Americans age 55 and up are population of the fastest increase of marijuana users in legal states

How medical marijuana could help our aging community to get the most out of retirement

The legalization of medical cannabis increases workplace participation among those aged 50 and older. According to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, states that passed medical marijuana into law saw a significant boost to older Americans’ workforce participation.

According to the research “health improvements experienced by both groups (older men and women) permit increased participation in the labor market”, which led to a “9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent increase in hours worked per week”.

Why the improvement to employment numbers?

It seems that in states with medical marijuana, overall health of individuals appeared to be better which includes an improvement in the health and well being of the elderly community. In those states, older men were 5 percent more likely to say they were in “very good” or “excellent” health. With women, the results were not quite as obvious but still showed improvement.

“Surprisingly, among women we find evidence that passage of [a medical marijuana law] that provides legal access to the product increases the probability of reporting pain in the full sample by 1.3 percentage points (3.8 percent).”

Americans age 55 and up are population of the fastest increases of marijuana users. A study earlier this year found that Medicare prescriptions for a variety of drugs, including painkillers, anti-anxiety medications and anti-nausea drugs, fell significantly in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws.

It is be easy to summarize that with marijuana use in the elderly, they would also have a better quality of life due to the decrease in use of pharmaceutical drugs and an increase in overall well-being.

But researchers generally agree that, overall, there are fewer risks associated with marijuana use than there are with alcohol. And as the latest working paper shows, there are benefits to more widespread availability of medical marijuana that could result in a significant improvement in quality of life, particularly for older Americans.


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