Cannabis use is finding its biggest growth among older Americans, according to findings from the 2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health.
The baby boomers might have popularized cannabis use back in their flower children days, leading to a pot-based counter culture emblamized by Cheech & Chong and The Greatful Dead. Later on, however, the generation lagged way behind their kids and kid’s kids in cannabis use.
But a new study shows that cannabis use among adults 65 and older has shot up ten fold, faster than any other age demographic.
“Older Americans are using cannabis for a lot of different reasons,” said study co-author Hillary Lum, MD, PhD. Lum is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Some use it to manage pain while others use it for depression or anxiety.”
Despite the steep rise in old-timer toking, the study also found that cannabis use among seniors could be considerably higher, were it not for some institutional problems and social conventions which prevent them from accessing marijuana.
According to a summary of findings from the University of Colorado, researchers identified five major themes along those lines:
“A lack of research and education about cannabis; A lack of provider communication about cannabis; A lack of access to medical cannabis; A lack of outcome information about cannabis use; A reluctance to discuss cannabis use.”
The survey found that potential users and physicians both had misconceptions about cannabis use, sometimes framed by dated anti-cannabis propaganda like Reefer Madness.
“From a physician’s standpoint this study shows the need to talk to patients in a non-judgmental way about cannabis,” Lum said. “Doctors should also educate themselves about the risks and benefits of cannabis and be able to communicate that effectively to patients.”
And of course, young folks can all do their part too to expose their parents and grandparents to the dankest of dank and teach them all about the benefits of low temp dabs.