Marijuana Use Among Seniors Nearly 2X’d in 3 Years

More US seniors are using the marijuana now than ever before.

The proportion of people 65 anni and older who use marijuana stands at 4.2%, up from 2.4% in Y 2015, according to figures from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

“The change from 2.4 up to 4.2, that’s a 75% increase,” said a senior researcher ans associate professor of population health at New York University Langone Medical Center. “It didn’t double, but 75% is a pretty big increase, I think.”

The executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Center on Addiction, reviewed the study and commented that the trend is “not surprising.”

First, older people are more likely to experience pain and other chronic conditions,” she said. “Secondly, marijuana has become increasingly available and acceptable within society. Together, these 2 factors are probably driving this trend.”

But she does not think the wave of marijuana legalization sweeping the nation has prompted Grandma and Grandpa to give it a try, either to ease aches and pains or have a pleasant evening.

Rather, she thinks the proportion of aging marijuana users is increasing because more older folks are already familiar with marijuana

A lot of people who use marijuana are aging into the 65-and-older age bracket. I personally think that’s what’s driving this,” she said. “Of course, there are new initiates, but I don’t think there are that many older people trying weed for the first time ever.”

There still are a lot fewer seniors using marijuana than younger people, it is that marijuana use overall has continued to rise in the United States, affecting nearly all groups of people.

The NYU researchers analyzed responses from more than 15,000 older adults. Marijuana use rose more drastically among specific groups of seniors between Ys 2015 and 2018, including:

  • Women (93% increase) Vs men (58%), although nearly twice as many men use compared with women overall.
  • College-educated (114% increase) Vs high school or less (17%).
  • Households making more than $75,000 a year (129%) or $20,000 to $49,999 (138%), compared with folks making less than $20,000 (16%) or between $50,000 and $74,999 (3%).
  • Married seniors (100% increase) Vs singles (45%).

Seniors taking up marijuana after smoking it early in life are probably doing so for potential medical benefits, although the survey did not ask this question.

From what I see, I think a lot of older people are using weed more for medical reasons rather than recreational reasons,” Palamar said. “I know someone in this age group who for never in a million years I thought would use marijuana. She eats a marijuana gummy every night to help her sleep, because she feels it helps better than anything else. I think this is becoming more common.

However, the survey showed that marijuana use increased more among seniors with 1 or fewer chronic health problems (96%) than those with two or more chronic conditions (29%).

The Key concern regarding marijuana use among older adults is that it has become more powerful over the years while their bodies have aged.

If you are in your late 60’s or 70’s and you have not smoked weed in decades and you reinitiate in, you might not know what to expect. Your body is much different in your 60’s than it was when you were a teenager. You might not be able to handle it, especially considering that marijuana is getting more potent.

Seniors stoned on strong marijuana could fall and hurt themselves, or get into a car accident.

The study was published 24 February in JAMA Internal Medicine

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