Baby Boomers and Cannabis Edibles - Top Products
The top cannabis products succeeding among baby boomers are flowers for smoking, CBD products, edibles, capsules/pills, tinctures, oils, and topical creams and gels. The most popular brand of cannabis products in Washington among baby boomers is Phat Panda, but other brands mentioned across the United States include Blue Dream, Bubba Kush, Cresco, Terrapin Whole Flower, Chill, and Stratos. Below is a deeper look at our findings.
- Of non-medical cannabis products, 67% of consumers in the age bracket of 54-75 purchased cannabis flowers.
- The most popular flower purchased by baby boomers is hybrid, at 61%.
- The second- and third-most popular flowers purchased by baby boomers are "shake and trim" and sativa, both at 19%.
- Of non-medical cannabis products, consumers in the age bracket of 54-75, 8% purchased pre-rolled cannabis for smoking.
- Older seniors who use cannabis recreationally and only "partake a few times a year or less," prefer to smoke joints and will typically not consider any form other than flower.
- Shari Horne, age 66, "smokes 'a few hits' of a cannabis brand called Blue Dream to help her relax after dinner.
- Catherine McCormick, age 53, was able to wean herself off of high doses of ibuprofen, oxycodone, benzodiazepines, and an antidepressant that she was taking to alleviate pain after knee replacement surgery by smoking cannabis instead.
- An anonymous 71-year-old attorney in Los Angeles smokes the cannabis strain known as Bubba Kush to ease the pain and insomnia from "polymyalgia rheumatica, an inflammatory autoimmune disease."
- Bob, an anonymous 71-year-old in East Bay, San Francisco, suffers from a prostate ailment that forces him to get up several times a night to go to the bathroom. When he can't fall asleep again right away, he takes "a couple hits of cannabis and get[s] back to sleep."
- Mark Dresnin, 71, smokes Cresco dry leaf during the day to "get a lift" and Terrapin Whole Flower at night to help him fall asleep.
- The 2018 "State of Cannabis" report shows that among baby boomers, "CBD [was] the breakout star of the year" and "baby boomers are the most common CBD enthusiasts of all age groups (8.4% in 2018)."
- The 2018 "State of Cannabis" report also found that "baby boomers [are] driving growth by using CBD for anxiety, sleep, and pain relief.
- Of Leber's clientele, senior women are "particularly interested in CBD medicines."
- According to Eaze Insight's 2018 "State of Cannabis," boomer women are responsible for 21% of CBD purchases.
- Products that contain CBD rather than THC are popular among senior citizens, especially when they first try cannabis products because they "don't want to get high." Other seniors have said, "If I could get the medical benefit from the plant without the high, I’d consider it."
- Dr. Joseph Cohen, a 71-year-old who founded Holos Health in Colorado, "recommends CBD for age-related diseases, such as Parkinson’s, dementia, osteoarthritis, and chronic inflammation."
- Dr. Cohen, who is a member of the baby boomer generation, also uses CBD products to "make sure [he] stay[s] calm" before his presentations.
- Bob Leber, a baby boomer founder of Golden Angels Seniors Collective, a delivery service for medical cannabis that primarily serves senior citizens in California, stated that "his senior patient base leans heavily towards CBD-rich strains and products."
- Nancy Giacobbe, a 61-year-old in California, "uses topical CBD for her arthritis, which has the potential to severely hinder her work as an aesthetician because she uses her hands every day."
- Sixty-five-year-old Terry Huffman in Colorado has used CBD products since he "hurt [his] knee a couple years ago" and it "took the pain right out of [his] knee."
- Rabi Ahmed, owner of Smokers Plus in Ohio, stated, "Senior citizens mostly buy the CBD. The young kids, they don’t buy CBD at all."
- Of non-medical cannabis products, consumers in the age bracket of 54-75, 6% purchased edibles.
- Jim Lebowitz, a 75-year-old, prefers to eat his cannabis. During a recent trip to a dispensary he said, "I got chocolate and I got gummies... Never had the chocolate before, but I've had the gummies and they worked pretty good."
- The products Lebowitz purchased contained both CBD and THC, "two active ingredients in marijuana."
- Ron Atkin, who is 76 and just outside the boomer age range by a single year, prefers "cannabis-infused chocolate bars" to treat the pain from his spinal stenosis.
- Adele Frascella, age 70, prefers to eat cannabis-infused gummy bears to "keep her arthritic pain at bay" and because she does not want to take opioids.
- When Frascella began using cannabis again after a long hiatus, she invested in a "'volcano', a pricey, high-tech version of the old-fashioned bong;" however, "like many other seniors, she prefers edibles to smoking."
- Dick Watts, age 75, eats a small sliver of cannabis-infused chocolate before bed to help him sleep. He notes that he "wakes up clear-headed and refreshed."
