Why More Seniors Are Using Cannabis

Jan 4, 2022 | Blog, News

Oaksterdam University Faculty Member and Deputy Director of NORML Paul Armentano recently sat down with the L.A. Times Business of Cannabis supplement to discuss Why More Seniors Are Using Cannabis.

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

Paul Armentano

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.