Marijuana Use Among Seniors Over 65 is Rising

Marijuana use is rising sharply among seniors over 65, study says, and there are serious risks

according to this CNN Study Report

The numbers of American seniors over age 65 who now smoke marijuana or use edibles increased two-fold between 2015 and 2018, according to research published Monday in JAMA.

California septuagenarian Carol Collin is one of them. About two years ago she began eating a marijuana “gummy” each night before bed to help with sleep.
“I am an absolute chronic insomniac. I have been ever since I was a little tiny child — it just drives me crazy,” Collin said. “I take this little cube and it just makes me drowsy so I can sleep and doesn’t leave me groggy in the morning.”
For pain relief, Collin uses a topical cream that contains both THC — the compound in the marijuana plant that makes you high — and CBD, the the compound in the plant used in medicinal marijuana. “I’m doing this to sleep and provide pain relief and I find it works”, she said. “I wouldn’t have done it if it was illegal.”
Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care at NYU Grossman School of Medicine said, “What I’m seeing in my clinic are a lot of older adults who are very curious about cannabis to treat this or that chronic disease and symptoms,”

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“I find it fascinating that people who would never touch an illegal drug are now trying to get it, even if it’s just for medical purposes,” said study co-author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor of population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

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rolling-marijuana-cigaretteOver the last decade, Palamar and Han have published several papers estimating marijuana use by American seniors. To do so they analyze data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative survey of 15,000 people in the US who do not live in an institution, such as a nursing home.

“I was curious to see if it was people who are more sick, with say, multiple chronic conditions, trying cannabis, or is it the healthier people, perhaps with only one health condition,” Han said. “And it appears it’s the healthier older people who are trying cannabis more.”

Worrisome findings

“As a geriatrician, I worry about any kind of prescribed medicine or substance use — anything that has any kind of psychoactive effects,” Han said. “I worry about things like dizziness, falls. I worry how it may interact with certain medical conditions.”

An additional concern for many baby boomers who tried weed in the 1960s and ’70s, Palamar said, is the change in the nature of marijuana over the years.
“Weed has been getting stronger over the past few decades,” Palamar said, “and a lot of these seniors don’t take dosing seriously, especially edibles. They think ‘What’s the big deal? I used to do this when I was a kid.’

However, 74-year-old Carol Collin disagreed. “Eating or smoking too much pot isn’t a worry. Even when we were doing this years and years and years ago, I wasn’t much into eating brownies or the smoking kind of stuff ’cause I didn’t like losing my control of my life,” she said.

“And the people I know that are using marijuana today, they’re not drinking or smoking or anything. They’re using it for the pain relief because it works.”

Read the full article here:  CNN Study Report