Feb 26, 2020
Marijuana Use Increasing Among Older Adults in US

Cannabis use continues to increase among older adults in the U.S., according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers analyzed national survey data from 2015-2018 for nearly 15,000 adults 65 and older to estimate how common past-year cannabis use was. Previous studies have indicated sharp increases from 2006-2016. Cannabis has been legalized in many states for medical and recreational use.

Authors of the current study estimate the proportion of adults who reported past-year marijuana use increased from 2.4% to 4.2% from 2015 to 2018. Researchers identified key subgroups that experienced marked increases in cannabis use, including women, racial/ethnic minorities, those with higher family incomes, and those with mental health problems. While they also found an increase in cannabis use among older people with diabetes, in general, it appears that the increase in cannabis use is driven largely by those who do not have multiple chronic medical conditions. They also detected an increase in cannabis use among older adults who use alcohol.

A limitation of the study is the possibility of limited recall by the respondents. There is a need to better understand both the benefits and risks of marijuana use among older adults.

Read more about the study on the Journal of the American Medical Association website.

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