Cannabis Use Among the Elderly Is On the Rise, New Study Finds
If you thought that cannabis was only popular among the younger generations, think again. A new study has found that an increasing number of seniors are turning to cannabis for the treatment of various medical conditions and symptoms.
The study, published on Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that the number of adults aged 65 and over who reported using cannabis has gone up by 75%. Figures rose from 2.4% in 2015 to 4.2% in 2018, an almost two-fold increase in just three years.
In addition to older adults, the analysis also found increased consumption of cannabis among women, college-educated persons, and those who had higher annual income. Analysts also reported growing cannabis consumption across all races and ethnicities included in the study (although it should be noted that 77% of the respondents were white).
Using data from the 2015–2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the study’s authors found that the rise in cannabis use isn’t caused by its legalization in many US states, as much as it’s fueled by talks of the potential health benefits of the drug.
Namely, the study discovered that cannabis consumption among the elderly with diabetes jumped by a whopping 180%, whereas an increase of almost 96% was recorded among seniors suffering from other chronic diseases. People receiving mental health treatment also consumed cannabis more, probably for its antipsychotic effects — an increase of over 150% was reported in the study.
The authors of the study also warned over possible adverse effects that could arise from cannabis consumption among baby boomers.
One concern is that the elderly are more vulnerable to the negative effects of the drug than other age groups. Another issue is that pot today isn’t what it used to be. Many of the seniors who had tried cannabis back in the ‘60s and ‘70s might not realize that weed is much stronger now, which is particularly worrying when it comes to edibles and dosing of tinctures and oils.
Experts agree that the increase in cannabis consumption among boomers calls for more research in the area so that the risks and benefits could be properly assessed.