Cannabis use is increasing across the United States of America at a rapid pace. According to a new poll from the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, one specific group that is seeing increased rates of cannabis consumption are elderly Americans. The poll examined self-reported data from more than 17,000 adults. It found that “9% of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have used marijuana at least once during the survey year.”3 % of seniors, above 65, said they had done so in the last year.

What More Was Revealed By The Study

The study, which was published Thursday September 6th, 2018, delved deeper into American cannabis use trends. While elderly Americans are using cannabis at higher rates, the rate of cannabis use among middle-age Americans has also “doubled over the last decade.”

Many of the study’s findings reveal the true depth of cannabis consumption. It found, “More than half (almost 55%) of middle-age adults have used marijuana at some point in their lives, while over a fifth (about 22%) of older adults have done so.”


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It should come as no surprise that cannabis use rates are high and rising. Cannabis is continually being legalized throughout the United States. At this point, 30 states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis in some form. Lead author of the study, Benjamin Han, a professor at the NYU School of Medicine finds ever-faster legalization and increasing cannabis use rates as cause for some caution. Han writes, “It is hard for us as providers to recommend it (cannabis) aside for very specific clinical indications (especially compared to well-studied other options), especially if we do not fully understand its risks for older adults or those with multiple chronic medical conditions.”

Rates Aren’t Rising Among All Age Groups

Though cannabis use rates seem to be rising among most groups, adolescent and young adult rates have not risen, in fact they have dropped. While there is concern from some including Han over rising use rates, a major positive brought upon by cannabis legalization is a decrease in teen use. A study published in 2016 found, “rates of marijuana use declined slightly among youth ages 12 to 14 and have remained flat among those ages 15 to 17 since 2002.”

Multiple studies have struggled with pinpointing the effect cannabis legalization has had on use rates among Americans. The self-reported Drug and Alcohol Dependence poll does a satisfactory job of revealing the increasing acceptance of cannabis among Americans of all ages.


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