- At age 71, Ethan Nadelmann finds edibles "profoundly enjoyable."
- Barbara Blaser uses 5 mg of an edible along with 5 mg of a tincture to help her sleep.
- Dr. Vanessa Niles consumes "an edible that’s about 25 to 50 mg" along with a tincture to overcome sleep issues.
- Renee Scherer, 65, uses cannabis-infused edibles to ease her pain associated with a "nerve condition that’s left her with 54 screws in her back, a plate in her neck and the need to use a cane when walking."
- Fifty-nine-year-old Brian Grode also enjoys cannabis-infused chocolates to help with back pain.
- John Northrop, a 74-year-old in California, prefers to eat two squares of a "cannabis-infused dark chocolate Chill bar" every evening to help him sleep.
- In a study conducted on 150 seniors with an average age between 61 and 70 who used medical marijuana for pain, 28% "used a medical marijuana pill."
- Jim Levy, along with the topical cream he uses, also "ingests cannabis gelatin capsules and lozenges." According to Levy, the combination of products "gets rid of 90 percent of the pain."
- Sara Suter, a quadriplegic baby boomer in Colorado, "suffers from spinal cord neuropathy, rotator cuff pain and tendonitis" and found that "taking cannabis in the pill" relaxes her and provides an effective alternative to Tylenol and opioids.
- Harold Pearman, who only reveals he is "60-something", takes Stratos brand cannabis pills to help treat his renal cell carcinoma.
- Pearman's wife, Debbie, also 60-something, takes Stratos cannabis pills to ease her anxiety and help her sleep.
- According to Ryan Smith, chief operating officer of Cure Pennsylvania, a company that runs three dispensaries in the state, "Traditionally, pills have been a very popular form of medical marijuana, for seniors in particular."
- Helen Narke, a baby boomer (exact age unknown), "takes medical marijuana capsules throughout the day — one in the morning, a second around 2 p.m. and a third before bed."
- Shari Horne, a 66-year-old living in California, uses a "tincture of cannabidiol mixed with T.H.C., the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis" to ease bursitis in her shoulder.
- Joy Kavianian, a 55-year-old in Laguna Woods, California who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, uses a tincture to "reduce her right-side tremors" for four hours so she is able to craft ceramics.
- Ron Atkin, age 76 (again, just one year older than the oldest baby boomer), also uses cannabis sublingual drops (tincture) to help ease the pain from his spinal stenosis "since the prescription opiates he had been taking quit working."
- Sue Taylor, age 61, "uses small doses of a tincture that’s high in CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, and low in THC" to help her sleep through the night.
- Barbara Blaser, a 71-year-old registered nurse who assists seniors in choosing cannabis products, often recommends they use the same treatment she uses for herself to combat "anxiety-induced insomnia," which is "a 5-mg dose of 18:1 CBD-THC tincture" in addition to 5 milligrams of an edible.
- Dr. Vanessa Niles, age 61, takes a "tincture that’s a combination CBD and THC, a 1:1 ratio" along with an edible to treat her sleep issues.
- Of non-medical cannabis products, 8% of consumers in the age bracket of 54-75 purchased vape pens.
- Of non-medical cannabis products, 6% of consumers in the age bracket of 54-75 purchased concentrated cannabis oil for vaping.
- In a study of 150 baby boomers ranging in age from 61 to 70, 45% "used a vaporized oil in an e-cigarette device."
- An unnamed baby boomer from Boulder, Colorado makes her own CBD oil to ease anxiety, and when she shared it with her baby boomer friends, some reported relief from acid reflux and arthritis. However, about 40% said they felt no effect.
- Kay Nelson, 75, "uses a vaporizer and oils" to "ease her chronic back pain."
Topical Creams and gels
- Jim Levy, age 71, uses a topical cream infused with cannabis to ease the pain from a "pinched nerve that shoots pain down both his legs."
- A senior citizen at Balfour Senior Living Center in California uses "[marijuana] topically" for his inflammatory arthritis.
- Brian Grode, age 59, uses "topical gels to ease his osteoarthritis and the degenerative disc in his back."
- Kirsten Barbers, manager at Vela Cannabis in Seattle says that in her cannabis dispensary "most seniors go to topical products."
- Mark Dresnin, a 71-year-old in Philadelphia, uses topical cannabis creams to "relieve pain caused by arthritis and glaucoma."
Top brands for seniors
- Based on "real-time sales reporting by participating Washington State cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems," Headset determined the following non-medical cannabis products to be most popular among baby boomers:
- Phat Panda
- Northwest Cannabis Solutions
- Artizen Cannabis
- Fireline Cannabis
- Mt. Baker Homegrown
- Golden Tree Productions
- Buddy Boy Farms
- Ethos Innovates
- From the Soil
- Note that Phat Panda is also the top non-medical cannabis products for gen Xers and millennials; however, the silent generation (age 76+) prefer Project M the best.
