As he states in the Q&A, older adults are America’s fastest-growing demographic of cannabis consumers. According to data published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in 2020, self-reported cannabis use among those 65 and older increased from under 1 percent in 2006 to more than 4 percent today. Similarly, the percentage of seniors perceiving “great risks” from consuming marijuana is rapidly declining.
Other highlights from Paul’s Q&A:
- Older adults frequently report their cannabis use is medical, that it has fewer side effects than their prescription medicine, and their quality of life increased with its use.
- Seniors report using cannabis to decrease pain, relieve anxiety, and help them sleep.
- Older adults typically prefer cannabis flower over other methods of ingestion, and choose cultivars with lower concentrations of THC and higher CBD.
- Seniors report having little prior experience with cannabis and thus should avoid oral or over-consumption, and be aware of contraindications with other medications.
- Increased acceptance among older adults, who represent a powerful voting block, may ultimately help legalization efforts. Among Baby Boomers, 63 percent now endorse legalization, up from less than one-third a decade ago.
For the complete Q&A with links to a plethora of research materials, click here.
Paul Armentano is deputy director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and co-wrote the book “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink.” He is a long-time Oaksterdam instructor and supporter.