Comstock's magazine 0419 - April 2019 - Page 61

juana, he adds, is “way more potent than some Mexican rag- saries, when people come in with the expectation that we are weed you got at college in the ’70s.” a pharmacy.” That’s where continuing education comes in. Cannabis Beyond questions about effects, common questions for brands, dispensaries and a bevy of senior programs are in- the age set revolve around dosing and access, experts say. creasingly offering workshops and special services to help For some, the idea of going to a dispensary is overwhelming this demographic navigate the new world of weed. Often, or taboo. And with so many new forms of cannabis available, these efforts aim to bring the conversation to where the se- including edibles that can have a delayed but powerful effect, niors already are. first-time or long-dormant consumers need guidance. Papa & Barkley has hosted a dozen workshops for seniors Read, whose dispensary is one of several local shops offer- across the state since cannabis was fully legalized last year, ing a senior discount, says having accessible, knowledgeable including one at Sun City Lincoln Hills. More than 55 people staff is key to making people feel comfortable. Having two re- showed up. A similar event hosted by Papa & Barkley at Sun tirees on his payroll helps give customers someone with whom City Roseville also drew a big crowd. The workshops are so they can relate. popular that the company plans to host a new round, including Cargile echoes that approach. Her staff attends weekly con- stops in the Sacramento area, as soon as this month. tinuing education sessions aimed at ensuring they are armed Government is getting involved too. Yolo County spon- with knowledge to help their customers. Older clients, she says, sored an informational ses- often “require more time and sion for older Woodland more knowledge in order to residents in July 2018. Ear- help them find the medicine. lier that year, the Davis Se- “Seniors have a lot of ques- nior Center, a public city- tions, and they want evidence operated recreation center, to show them how canna- partnered with the local Senior bis is helping other people,” Citizens Commission to host Cargile says. “Cannabis is a workshop of its own. That not a one-size-fits-all med- informational (and cannabis- icine, and it needs to be tai- free) event featured a Q&A lored to the specific person, with law enforcement to ex- their biochemistry.” plain the regulations and a UC Other industry players are Davis physician specializing experimenting with delivery - Rob Read, in alternative medicine. Inter- models. Westman, the Sebasto- owner, F Street Dispensary est was high. “We ran out of pol-based consultant, is work- chairs,” Dana Welch, the cen- ing on a new business model ter’s program director, says. aimed at delivering seniors ac- Welch recalls attendees asking about effects on common cess to the exact strain and dosage they want, right to their door- senior ailments, the risk of overdose and for more information step. His company will consult with the customer, their doctor about current laws and guidelines. The UC Davis physician en- and any involved family to come up with the proper order. couraged participants to consult with their own doctor about an “It’s very easy and noninvasive, and it does not put them individualized approach. into the position of going to the dispensary,” Westman ex- That advice is important, Read says. During his time as a plains. “A lot of them are not comfortable with that.” senior living executive, he saw firsthand the power cannabis A similar service, called Seniors Seeking Cannabis, has could have for residents dealing with conditions such as Alz- popped up in the region. In addition to delivery, the Sacramento- heimer’s disease, anxiety, and aches and pains. But given the based company offers educational workshops and in-home lack of federal medical research related to the drug, and for visits to discuss a customer’s needs and demo cannabis prod- senior users in particular, finding the right approach can be ucts. Its Facebook page is filled with posts touting the bene- challenging. Many enter the store hoping for an instant fix to fits cannabis can have for insomnia and chronic pain, among their problems. other ailments. “It’s a bit of a guess-and-check, because we don’t have It’s not just retailers changing their approach to meet the decades of research and reliable places to go for this infor- needs of the older community. As popularity grows, so does the mation,” he says. “They are out there but not to the degree of need for senior living facilities to adopt formal policies around other pharmaceutical drugs. That makes it hard for dispen- possession and use. “We wanted [the] ambiance to be senior-welcoming. If we can make the seniors feel comfortable, everyone else should feel comfortable too.” April 2019 | 61