5 other ways to use medical cannabis and the hottest products for seniors
By David Downs and Jimi Devine
Updated: March 17, 2017
Medical cannabis has advanced far beyond the days of simple raw cannabis buds. With medical legalization and adult-use laws, those raw flowers can be refined into a wide range of different types of products for more targeted therapies.
Specifically, seniors and Baby Boomers are being targeted with a new wave of no-euphoria and low-euphoria medical marijuana products and modalities for age-related medical conditions.
We highlight some of the most popular, widely available, high-quality, award-winning ones and the medical conditions patients are using them for.
Science note: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main therapeutically active ingredient in cannabis and causes euphoria. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most common active molecule in cannabis but it does not cause euphoria. Cannabinol (CBN) is a degraded form of THC, and causes sedation. Lastly, tetrahydrocannabinol-acid (THCa) is the initial 'acid' form of THC, and does not cause euphoria.
A topical is a type of skin cream or ointment like Bengay or Tiger Balm that comes infused with the active ingredients in cannabis.
Won’t cause euphoria; very tame modality for new patients; targets joint and muscle pain and also can treat skin disorders.
Works locally, not throughout the body; can have an aroma; can stain clothing.
Whoopi & Maya Body Balm
Celebrity Whoopi Goldberg has launched a cannabis product line as high-quality as she is high-profile. Whoopi & Maya’s Body Balm is olive oil, avocado seed oil and other ingredients infused with cannabis and designed to be rubbed on the skin, offering relief from aches, pains and cramping.
Sweet ReLeaf — Unscented
Always on the cutting edge of topicals, Bay Area-produced Sweet ReLeaf has been helping patients with aches and localized swelling. Aside from quality, one of the things that pushed them to the top was a much lighter “greasy” feeling than their competitors. Highly recommended for folks with arthritis in their hands.
Om Edibles Lion Balm
Move over Tiger Balm, Lion Balm from the award-winning Om Edibles is the new king of the topical jungle. A mix of beeswax, shea and coco butter-based salve, Lion Balm comes in jars or sticks, and includes essential oils and Thai liniments. Patients report it treats aches, sprains, pain, skin irritations and even headaches.
Foria, based in Los Angeles, offers a game changer for women suffering from genital dryness and pain. The infused coconut oil prelube comes in a spray bottle and promotes relaxation, increased blood flow and lubrication. It also reduces pain and tension, without a head high.
A tincture is a liquid that is infused with cannabis’ active ingredients.
Very approachable for cannabis-averse patients; does not require smoking; faster-acting than eating if held under the tongue.
Can have a funny taste to new patients; slower-acting than inhalation; can be hard to titrate dose.
Alta California Botanicals — Insomnia Relief
Say nighty night to insomnia. Highly trusted, popular tincture brand Alta has an Insomnia formulation that’s 50 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis’ main active ingredient) and 50 percent cannabinol (abbreviated ‘CBN’ another active compound in pot). The THC treats pain, stress and anxiety, while the CBN is highly sedative, all but guaranteeing some sleep. Mildly psychoactive.
Moxie Meds 4:1 CBD:THC
Crafted by a former manager at the award-winning Harborside dispensary in Oakland, Moxie Meds is laser-focused on atypical medical cannabis users like females and seniors. Their “4:1 CBD:THC” tincture has a ratio of four parts cannabidiol (CBD) to one part THC and is very therapeutic for pain and inflammation, without making one as loopy as a pure-THC tincture. The tincture works great in tea, juice or water — but under the tongue works fastest.
Professor Snook’s AC/DC Tincture
The 20:1 CBD tincture from Professor Snook is one of the hidden gems of the Emerald Triangle. With no PR team, the Professor has trudged on for years with his patient-centric approach. His tinctures are available in some of the largest-quantity bottles in California, allowing the sick to save a few bucks buying in bulk. With 20 parts CBD to 1 part THC, there should be no euphoria.
Forest Nymph — Male Libido formula
Award-winning Forest Nymph in Santa Cruz has released a Male Libido formula with THC, CBD and herbal aphrodisiacs including ginseng, TongKat Ali, Damiana, Catuaba. Probably cheaper and safer than Viagra.
A sublingual is like a breath mint or strip designed to be held under the tongue or inside the cheek. The medicine is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the mouth.
Faster than eating cannabis; can be very tightly dosed; very inconspicuous.
Sublinguals can be more expensive; slower-acting than inhalation; not as widely available.
Kiva Petra Mints
One of the best brands in the California market, Kiva, has rolled out these super-chic, super-easy-to-dose mints. Each Petra contains 2.5 milligrams of THC — the perfect starter dose for anyone considering cannabinoid therapy. Each tin contains 42 mints and comes in Moroccan Mint or Eucalyptus flavor.
If low-key daytime dosing is what you’re in need of, look no further than Cheeky Monkey’s breath strip. These medicated strips slide on your tongue and melt away quickly. The flavor isn’t perfect, but the effects make up for it. They’re also one of the most travel-friendly items on the list.
