Baby Boomers’ number: 4.8% of older adults in U.S. used marijuana in 2013, up from 2.8% a decade ago

As the number of older adults using marijuana increases, researchers say more information is needed to determine the effects of the drug on seniors.

“Given the unprecedented aging of the U.S. population, we are facing a never before seen cohort of older adults who use recreational drugs,” Dr. Benjamin Han, a geriatrician and health-services researcher at New York University, said in the news release. “With the increased availability of legalized marijuana, there is an urgent need to understand the prevalence of its use and also its effects among older generations.”

The researchers said older adults could be at high risk for adverse health outcomes when they concurrently use multiple substances, like marijuana and prescription drugs.

“Older people may use marijuana for a variety of reasons, including medical reasons. However, we need to make sure they are not using in a hazardous manner since older adults may be vulnerable to its possible adverse effects,” Han said. “One particular concern for older users is the risk of falls while using marijuana; however, this has not yet been studied.”

STATUS OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION
The map does not include states that allow cannabis oil
for certain medical conditions. Kentucky passed such a
law in 2014. (Governing magazine map)

The research, published in the journal Addiction, reviewed self-reported data from more than 47,000 adults aged 50 and older from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2006 to 2013.

It found that marijuana use rose 71 percent among adults 50 and older in 2006-13, increasing from 2.8 percent a decade ago to 4.8 percent in 2013, reports the Associated Press. It also found the rate of use dropped “significantly” for adults 65 and older, though it rose 2.5 times over eight years.

Most older adults in the study didn’t consider marijuana risky, with only 5 percent said they felt using marijuana once or twice a week was not a great risk to their health.

“I thought the perception of low risk was fascinating because, typically, we think of older generations as drug-adverse, and perceiving most drugs to be risky,” Joseph J. Palamar, one of the researchers said in the release. “But apparently very few Baby Boomers consider marijuana use risky. But after all, this was the generation who was there, in the late 1960s, when the counterculture revolution exploded marijuana into mainstream popularity.”

One Reply to “Baby Boomers’ number: 4.8% of older adults in U.S. used marijuana in 2013, up from 2.8% a decade ago”

  1. Eric Smith

    Will governments ever stop trying to police morality? I have smoked marijuana almost daily for 36 years. As far as adverse effects, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any, and I believe neither have most baby boomers. If there really are any adverse effects they must be so minimal as to not be noticed. But, the benefits are surely as noticeable as a stranger in your bed. Anxiety, depression, anger, general ill will, etc. are all either quashed or greatly reduced thanks to marijuana. I have seen this in other people I know whom smoke marijuana regularly. And yes, my data pool may not be that large, but never have I seen or known of any of there people having any adverse effects from marijuana usage, except perhaps for run-ins with the law.

    I believe it is time to legalize all drugs. If nothing else it will cull the gene pool. I know that is not the proper thing to say, but the harsh realities are the War on Drugs has been an absolute disaster. All we have done is filled our jails to bursting with people which truly aren’t criminals. We waste billions on policing drugs when we could be raising billions by taxing them.
    Just my two cents worth, and yes, I am smoking marijuana as I write this.
    Have a great day and stay safe.
    Eric Smith

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