whatever reason they’re struggling to sleep, they might need to add that THC at night. Some people will take a small dose, and it does everything for them. And some need a higher dose. I always say your mood may vary, and we kind of play around with it until you find your happy place.
April Pride: Rosie Mattio, the founder of PR firm Mattio Communications, found that sleep was a way back to cannabis after many, many years for her mom.
Rosie Mattio, Mattio Communications: She’s a child of the sixties, so [inaudible 00:08:55]. So she consumed back in the day, but even not that much. But now she has hip pain. She also has trouble sleeping. And it’s funny that she’ll come over.”What do you have?” And so she had not had any cannabis probably in 40 years, probably. And then, a few weeks ago, she was over complaining. I just got into the macaroons, and I was like, “Take these home, mom. She’s like, “When do I take them?” So she took it the night, texted me being like, “I don’t really feel anything, but tastes delicious.”
Rosie Mattio, Mattio Communications: And then the next morning, I got a text from her saying, “I had the best sleep of my life,” which is awesome. It’s awesome. She’s like, “I feel amazing today.” She had no trouble getting up in the morning after having the macaroons. The next time she came over, she was like, “What do you got for me?” I’m like, “Hey, I’m going to have to share this with you now.” But it’s great. And I love that she’s using it as an option.
April Pride: But Rosie’s dad during cancer treatment. He wasn’t as open to the plant.
Rosie Mattio, Mattio Communications: And my dad, who had cancer last year. Thankfully he’s in remission. He’s doing great. When he had the nausea and the pain, I tried to get him to try cannabis. But somebody who is… that generation, they really rely on what your doctor says. Doctor said, “Take this medication, this for nausea.” So he was very hesitant to try cannabis. I never got him to do it. And he just never tried it. So I would have loved for that to have been an option for him, but everyone makes their own choices.
April Pride: Dr. Jess sees a lot of seniors in her practice, and we asked her why they come in.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: For seniors, I think the reason that they come to us and the reason they’re seeking cannabis is often the same as non-seniors, I guess. Most commonly, they’re trying to address pain. They’re also trying to address mental health concerns, whether that’s anxiety or depression, right. A lot of times, they might be lonely. Their own friends or family might have passed away. They have, sometimes, neurocognitive decline. Cancer is more common amongst our seniors. So, these are all reasons that we… that senior patients will come to us seeking the use of cannabis. And we often see really great effects. And what is a great effect? It’s improvement in their symptoms, reduction in pain, improved sleep. Reduction in their feelings of anxiety or depression.
April Pride: Questions about current prescriptions and drug interactions will probably come up when you talk with your parents.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: We have had many patients who have a laundry list of medications. It’s an unfortunate phenomenon, at least in our country, that it seems like the older you get, the longer your list of medications gets. And often, those medications interact with one another. Many of the medications that older folks get can make them feel tired, or fatigued, or flattened. And they just don’t feel like themselves. And so we’ve had a lot of patients who have successfully reduced their other medication burden using cannabis, which that in itself is fantastic, right. Reducing the number of meds you have to take. On a physical level, I don’t have to take as many pills. But also on a mental level because you’re cutting out stuff by reducing the possibility for interactions. The primary drug interactions that we are concerned with as it relates to cannabis are due to CBD.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: So CBD, along with many, many, many of the pharmaceutical drugs that are out there. Are metabolized through the cytochrome P450 system in the liver. And what we know that CBD can do is it can sort of bind up that enzyme that is responsible for breaking down other medicines. And what that means is if CBD is in the system and blocking up this enzyme, other medicines in the system can start to sort of build-up and theoretically, right, depending on the medicine, can cause toxicity because the drug levels are building up and up and up. Clinically, we haven’t seen a lot of this, so right. It’s when we’re taking care of patients in the clinic. We haven’t seen a lot of drug interactions issues.
April Pride: Dr. Jess does see patients receiving unexpected positive benefits from cannabis.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: What’s nice about cannabis as an addition to it often improving the symptom you’re trying to treat, whether that’s pain or sleep. It’s often helping people boost their mood or feel a little bit better or feel a little bit more social. And so, we like to talk a lot about the side benefits of cannabis. And so all that means is that you can address your pain, but maybe you can also just have a little bit of a lighter effect while you’re doing that.
