“I think the increases are mainly driven by boomers who use weed aging into the 65 and older age bracket,” the study’s senior author told Cannabis Wire.
A new JAMA Internal Medicine study found that cannabis use has surged among older adults.
The study, from New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, was published Monday. Researchers found that, between 2015 and 2018—a time during which a slew of states across the US legalized cannabis for medical and adult use—cannabis consumption among adults aged 65 and older increased from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent, “a significant increase of 75 percent.”
Researchers, who analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, also found increases in cannabis use among specific subgroups, too, including women, minorities, respondents whose families were higher earning, and people struggling with mental health.
Importantly, the survey only asked respondents about their consumption of “marijuana,” “hashish,” “pot,” “grass,” or “hash oil,” but did not ask about vaporized products, for example, though the study’s senior author doesn’t think those limitations play a big role in the study’s outcomes.
“I don’t think the lack of a vaping question severely affects estimates of use, as other research suggests that most people who vape also use via other methods,” Joseph Palamar, an associate professor of population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and the study’s senior author, told Cannabis Wire.
It’s unclear whether specific areas of the country—say, California or Colorado—saw higher percentages of use among older adults. It’s also unclear whether older adults are gravitating toward cannabis for medical reasons, or if they’re joining the adult use markets in states that have full legalization.
“We believe use will continue to increase as ‘social acceptability’ of weed use increases among older populations. I think the majority of use among older people is for medical reasons, although we need more research to confirm this. I think more older people who use weed are using for things like sleep,” Palamar said.
Published: February 24, 2020
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