I recently watched the excellent and highly recommended Netflix documentary “Grass is Greener.” Along with a powerful social justice message, the film also features a lot of young men smoking copious amounts of weed. These youthful uber-consumers, with their endocannabinoid systems steeped in THC, have traditionally been the main drivers of the cannabis market. But as the industry goes mainstream, an increasingly diverse cannabis consumer population implies different needs and expectations.
For adults over 50, cannabis can switch out for a glass of wine in the evening. But older adults are just as likely to be using it as an alternative to the drugs that aren’t helping them cope with the common ills of aging. In either case, older adults generally have a lower tolerance for THC than the market is used to, and this creates a demand for low-dose products.
Edibles are tricky
Older adults choose cannabis-infused edibles such as gummies or other confections because they are discreet, comfortable to administer and in many cases the dose can be easy to control. But finding the appropriate dosage of an edible, particularly for older adults, can be tricky. The case of a 70-year-old Canadian man with heart disease who experienced a heart attack after eating a cannabis lollypop is a rare but sobering cautionary tale.
A safe dose for seniors
The laws governing what is a standard dose of THC for an edible vary from state to state. In Colorado, for example, the definition of one edible dose is 10 mg. of THC. In Oregon, edibles must be divisible into 5 mg. servings. And in general, 5 mg. of THC is considered a low dose for an edible.
But for many older adults, 5 mg. of THC can be too high a dose, particularly for the cannabis naïve.
When using cannabis strictly for medicinal purposes under the guidance of a cannabis physician, it is possible to experience benefits from microdoses of THC, without any intoxication. Especially if some psychoactivity is tolerated or appreciated, 2.5 mg. of THC or under can be a good place to start.
The search for 2.5
Finding edibles with 2.5 mg. of THC per serving – alone or with a CBD component – is not so simple. Of course one can take a higher dose edible and cut it into pieces, but that can be inexact, and why bother if you don’t have to, particularly if your eyesight isn’t so great or your hand isn’t so steady.
I scoured the internet to find low-dose edibles suitable for seniors that can be found in a dispensary in an adult-use state. If you actually find one of these products, start with one serving and see what happens. Hopefully it will put you at ease with a smile on your face, add a sense of wonder to a walk out in nature, or add an intriguing physical dimension to intimacy.
A word of caution
Compared to smoking cannabis, where the effects are felt almost immediately, the onset from eating cannabis takes much longer – sometimes up to 2 hours. And when the effects do come on, the duration is longer than with smoking or other modes of administration. For this reason, it is important to resist the temptation to take another serving until those 2 hours have passed. Many are the stories from impatient folks who took a second dose and ended up uncomfortably intoxicated.
Five 2.5 mg. edibles to choose from
The Petra Mints produced by veteran California cannabis confectioners Kiva were trailblazers with their two low-dose flavors: Moroccan Mint and Eucalyptus, each a refreshing 2.5 mg. THC per mint. Happily, they have added a splash of new flavors: Tart Cherry, Pineapple and Saigon Cinnamon – all in the same, reliable low-dose. Available in California.
In Oregon, environmentally and socially conscious grön chocolate produces a complete line of “pearl” gummies with 2.5 mg. of THC per candy. With a flavor for every mood, their pearl offerings include watermelon flavored “Boost,” mango-chili “Focus,” and raspberry-lemonade “Stimulate.” Raspberry “Relax” and tangerine-orange “Unwind,” both match the THC with 2.5 mg. CBD, while strawberry “Bliss” has 2.5 mg. THC and 5 mg. CBD.
According to its website, Stillwater Brands out of Colorado started producing low-dose edibles at the request of the founder’s 92-year-old grandmother. The company offers one flavor of low-dosed gummies: Green Tea Mango, with a 1:1 balance of 2.5 mg. CBD and THC, for “feeling younger and wiser, sleeping like a tuckered-out puppy.”
Satori Chocolates market their handcrafted, artisanal products as microdosed, but the vast majority weigh in at 5 mg. per serving. Their Highbush dark chocolate covered blueberries, however, have 2 mg. THC per blueberry. Yet I can imagine that the temptation to eat more than one blueberry could be difficult to overcome…
The Goodship, a collective of bakers, makers and artists in Washington State, produces 2.5 mg. THC pastilles in three flavors: Lemon Lime, Tart Cherry and Peppermint. On their site, the company notes that, while the state-recommended serving size is 10mg. of THC, they recommend starting with a quarter of that amount. I second the motion.
If there are other edibles out there clocking in at 2.5 mg. or under, I’d like to hear about them!