Why it matters: The University of Michigan researchers found that 12.1% of adults aged 50-80 in the United States reported using cannabis in the past year. Additionally, 34.2% of those who reported cannabis use used it four or more days per week. This indicates that cannabis use among older adults is a significant and growing trend.
What they are saying: The researchers concluded that as access to and use of cannabis continue to increase, clinicians and policymakers should monitor and address the potential risks among older adults. NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano commented that many older adults view medical cannabis as a practical and potentially safer alternative to prescription drugs. Other survey data has also shown a similar trend of increasing cannabis use among older adults.
The big picture: Cannabis use among older adults is on the rise, likely due to the increasing social acceptance of marijuana and its availability for recreational use in many states. It is also influenced by the aging baby boomer generation, who are seeking pain relief, better sleep, and relaxation through cannabis use.
What to watch: It will be important to continue monitoring the use of cannabis among older adults and address any potential risks associated with it. Further research can explore the specific reasons why older adults are turning to cannabis and evaluate its effectiveness for addressing their health conditions.
My take: The increasing cannabis use among older adults reflects a changing cultural attitude towards marijuana and the recognition of its potential benefits in managing chronic pain and other age-related ailments. As marijuana legalization continues to progress, it is crucial to ensure that older adults are properly informed about the risks and benefits associated with cannabis use. This demographic shift highlights the need for further research and education to guide healthcare professionals and policymakers in addressing the unique needs of older adults in relation to cannabis use.