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7 Best Strains for Seniors

old couple smoking weed

As cannabis gains acceptance and becomes a viable treatment option for some conditions, more senior citizens are exploring the plant to enhance their overall quality of life, improve sleep, manage pain, and even improve bone density. In fact, research shows that seniors are among the fastest-growing cohort of medical marijuana users nationwide.

And while compiling the best strains for seniors is somewhat anecdotal — what works for one person may not work for another — the following strains (i.e., chemovars) may provide senior citizens with the relief they’re searching for:

  • Northern Lights
  • Blue Dream
  • Bio Jesus
  • Green Crack
  • Harlequin
  • Afghani
  • Garlic Cookies

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Benefits of Older Adults Using Cannabis

Seniors can potentially derive many benefits from cannabis products. Many use cannabis to manage pain, improve sleep, and replace some traditional medications.

For example, older adults with arthritis or chronic pain often use opioids or other strong pain-management drugs. While these medicines are effective, they may worsen pain in the long run.

Many people prescribed opioids may eventually need higher doses to achieve the same relief, leading to abuse and potential addiction. Cannabis can help older adults steer clear of or even wean themselves from prescription opioids, thanks to its powerful pain-relieving properties.

Other studies show that cannabis, particularly CBD oil, can help those dealing with insomnia to achieve better sleep. When mixed with terpenes such as myrcene, users report a sense of calm and restfulness that promotes deep, long-lasting sleep. Some CBD products on the market even have melatonin, the hormone that regulates our Circadian rhythms, to help us sleep throughout the night.

Additionally, seniors may benefit from cannabis use to strengthen their bones. Osteoporosis and osteopenia, for example, are two degenerative bone conditions that weaken bone density and make fractures more likely and more dangerous. Recent studies have shown that THC in cannabis is linked to the reversal of lost bone density.

While this doesn’t mean medical marijuana can cure these conditions, it does suggest the cannabis plant may help reduce the risks of seniors breaking their bones. Conversely, other studies have found that heavy, daily cannabis use could negatively impact bone density, so consult your physician before using medical cannabis for any condition.

Cannabis also can help stimulate hunger in seniors, counteracting a reduction in appetite potentially due to prescription pills. A healthy appetite can help seniors combat weight loss, immune system dysfunction, depression, and general energy reduction.

Best Strains for Seniors

There is no definitive “best” strain (i.e., cultivar) for specific conditions and ages. Still, the following types of cannabis strains may have a chemical profile that could be particularly helpful for seniors, based on anecdotal reports.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is an indica-dominant strain with THC levels between 16%-21%. The cultivar reportedly produces a euphoric high and full-body relaxation, almost enough to induce “couch lock,” making it an excellent strain for muting pain sensations. Northern Lights also features high levels of myrcene, known for its more sedative and sleep-inducing effects.

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a popular strain often selected for its high levels of THC and relatively mild effects. It produces a gentle, cerebral high similar to other sativa strains. Its higher beta-caryophyllene — a terpene with significant anti-inflammatory properties — and pinene content helps people who are older battle fatigue and focus on daily tasks.

Bio Jesus

Bio Jesus is one of those indica strains many turn to for combating insomnia, especially as a side effect of chronic pain. With heavy levels of myrcene and a significant amount of THC, Bio Jesus produces a heavy euphoria that’ll help seniors drift off to sleep quickly. This strain’s high potency is best reserved for experienced consumers.

Green Crack

Green Crack is a sativa hybrid strain that rose to fame when it was endorsed by legendary rapper Snoop Dogg, who gave it its current name for the uplifting effects and the happy high it produces. This cultivar can help battle fatigue and has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its THCV content.


Harlequin may be the best option for individuals wishing to derive medical benefits from marijuana without a potent high. The high-CBD cultivar usually has about a 5:2 CBD:THC ratio, producing decent pain relief while allowing users to remain functional and alert.


Afghani is a landrace strain that naturally contains high levels of myrcene, citrusy limonene, and pinene. Thanks to its unique blend of terpenes and higher THC levels, Afghani is one of the best weed choices for complete pain relief and achieving lasting sleep. It’s also known for stimulating appetite, though it may be best reserved for evening meals due to its soothing nature.

Garlic Cookies

Garlic Cookies is another high-potency choice for seniors seeking the perfect strain to flush away the pain of a long day. Its high levels of THC produce strong analgesic (i.e., pain relieving) effects, while its higher levels of limonene and beta-caryophyllene prevent it from becoming too sedative.

The Bottom Line

Aging is inevitable, but different strains may have health benefits that may offer senior symptom relief and improved quality of life. If you’re a senior curious about using medical marijuana for your particular concerns, connect with a Leafwell provider to learn more about the best cannabis strains and products for your needs.

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