I talked to a lot of older cannabis users when I researched my novel, Betty’s (Little Basement Garden). The average age of those who puffed or ingested cannabis was about 55 years old and while most of them were imbibing for medicinal purposes, there was a good percentage that enjoyed cannabis purely for recreational purposes. In fact, some of them liked it so much, they made a conscious choice to give up alcohol entirely in favor of the herb.
I found that idea quite curious and talked at length with those who made this unique lifestyle change. I wanted to know what compelled them to make their decision and each of them had a different reason. Several of the people told me that cannabis had been their “exit drug” (i.e., they used the herb to wean themselves off sleep aids, anti-depressants and, yes, booze.) One 58-year-old Conservative woman commented that she’d tried to quit both sleep aids and her nightly two glasses of red wine cold turkey but then suffered two “excruciating” nights of sleeplessness. After eating half a cannabis cookie her daughter made for her, she slept like a rock and woke up refreshed without the usual hangover and drugged feeling. She told me from that night onward, she decided that cannabis was more enjoyable, worked better than her pills or nightcap to prompt sleep and, as she put it, “produced a centered feeling” the following day.