New Study Highlights Frequent Cannabis Use Among Americans Aged 50 to 80

November 27th, 2023 Culture & Lifestyle
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Recent survey data from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor reveals a notable trend: over 12% of American adults aged between 50 and 80 have used cannabis products in the past year. This information, derived from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, reflects a growing acceptance and use of cannabis among older demographics.

The survey's findings are significant, with more than one-third (34%) of these older cannabis users reporting usage four or more days per week. This statistic underscores not only the prevalence of cannabis use in this age group but also the regularity of its consumption.

Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, commented on the study, noting the increasing trend of cannabis use among older adults. He attributes this rise to the growing recognition of cannabis as a viable alternative for managing common age-related issues like pain, anxiety, and restless sleep. Many older adults, aware of the severe side effects associated with traditional prescription drugs like opioids or sleep aids, view medical cannabis as a safer option.

The survey aligns with other research indicating a steady increase in cannabis use among older adults and seniors over the past decade. Earlier studies in 2021 also found that most older adults hold positive views about cannabis. Furthermore, several recent studies have linked marijuana use with improvements in the quality of life for seniors.

Delving deeper into the survey's demographics, it was noted that cannabis use varied among different ethnic and social groups. People identifying as Hispanic or other races were less likely to use cannabis compared to non-Hispanic white respondents. Additionally, unmarried/unpartnered and unemployed individuals were more likely to use cannabis, as were those who consumed alcohol.

The findings from this survey, conducted during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlight a significant trend: over one in ten older adults in the U.S. used cannabis during this period, many frequently. These insights are crucial for clinicians and policymakers, who need to be aware of the increasing use of cannabis among older adults and the potential risks associated with it. As legal access to and attitudes toward cannabis continue to evolve rapidly across the nation, it's important for these stakeholders to monitor and address these trends, ensuring safe and informed use among older populations.

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