High Country: Aging and saging with Ellementa, Aspen’s new cannabis network

Katie Shapiro
High Country
Co-founder Aliza Sherman leads an Ellementa New York City Gathering conversation hosted at the Alchemist’s Kitchen in 2018.
Courtesy: Ellementa

What: Ellementa Aspen: Aging and Saging With Cannabis

When: Saturday, March 23, from 5-7 p.m.

Where: The Aspen Chapel Gallery

Registration: $10 (advance), $15 (door),

Fine print: Ellementa Gatherings are non-consumption events. Ellementa does not condone the consumption of cannabis on the premises of its Gatherings. Gatherings are held for women/women-identifying individuals who are 21 and older.

Although Colorado has been a recreationally legal state for five years now (and medicinally legal for far longer), the Roaring Fork Valley has lagged behind in the formation of a real cannabis community. Sure, there are a handful of high-profile conferences held throughout the year and a plethora of downtown pot shops, but what’s missing are more intimate and frequent gatherings that are found in larger legal cities that bring together the like-minded to share their passion for the plant.

Enter longtime local Wendy Elkin, a certified nutritional therapy practitioner and a certified functional diagnostic practitioner through her Aspen-based practice Ascend to Wellness (, who has just launched a local chapter of Ellementa, an international women’s cannabis network.

Co-founded in 2017 by a trio of female entrepreneurs and medical cannabis patients, Ellementa has grown to host its monthly Gatherings in more than 50 cities in the United States, Canada and beyond to educate about the health and wellness benefits of cannabis and CBD.

Elkin joined Ellementa as an affiliate Gathering Leader late last year, and has since been readying to host her first official event, “Aging and Saging With Cannabis,” on Saturday, March 23, at the Aspen Chapel Gallery.

Her cause for deciding to lead the charge locally after discovering Ellementa on Instagram (@ellementawoman) stems from personal experience over the past decade.

“I have had a couple of serious illnesses in my immediate family and beyond the food piece of my expertise in helping treat them, I also started researching and learning about cannabis, incorporating its use into their regimens,” Elkin says.

She also is currently studying under Dr. Dustin Sulak, a Maine-based cannabis physician, to learn more about its formal medical applications and the most effective and efficient ways to put it into the healing protocol. While it’s an ongoing program, Elkin will soon receive a cannabis medicine certification, of which she says, “Adds a tool in my toolbox to promote optimal health. It’s definitely not a magic bullet, but this plant is so versatile and can address so many different ailments.”

Elkin also will welcome DeDe Osborn as a guest expert to partake in the evening’s conversation. A fellow student of Sulak, Osborn founded the website Grass for Geezers (, which aims to educate senior citizens about the choices they have when considering medicinal marijuana as a treatment.

America’s fastest-growing population of new cannabis users are people ages 50 to 65 and older. According to the fourth annual State of Cannabis data report — conducted by Eaze, California’s leading statewide cannabis delivery platform — the total number of women consumers grew by 92 percent in 2018. And a 2016 HealthAffairs study found that in states where medical marijuana is legal, those using Medicare part D — a benefit primarily for senior citizens — received fewer prescriptions for other drugs to treat depression, anxiety, pain and other chronic issues.

“We have such a large population in our area that are among this demographic who still believe in the stigma of cannabis. Science has come so far, but it’s not being shared community-wide and the focus here has long leaned toward the recreational side,” Elkin says. “There is so much misinformation out there and I am thrilled to start having this conversation and sharing the latest — and more importantly, accurate — information with the Roaring Fork Valley.”

The inaugural event will serve as an introductory cannabis education talk designed to inform older women about the basic benefits cannabis can provide to simply “feel better” (Ellementa’s official hashtag). Future topics Elkin already has planned include cannabis and sex, cannabis-assisted psychotherapy, cannabis-infused food and microdosing for stress, anxiety and depression.

Katie Shapiro can be reached at or followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.

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