Marijuana and Seniors

More than one in ten adults between the ages of 50 and 80 report having recently used cannabis products, according to survey data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Researchers with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor reviewed survey data (the National Poll on Healthy Aging) from a nationally representative sample of older adults.

Over 12 percent of respondents said that they had consumed cannabis within the past year. More than one-third of older consumers (34 percent) reported using cannabis products four or more days per week.

Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “It is not surprising that a rising percentage of adults consider cannabis to be a viable option in their later years. Many older adults struggle with painanxietyrestless sleep, and other conditions for which cannabis products often mitigate. Many older adults are also well aware of the litany of serious adverse side-effects associated with available prescription drugs, like opioids or sleep aids, and they perceive medical cannabis to be a practical and potentially safer alternative.”

The survey’s findings are consistent with those of others reporting rising rates of cannabis use among older adults and seniors over the the past decade. Separate data published earlier this year found that most older adults possess positive perceptions about cannabis, and several recent studies show that marijuana use is typically associated with quality of life improvements in seniors.  

An abstract of the study, “Prevalence and Frequency of Cannabis Use Among Adults Ages 50–80 in the United States,” is online. Additional information is available from NORML’s fact-sheet, ‘Cannabis Use by Older Populations.’


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