Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Culture Puff Puff: Coming out to Dad (about topicals)

Puff: Coming out to Dad (about topicals)

A senior discovers the effectiveness of cannabis-derived topicals for pain relief.


PUFF Years ago back when I was in college in Texas, I told my Dad that I smoked marijuana. He seemed more interested than upset. Though always a liberal, he was from the cocktail era and never part of the 1960s rebellion that included smoking weed. As he prepares to turn 80 next April, things are starting to change.

The change came in a one ounce bottle of Sweet Releaf, an amazing, painkilling topical cream that smells like cinnamon. Dad suffers from lower back pain, arthritis in his knee and a sore shoulder. I use the cream all the time for all kinds of ailments from back pain, head, joint, or neck aches, and even bug bites. Luckily, Sweet ReLeaf was a sponsor at our monthly PUFF party last month, so I sent my Dad a jar to see if it might alleviate some of his symptoms.

In true Dad fashion, I did not hear from him for a week, so I called him. Dad is very Hank Hill from King of the Hill, the taciturn Texan. So I asked, “How is everyone doing?”….”Fine,” he responded. I asked him how his wife was doing….”Fine,” again. Get the drift? So I finally asked, “Did you receive the package?” “Oh yes!” he brightened up and said his wife put some on his shoulder on Friday, and he didn’t think about it again until Monday. “That stuff really works. If you have any more samples, go ahead and send them to me.” A senior cannabis user is born.

According to data gathered from the latest survey done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people age 65 and up who said they use marijuana grew 250 percent between 2006 and 2013,” says Healthline. Seniors are one of the fastest growing groups in the cannabis industry.

Topicals are a great way to introduce a senior to cannabis. They don’t have to get you high, just kill pain and inflammation. There are many on the market. Like any lotion, there are different variances of oils, vitamins, and luxury additives, but they all have cannabis oil. Some are CBD (cannabinoid) heavy for pain relief and others have more of a THC blend which will give the user a little lift, but not too much since they cannot get into your bloodstream.

Creams, lotions, salves, tinctures (liquids you drop on the tongue) are all great ways to find the relief you need for the ailments that haunt you. Transdermal patches are available as well which look like a nicotine patch. You just stick them on. They do get into your bloodstream, can get you high and provide relief for hours. Of course later, edibles or vape pens can be added as well as flower.

Although I do not foresee me and Dad smoking a Fuzzy joint together on the back patio anytime soon. I am happy to provide him with a new way of dealing with the pains of getting older. I have a new care package ready for him with some new creams and balms and even a vape pen. Let’s see what he thinks of that.

“Seniors don’t want to get high, they want to get well and the cannabis helps,” said 68 year-old advocate Sue Taylor aka The Weed Lady to CBSNews in 2016.

Or as my Dad would say, “Yep, Fine.”

Dan Karkoska
Dan Karkoska is an independent producer, promoter, film critic, and DJ on the San Francisco scene. He also works with Maria Konner at Under the Golden Gate and is currently producing and hosting PUFF, the first queer marijuana rock-and-roll drag party every first Thursday at The Stud. He is a big stoner. Photo by Sari Staver.


  1. I’ve been using a similar compound for arthritis in my ankle. My sister makes it with cannabis and beeswax which can be shaped into a small square you rub in the area of pain. Lasts about 5 hours though it takes 15-20 min to take effect. Cannabis has many curative qualities.

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