A study published recently in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence has revealed that the use of cannabis among older Americans has increased remarkably from the level where it was a decade earlier.
The rise was 100 percent among baby boomers (those aged 50 to 64-years), since cannabis use prevalence rose from 4.5 percent a decade ago to 9 percent, according to data collected from 2015 to 2016.
Older adults (those aged 65 and above) increased their use of cannabis exponentially from 0.4 percent in 2005/2006 to nearly 3 percent 10 years later.
It is also noteworthy that more than half of surveyed baby boomers confessed during the study that they had used marijuana at least once by the age of 21. In contrast, less than a quarter of the older adults (65 and older) admitted to have used cannabis at age 21 or younger.
It is also important to note that a significant proportion of the seniors revealed that they used cannabis upon the recommendation of a doctor. The legalization of medical cannabis may therefore provide one of the possible reasons why older Americans are increasingly using pot.
Another possible reason why cannabis use could have increased among the age groups covered in the study is that society has evolved in the way it regards cannabis. There is a growing level of acceptance of marijuana, and this may explain why those who use it are willing to admit it during surveys.
However, a few professionals are expressing some concerns about the rising use of cannabis by older Americans. First, the strains of the plant currently available may be very potent when compared to what the baby boomers and those older consumed decades ago. Accidental overuse may therefore result from exposure to these stronger strains.
Secondly, many older citizens have chronic health challenges, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. There are fears that cannabis consumption may interact adversely with the medications that seniors are taking for those ailments.
The advanced age of these older citizens may also mean that their bodies are less capable of handling the effects of cannabis, since most body systems may no longer be functioning as robustly as they once did during the younger days of those consuming marijuana.
This study highlights the need for further research on how cannabis use is affecting older Americans. Not much (cannabis-wise) is known about these age groups, yet a lot of information is available on the use of cannabis among teenagers. It would be interesting to hear what the participants in the legal cannabis industry, such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (NUGS) and The Flowr Corporation have to say about the implications of this study.
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