California is often looked over as a retirement state for places like Florida or Arizona. But Chris Cooper, a 57-year old retired investment adviser from Ohio, chose San Diego, California for its medical cannabis. Cooper, who has back pain and spasms, is supposed to take the prescription painkiller Vicodin, but he told Reuters that cannabis is far more safe and effective.
“[Cannabis] stores are packed with every type of person you can imagine,” said Cooper. “There are old men in wheelchairs, or women whose hair is falling out from chemotherapy. You see literally everybody.”
More seniors are turning to cannabis to ease the aches and pains of aging. The most recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that cannabis use has increased among Americans ages 50 and older in the last 10 years.
“A lot of the things marijuana is best at are conditions which become more of an issue as you get older,” Taylor West, deputy director of the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association, told Reuters. “Chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite: All of those things are widespread among seniors.” He added, “In Colorado, since legalization, many dispensaries have seen the largest portion of sales going to baby boomers and people of retirement age.”
Although the exact number of retirees and seniors moving to cannabis-friendly states isn’t known, Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at University of California, Los Angeles who studies retiree migration trends, told Reuters that “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana.”