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Thursday April 1, 2021

By Paul Barach


You’ve made it to retirement. That’s no small feat in today’s economy. Perhaps you've sold your house, you’re all moved into your retirement community, and you live in a legalized state, so it’s time to load a bowl, spark it up, and enjoy. In fact, our later years may be the best time to be smoking weed. Many seniors who are reintroducing themselves to legal marijuana enjoyed it in their earlier years, before the many obstacles of prohibition steered them away from enjoying cannabis. Others stayed away altogether, and are curious to see what they were missing out on all these years.

Now that it’s legal in numerous states, and the health benefits for conditions like glaucoma, arthritis, and hypertension are better understood, cannabis use is growing the fastest for people 60 and older. Even if you’re the picture of health, it can still be fun to get a little lifted, especially with more free time on your hands. While there are benefits to apartment living (any repair issue with your place is now your landlord’s problem), there can be one issue: some retirement communities have heavy restrictions on cannabis.

Alternatives to Smoking Cannabis Flower In Your Retirement Home

Most retirement communities don’t allow smoking indoors, no matter what plant you’re sparking up. They’ve got their reasons: Dropped joints can start fires, compressed oxygen is flammable, and the aroma doesn’t stay in just your unit. Even if you can smoke outside, this can become a hassle, especially for those with mobility issues.

Elderly people playing a game at a table
Retirement homes are typically smoke-free zones but don't worry, there are still many other consumption methods to help you get by. photo credit

While there are plenty of ways to cover the smell of weed, from a sploof to incense, there’s no reason to risk your living situation over a joint. Not when there are so many other options that will keep you and your retirement home happy! Whether you grew up smoking weed, or you’re looking to give it a shot with your friends, don’t worry, PotGuide has you covered with some tips for consuming cannabis in your retirement home. 

Vape Pens

With a vape pen, you’ll be getting the same quick onset of the effects of cannabis, using the same method, without the telltale smoke and smell of combustion. Many concentrates are just as strong as flower – if not stronger – and with temperature controls and timers, it’s easier to measure out dosages than with a joint or a bowl. 

The quick onset of effects are an especially good option for sudden inflammations of arthritis or treating other health issues. Plus, it’s just a nice feeling to pull out your piece and take a hit whenever you want. 

Vape pens don’t require any combustion, are easy to operate and don’t lose much potency when stored correctly.

There’s no mess besides having to throw out an empty cartridge every now and then, so disposal is discreet as well. Another benefit to vape cartridges is how many options there are now. Anyone just getting into vape has their choice of cartridges in a variety of full-spectrum strains.

For long-time cannabis consumers with a higher tolerance, live resin and live rosin cartridges provide a much more potent and full-bodied experience for a slightly more expensive price point.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

If you want the lack of smoke or smell without giving up on flower, a dry herb vape is a great option. This temperature-controlled device vaporizes the terpenes and cannabinoids off the plant material without burning any material.

A dry herb vaporizer laying next to some bud
Dry herb vaporizers allow you to still smoke flower, but without leaving behind a strong stench or having to use a lighter. photo credit

While you’ll need to get rid of the ABV (Already Been Vaped) crumbs afterward, you don’t need to throw them away. Since they’re already activated from the heat, you can stir them into tea or bake them into treats for a little extra dose. 


If your retirement community is a stickler for anything inhaled, edibles are the easiest replacement. While they won’t have the same quick effects and require a bit of planning for your day, they provide a more full-body effect, and last three times longer. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you have your pick of gummies, hard candy, chocolate, truffles, cookies, sodas, and the list keeps going.

If you’re watching your blood sugar, there’s capsules, cold brews, and plenty of other options. Just pop one in when you wake up or are trying to wind down your day and you’re good to go. Be sure to ask your doctor or other medical professional about potential interactions with prescription medication that you’re taking. 

Some edible gummies
Edibles are the most discrete option when it comes to consuming cannabis in a retirement community. photo credit

If you'd like a more specific dosage, there are options like tinctures, which are much easier to measure out than a standard 5 mg or 10 mg edible. Place a couple of drops of tincture under your tongue and wait for it to absorb, or add the oil to your morning coffee, afternoon beverage, or evening tea. You can also try distillate, which is already activated THC that can be added to pretty much anything. It comes in a syringe, which makes it easy to measure out. 

If you’re new to edibles, start slow and take half of what you need at first. Edible dosing can be tricky and they can come on much stronger than you expect if you eat too many and over-consume.  

Transdermal Cannabis Patches

Transdermal patches are ideal for anyone looking for non-ingested, long term relief. Simply place the patch over a major vein and THC or CBD will absorb directly into your bloodstream. Slap one on when you wake up. In about 25 minutes it’ll take effect and will last most of the day.

The Wrap Up

As always, it is best to check with the rules and regulations of your specific facility before consuming on its grounds, but typically, living by the rules of the retirement community doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the health and mental benefits of a little dope. If you’re used to smoking cannabis, there are plenty of options that will give you the same effects without getting hassled by your floormates or the front desk. You deserve a relaxed, pain-free retirement, so switch on your vape pen, pop an edible, or slap on a topical patch and enjoy your golden years in style.

How do you and your loved ones in retirement consume? Share in the comments!

Photo Credit: (license)


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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