Cannabis Use Surges Among Older Americans: A Closer Look

Elderly couple holding a pamphlet

Overview of Cannabis Use Among Older Adults in the US

Recent studies have highlighted a significant increase in cannabis use among older adults in the US. According to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, over 12% of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 reported using cannabis in the past year, with a third of these users consuming cannabis products four or more days per week​. This trend reflects a broader shift in attitudes towards cannabis use among older populations, with a notable rise in prevalence for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

Demographic Trends in Cannabis Consumption

The increase in cannabis use among older adults is not uniform across all demographics. Common factors associated with cannabis use in this age group include being male, unmarried, having multiple chronic diseases, experiencing psychological stress, and using other substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs​​. This demographic trend provides key insights into the specific needs and challenges faced by older cannabis users.

Medical and Recreational Use of Cannabis in Older Populations

As cannabis becomes more widely accepted and legal in many states, older adults are increasingly turning to cannabis for its therapeutic benefits. The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among adults aged 65 and older has shown a dramatic increase, with some studies reporting a 250% rise between 2006 and 2013​​. This increase aligns with wider social acceptance and the recognition of cannabis's potential benefits in managing health conditions prevalent among older adults.

Risks and Concerns of Cannabis Use in Older Adults

While the use of cannabis among older adults is rising, it is important to recognize the potential risks and concerns. Older adults are a vulnerable group due to possible interactions with medications, the risk of impaired driving, cannabis-related mental health impacts, and an increased possibility of falls​​. These factors underscore the need for careful consideration and guidance when older adults choose to use cannabis, particularly for medical purposes.

Changing Perceptions and Legal Landscape

The evolving legal landscape regarding cannabis use has significantly influenced its acceptance among older adults. The period from 2015 to 2018 saw changing trends in the prevalence of cannabis use, varying by sociodemographic factors, chronic disease, health care use, and substance use characteristics among adults aged 65 and older​​. These changes reflect a broader societal shift in how cannabis is perceived and used among older populations.

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Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

About the author:

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen is known for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of CBD and hemp production. With a career spanning over a decade in the cannabis industry, he has dedicated his life to understanding the intricacies of these plants and their potential benefits to human health and the environment. Over the years, Robin has worked tirelessly to promote the full legalization of hemp in Europe. His fascination with the plant's versatility and potential for sustainable production led him to pursue a career in the field.

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