Cannabis use for seniors has been growing in population in the media, and now there are stats to back up how popular it truly is in 2020. A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that cannabis use among seniors, specifically those 65 and older, is happening more than ever.

The research was conducted within the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and looked at trends in cannabis use and self-reported data from across the country. In total, over 171,000 seniors were polled. The findings that were revealed are consistent with other studies that also reveal older folks want access to cannabis.

“Eleven states and the District of Columbia have implemented laws allowing for the use of cannabis, which is prompting studies of the patterns, determinants, and health outcomes of its use, primarily among young adults,” the study explains. “Cannabis use is less prevalent among older adults, and studies of its use in this population are scarce. We believe more investigations are warranted. One reason is that some older adults use cannabis for the management of pain, disorders of mood, anxiety, and sleep, and other medical conditions.”

Furthermore, past studies have revealed that medical cannabis use by seniors is relatively safe, and is a good way to manage pain and improve quality of life overall. There also seems to be less of a stigma against cannabis in the older community now that folks who are older used cannabis earlier in their lives.

Boomers And Bud

Pew Research notes that almost two-thirds of the “Boomer” generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, think that cannabis should be legal for adults. This is up significantly from past years.

“From 2016 to 2018, cannabis use increased for men in all age groups and in most women. … Among those aged 65 to 69 years, cannabis use increased from 4.3 percent to 8.2 percent in men and from 2.1 percent to 3.8 percent in women,” the study explained.

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said regarding the study, “These results are hardly surprising. Many seniors likely experimented first-hand with cannabis during their youth and are now returning to it as a potential therapy to mitigate many of the health-related symptoms that come with older age, including chronic pain. Many seniors are well aware of the litany of serious adverse side-effects associated with available prescription drugs, like opioids, and they perceive medical cannabis to be a viable alternative.”

“This demographic shift holds important implications for marijuana legalization. Not only does it strengthen overall public support in favor of marijuana law reform, but it also galvanizes support amongst arguably the most reliable and powerful voting block — seniors,” he continued. “As their attitudes continue to evolve on cannabis, expect to see many politicians at the state and federal level shift their views as well.”

It’s clear that now more than ever, senior access to cannabis is important, and these numbers also point to a need for federal legalization that allows access for all.


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