Lifestyle, Research, Treatment

A Recent Study Says That More Seniors are Saying Yes to Cannabis

September 11, 2020 11:23 am ET
A Recent Study Says That More Seniors are Saying Yes to Cannabis

Cannabis consumers span across all lifestyles, cultures, and ages. While some may think that cannabis consumers are lazy college kids or that cannabis medicine is only utilized as CBD for adolescents with epileptic conditions, this is not the case. Cannabis offers medicinal benefits to us at all stages of our lives. One population is starting to notice this, or they are simply reverting to their childhood and reminiscing about the peace and love of what seems like a different era. I am referencing none other than our elders, our leaders, our guides, those who have taken many trips around the sun gracefully, and those who hope to take many more with the help of cannabis. That is our senior population. A study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that there had been an increase in cannabis consumption among adults over 55 in recent years.

The Study’s Juicy Details

The study examined three years’ worth of survey data collected between 2016 and 2018. The information contained data from 171,507 individuals over the age of 55. The least amount of change was seen among women. However, the largest increase in consumption rates were among men aged 60-64.  12.6% of men in this age group reported utilizing cannabis within the past 30 days as of 2018. That was an increase from 8.9% reporting recent cannabis consumption two years prior in 2016. Consumption rates within the last 30 days among men between the ages of 65-69 rose from 4.3% to 8.2%, whereas consumption rates among those aged 70 – 74 saw an increase from 3.2% to 6%.

While those over the age of 55 may have started utilizing cannabis and admitting it in recent years, the highest consumption rates are still among young adults between 18 and 25. Nearly 39% of this age group reports utilizing cannabis within the last 30 days, based on data from 2018. This number has remained nearly consistent in recent years, so why the increase among those over the age of 55? Let’s take a closer look.

Why are More Seniors Using Cannabis?

While the study did not question respondents specifically on their reasoning for consumption, there are many obvious reasons why consumption has increased among those over 55. Many individuals are becoming less apprehensive about admitting that they utilize the plant due to increased legalization and decreased stigma. Some are using it now simply because it is available and legal in many states.

According to reports by NBC News, dispensary owners in California have conversed with consumers in the age group studied and are finding that many are consuming cannabis out of nostalgia. Some are even coming in looking for specific strains that they enjoyed in their college years, most likely in hopes of sparking a memory or two about the good ole days! However, it is a widespread belief that many are consuming for medical purposes.

Individuals over the age of 55 tend to suffer from physical ailments daily, whether it be pain, sleep disorders, anxiety, inflammation, or something much more severe that cannabis can help bring them relief from. There is significant research supporting cannabis as an anti-inflammatory and its use in decreasing anxiety, invoking relaxing and sedating feelings, and relieving pain in some scenarios supporting the millions of anecdotal stories that claim great efficiency of this plant in addressing ailments such as those mentioned above and many others. Overall, cannabis is giving the elderly population a better quality of life.

Possible Associated Risks

While cannabis is generally considered safe, there may be some areas of concern when utilized in conjunction with certain over-the-counter and prescription medications. Unfortunately, many of the potential medicines that cannabis may interact with are more widely prescribed to seniors than those of younger age. Earlier this year, the Journal of American College of Cardiology published a review that noted that cannabis might interact with certain heart medications.

That study revealed that taking cannabis in conjunction with certain blood thinners and Statin medications could potentially change how the compounds interact within the body. The same enzymes within the liver that break down these medications also are responsible for breaking down cannabinoids and other compounds found within cannabis. When they’re utilized simultaneously, they can change their effectiveness and the potency of these medications.

Giving Seniors a Better Quality of Life

In other instances, cannabis and pharmaceutical medications can work great in conjunction with one another. When consuming the two, it is highly suggested to do so several hours apart so that the liver is not breaking down compounds from both the medications and cannabis at the same time.

No matter the reason, the fact that more individuals in the senior community are utilizing cannabis is a remarkable thing. Cannabis offers many benefits for us no matter why we consume it as it nourishes our body’s endocannabinoid system, essentially making all consumption medicinal. Personally, I think that it’s fabulous that more individuals are enjoying this plant for all it has to offer physically, mentally, and spiritually to enhance their wellbeing and hope that this trend continues in the years to come.

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