Chong’s Choice THC Strips
Tommy Chong beat back prostate cancer with the help of cannabis and now gives back to patients with a line of breath strips. They’re ultraportable and discreet, with a minty flavor, and each contains 40mg of THC, or four standardized Colorado doses. You can cut the strips in quarters and save the rest in a resealable package.
An edible is a food or beverage that has been infused with the active ingredients in cannabis.
It’s not smoked; edibles last longer and treat body pain; edibles can be very sedative.
It is very easy to overmedicate with edibles; edibles take a long time to kick in, up to two hours; edibles can vary in potency and some are very strong.
Auntie Dolores Savory Pretzels
In the fast-paced cannabis industry, one can easily forget Oakland’s Auntie Dolores is one of the original artisan edible companies, hitting the mark on flavor, potency and packaging, not to mention it’s all super high-end ingredients. Their Savory Pretzels are vegan and sugar-free, with 12 doses (10mg/dose) per container. Their Chili Lime Peanuts are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Savory Pretzels are also available in CBD-only variety.
Om Edibles — CBD Miso Soup Broth
Hot edibles can be tough, hence the lack of famous hot chocolate companies on this list, but Om Edibles does not mess around. Their medicated incarnation of miso soup launched at the 2016 Emerald Cup will make you think you’re waiting for the headiest sushi of your life. Patients eat it raw or use it in soup to manage nausea and irritable bowel disease.
Whoopi & Maya — Raw Cacao Spread
Also from Whoopi & Maya, this vegan PMS-relieving chocolate spread has made big waves since it hit Bay Area store shelves last year. Raw cacao is a superfood. Though you’ll feel like you’re eating a jar of chocolate frosting with weed in it, it’s actually way better than that for you.
Kiva Blueberry Terra Bites
Award-winning Bay Area Brand Kiva continues to earn fans with their BlueBerry Terra Bites. They’re milk chocolate-covered blueberries, with 5mg THC per berry. Just one berry is a great way to manage dosing. They’re extremely high quality and tasty with patients reporting they can treat chronic body pain.
Americann CBD+ Gummi Cares
If diabetes is not an issue, a spoonful of sugar and gelatin can still help the medicine go down. Americann offers some highly reputable and widely available gummies rich in CBD. Each comes with 29mg of CBD and 8mg of THC in a fruit-flavored sugar and gelatin base.
JollyMeds Strawberry CBD Hard Candy
Hard candy is a great modality for older folks put off by newer forms of medicine. Each JollyMeds Strawberry CBD Hard Candy contains 7.5mg CBD and 0.75mg THC for a noneuphoric effect. JollyMeds comes in multiple flavors and both high-CBD and high-THC varieties.
A vape pen is a small, battery-powered, handheld inhaler that works with cannabis extracts.
Vape pens make vapor, not smoke; it’s very easy to dose with a vape pen; effects come on in seconds.
Vape pens require inhalation, which can be off-putting to some; cannabis vapor might be banned in certain facilities; vape pens can require some lessons to learn how to use, or special refill cartridges.
Care By Design and AbsoluteXtracts Cartridges
The Bay Area’s best-in-class extract company, Care By Design, carries vape pens that range from no-euphoria 18:1 CBD pens to 1:1 CBD:THC pens capable of causing a buzz. Their high-THC brand, AbsoluteXtracts, come in strain-specific cartridges like Royal Kush for sleep and Green Dragon for energetic daytime effects.
Gold Drop Cartridges
The vape pen market is broad, but Gold Drop always has a seat at the table when the inevitable “Best Of” conversations are had. In particular, keep an eye out for the the flavorful sativa batches and any collaborations they do with Blue River Extracts, which won the 2016 Emerald Cup.
Time magazine award-winning hmbldt has reset the bar for vape pen design and usability with its line of disposable pens based around effects. The hmbldt “sleep” pen is 8:1 THC to CBD with sleep-promoting terpene blend. Each chic, inconspicuous pen is super-simple to use and comes with more than 200 doses at 2.25mg per dose.
Mary's Nutritionals — Transdermal Patch
We've all seen nicotine patches, but medical marijuana patches? Mary's Medicinals started in Colorado and have brought their award-winning products out West, including their Transdermal Patch line. They come in a single dose pack of 10mg, or 20mg, either as CBN, CBN, THCa, or 1:1 CBD:THC. You can also cut up these patches and save the remainder to limit your dose.
Care By Design 18:1 CBD:THC Soft Gels
Seniors are familiar with health supplements and will love these cannabis and coconut oil gel caps. Each jar contains 24 gel caps, with 10mg CBD each and very little THC, so there's no euphoria. Also available in 1:1 CBD:THC for more pain-relieving effects.
KindCaps CBD Enriched
Longtime California brand KindCaps offers cannabis capsules five ways, including euphoric sativa and indica types, CBD-enriched, as well as AM/PM ands Minis — which are half the size for those with lower tolerances. Each capsule is filled with a dark green activated cannabis extract.
Cannabis sans frontieres.
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