Our research began by identifying the age group for baby boomers. Using information from Kasasa on generation breakdowns by age, we established that baby boomers are currently between the ages of 55 and 75, as they were born between 1944 and 1964. While most information in our brief relates to this age group, we did include data from one person who is 76 because he was so close to the age cut-off.
To identify the 7-10 of the top cannabis products currently in high demand among baby boomers, we first began our search with official surveys and studies. We found a 2017 study from Headset that showed exactly what types of cannabis products baby boomers are buying, which were primarily flowers at 67%. This data also showed statistics for how many baby boomers purchased edibles, oil, and vape pens, but these were all significantly smaller percentages than flowers. Therefore, we assumed that flowers (and by extension, smoking) are the most popular cannabis products among baby boomers. We do note that flowers can be used in other ways besides smoking, but our research indicated that smoking is the primary ingestion method for flowers.
In addition, we were able to identify the top 10 cannabis brands purchased by baby boomers in Washington, which were provided as additional findings. This study provided us with hard data, but it did not allow us to identify at least five products. In addition, the study was limited to cannabis consumers in Washington, so while we found the data useful and included it in our findings, we did not feel it fully represented the baby boomer cannabis-buying demographic. Note that we had to register with Headset to download this study, so it is not fully accessible without registration. Therefore, we provided screenshots of the data contained in the study.
We found a second study conducted in 2018 by Eaze that found that baby boomers were the number one demographic for purchasing CBD products at 8.4%. This study was much larger (pulled from "Eaze’s database of 450,000 cannabis consumers" and survey data from 4,000 participants), so we determined that CBD products are also very popular among baby boomers, and with female boomers in particular. This became our second-most popular category because edibles were only consumed by 6% of baby boomers according to the Headset study. However, it is important to note that the Headset study was conducted a year earlier than the Eaze study, which means the percentage of baby boomers consuming edibles might also have increased.
A third study conducted by Dr. Diana Martins-Welch on 150 medical cannabis patients who received their products from New York or Minnesota dispensaries provided some hard data on how many baby boomers use cannabis pills and oil for vaping. We included these results in our findings, but the sample size was so small that we did not use these percentages to rank the products. We found later that both pills and oil are further down on the preference list for most baby boomers than this study would indicate.
At this point, we only had hard data for four categories (flowers, CBD products, edibles, and oil), and the data was limited for edibles and oil. However, despite searching through additional cannabis research companies like the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, Leafly, and the Journal of Cannabis Research, among others, we were unable to find recent studies on which cannabis products are succeeding among baby boomers. Most of this research was on the effects of cannabis on the body and mind. There was an older NCBI study from 2015 that may have offered some insights into what types of cannabis products seniors use to relieve pain, but we deemed it too old given that baby boomers have been identified as the fastest-growing demographic for cannabis use. This indicates that preferences have likely changed since that study was conducted.
In an effort to find more data to supplement our current findings and identify three more popular cannabis categories among baby boomers, we switched gears and began looking for case studies and examples of baby boomers who are actively using cannabis to take an unofficial survey of the products that are succeeding with this age group. This was much more successful, as we found numerous media articles and cannabis-industry blogs that highlighted specific baby boomers and their cannabis product preferences. We collected the anecdotal evidence from more than 20 sources and, based on the number of times products were mentioned by baby boomers as items they currently use, ranked them to determine the top seven.
Despite extensive searching through surveys, studies, case studies, and media articles, we were unable to identify actual brands that are most popular among baby boomers. We did find the top 10 most popular brands among this age group in Washington, which again, we included as relevant findings, but there were no brands repeated among active cannabis users in the rest of the country to provide us with clear favorites. We also attempted to triangulate this information by researching cannabis sales data to determine the most popular brands of cannabis among baby boomers, but all data found was aggregated across all age groups, with no way to break down the sales by generation. We could also find the average "basket size" for baby boomers and the percentage of this generation that is using cannabis, but individual products were elusive.
As a third attempt to find actual brands that are most popular among baby boomers, we looked for directly available data from cannabis companies with the hope of finding lists of best-selling brands for this generation. We found many lists, but all were based on recommendations rather than actual sales. Thus, there was no way to determine if these companies were recommending these products based on what is in demand or for marketing reasons. It is interesting to note that both products mentioned in the research criteria (Whoopi and Maya and Kiva Confections) were often recommended as products for seniors and other consumers.
Note that the primary use for cannabis among baby boomers is for medicinal purposes. Therefore, most of our results are based on medical cannabis products. We assumed that these products would be most in demand because of the various ailments this age group is seeking to treat. After extensive research, we have determined that medicinal cannabis products in various forms are the products succeeding most among baby boomers, but in states where recreational cannabis is legal, the most popular products among baby boomers seem to parallel those purchased by baby boomers in states where only medical cannabis is legal.