April Pride: We get a lot of questions about whether cannabis can help patients with Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: The information is incomplete, as it is, I think probably with most conditions. But we know that cannabis can help reduce neuroinflammation, which is really important in not only Alzheimer’s but in other diseases of neurocognitive decline. We still have a lot of work to do as far as understanding the exact effects of cannabis for things like Alzheimer’s. But in general, reducing inflammation is going to be good. It’s going to be helpful for the brain. Often, we’re going to see a lot of mood enhancement for people, whether they have Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s or Parkinson’s or whatever it may be.
Dr. Jessica Knox, American Cannabinoid Clinics: For a lot of those people, a depressed or flat mood is one of the very distressing components for them. So, yes, there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done. But we do see a number of patients that have those sorts of neurological diseases. Who are seeking cannabis as a form of treatment. There’s no harm that can come about from trying to apply cannabis for those conditions. And for any given individual, it might do a lot of good. So I think it’s worth trying.
April Pride: And for today’s high-five. A Q&A so mom and dad feel comfortable saying yes to the pot. Number one, is cannabis legal? CBD grown from the hemp plant is legal in all 50 states. If you can buy CBD online, it’s derived from hemp, which is a cousin to a pot plant. To walk into a dispensary and buy products with THC, you must live in the one of the 14 states plus the District of Columbia that allow for recreational use. There are 35 states that allow for medical use, which means you need to qualify for a medical condition and get a medical cannabis card. In October of 2018, Canada became the first G7 country to legalize cannabis nationally.
April Pride: Number two, will CBD get me high? No, CBD will not cause any feelings of intoxication or high. For hemp-derived CBD, the kind you can buy online. The US government requires the hemp plant to have less than 0.3% THC. Buy the best quality product you can. And with all CBD, be sure to use it consistently for two weeks to feel the effects.
April Pride: Number three, do I need THC or CBD? This is where we have to remind you that cannabis requires some experimentation. CBD is amazing at reducing inflammation. So it will help with muscle aches, arthritis, bursitis, and other pain related to inflammation. THC helps with acute pain relief by telling the brain, “It’s okay. Let’s not process that pain signal with the same pulsing intensity.” Migraines and postop pain usually require higher levels of THC for pain relief. For sleep issues, cannabis can help replace the prescription or over-the-counter sleep AIDS that have attracted controversy for being habit-forming. THC helps you fall asleep, and CBD keeps you asleep all night. Teas oil, tinctures, or gel caps are all low-stress ways to start mom and dad out with weed for better sleep.
April Pride: Number four, will cannabis interact with my prescriptions? Any medication labeled do not consume with grapefruit is a red flag to avoid weed. These are usually blood pressure meds, and cannabis will affect your blood pressure. A huge challenge facing cannabis is the lack of testing due to its status as a schedule one drug. Talk to your doctor or a physician that specializes in cannabis medicine at American cannabinoid clinics. Number five, is cannabis really worth trying? How many prescriptions do your parents take? Would a topical balm work instead of another pain pill or a THC infused tea instead of ambient before bed? Credible studies and promising patient stories show that an opiate dosage can be reduced by half when used in combination with cannabis. And 50% of women who try cannabis are able to reduce or completely stop their prescription meds for everything from migraines to period pain to anti-anxiety meds.
April Pride: We hope this pot talk has offered you some ideas for how to talk to your parents about weed. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. And if you have a conversation, we would love to hear how it goes. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone and please rate and review us on Apple Podcast. It definitely helps more people find our show. Thank you for listening to The Pot Talk. Find us on Instagram @dothepot, and you can follow me @aprilpride. And for lots more information about cannabis and women visit dothepot.com. Thanks to my co-founder Ellen Scanlon, Madi Fair, our marketing manager, and our producer, Nick Patri. I’m April Pride and we’ll be back soon with more of How To Do The Pot.
So you must be legal, too. Age 21+ invited to continue.