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News: 05/01/2018

Seniors discover the value of medical cannabis

Hundreds attend the Oakmont Cannabis Club meeting

marijuana up close by shane rounce on unsplash

If you go to an Oakmont Cannabis Club meeting, expect to find a roomful of older Oakmont residents, the same type of educated and aware seniors you would find at a Grandparents Club meeting or the Sunday Symposium.

The use of medicinal cannabis is big in senior communities such as Oakmont, with older people seeking healthy alternatives to the pain killing opioids they need for their aging bodies.

These senior Oakmonters say they are not interested in getting “stoned.” They filled the Berger Center wall to wall on March 15 to learn about CBD, the cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits but does not make you feel high. Speaker Martin A. Lee, nationally recognized author/scientist and CBD scholar, underscored CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions from chronic pain and opiate dependence to depression, insomnia and other neurological disorders.

Finding the right cannabis product that you need is not quick or easy. As Lynn, a 30-year resident of Oakmont, found out, you don’t just drop into a cannabis dispensary, pick up a tincture or gel, and voila – your pain is gone.

Lynn, a retired high school teacher, developed polymyalgia rheumatica four years ago. “All my muscles ached,” she said. “I went to the emergency room at the hospital because I couldn’t even put my clothes on. It was determined that I had polymyalgia and I was put on big doses of prednisone with oxycodone for severe pain. The doctor did not want to prescribe oxycodone, but he did.”

Lynn continues to take oxycodone when the pain is so severe she can’t bear it. She became interested in cannabis and attended a club meeting in early March. “There were 90 of us there,” she said, “all of us in pain.” She learned about the values of cannabis and decided to give it a try.

Lynn shares the process she followed to find and buy medical cannabis products.

First: To buy products at one of Santa Rosa’s 13 dispensaries, a medical cannabis card from a cannabis doctor is helpful. With it, you won’t pay as much tax. Lists of doctors as well as dispensaries are available at club meetings. Lynn paid $79 for her appointment with a doctor and $29 to authorize her husband to pick up her medications. She received a card similar to a credit card, with her photo on it.

Second: Find a dispensary you like. Lynn was impressed with the speaker at the cannabis meeting she had attended and decided to visit his dispensary in Santa Rosa. It was not easy to find. There’s no storefront with glass windows and a name in lights. Lynn located a door in a commercial building identified with simply the initials of the dispensary name. “Like a speakeasy during prohibition,” she joked.

“I was admitted into a small reception cubicle with a glass wall between me and an attendant. I presented my cannabis card and driver’s license and was admitted.”

Third: Find the product you need. Displays include tinctures for insomnia or depression, topicals and creams for arthritis and bursitis, patches and gels for extreme pain... liquids, vials, pens, sprays, inhalers, you name it. “Dispensary salespeople are friendly and well informed and will help you find something to try for your ailment,” Lynn said. The salesperson who approached Lynn was, fortuitously, the speaker she admired from the cannabis meeting she had attended. He recommended a gel to try for a week. If need be, Lynn planned to try a patch or a high CBD concentrate.

The Oakmont Cannabis Club, not yet a year old, was founded by residents Tina Hoogs and Jim Byrne, both learned proponents of cannabis and its medicinal aspects. Heidi Klyn joined Tina and Jim as an assistant, and the club has grown from a first meeting of 35 last July to a recent meeting of 150. Meetings are open to all Oakmont residents; non residents can attend as guests.

For information about the Oakmont Cannabis Club, email


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