WASHINGTON — Talk to your grandparents about marijuana — earlier than anyone else does.
The newest launch of an enormous federal drug-use survey exhibits month-to-month marijuana use has skyrocketed among older Americans. The previous decade, the truth is, has seen a sea change within the demographics of marijuana use: As lately as the early 2000s, teens have been greater than 4 occasions extra more likely to use marijuana than 50- and 60-somethings. But as of 2017, Americans age 55 to 64 are now barely extra more likely to smoke pot on a month-to-month foundation than teens age 12 to 17. That distinction is inside the survey’s margin of error.
The oldest age group — seniors age 65 and older — has seen steep will increase in marijuana use as nicely. In the mid-2000s month-to-month marijuana use among this group was successfully at zero %. As of final yr 2.four % of seniors used marijuana month-to-month, and almost four % have been utilizing on at the very least an annual foundation.
Federal knowledge confirmed that marijuana use among middle-aged Americans surpassed teen use a number of years in the past, which underscores some extent that always will get misplaced in modern debate about marijuana legalization: whereas debates about marijuana use are likely to give attention to the drug’s results on younger individuals, marijuana use is turning into extra concentrated among older Americans. The results of long-term marijuana use among that cohort are much less understood.
There are a variety of elements driving these tendencies. Nine states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for grownup leisure use since 2012. It’s solely pure that these legal guidelines would increase use among older Americans whereas having little impact among youthful ones.
The legalization wave occurs to be occurring as child boomers are getting into their golden years. The boomers have been huge supporters (and customers of) pot within the late 1960s and ’70s, and plainly lots of them are utilizing their retirement years to revisit a few of the mind-altering experiences of their youth.
Finally, medical considerations look like a key issue driving marijuana use among older Americans. A current research carried out by Benjamin Han and Joseph Palamar of New York University discovered that greater than 20 % of marijuana customers over age 65 stated a physician advisable they struggle the drug. Other analysis has proven that marijuana is especially efficient at treating continual ache, which is especially prevalent among the aged. Several current research have discovered that Medicare prescriptions for opiate painkillers are decrease in states with medical marijuana packages.
On internet, grandparents smoking state-legal weed of their houses is far much less of a authorized or public well being concern than teens utilizing black market stuff at events. But as with any leisure drug there are dangers related to marijuana use, even when the consumer is over the age of 60. The Han/Palomar research, for example, discovered proof for larger charges of nicotine dependence, cocaine use and prescription drug misuse among older Americans who had used marijuana prior to now yr. And dependency is all the time a priority, notably among individuals who use marijuana ceaselessly.
That stated, it’s turning into more and more clear that stereotypes of marijuana customers as risk-taking disaffected youth are outdated within the period of authorized marijuana.