By Roland Sebestyén
More elderly adults have reported recent cannabis use than ever before – a trend that will likely be very difficult to reverse as the drug continues to become more accessible across the United States.
According to the 2020 National Survey of Drug Use and Health released last week, the number of adults “65 or older who reported recent cannabis use jumped by 18%.”
It is now at 6% and the cultural shift is visible: in 2020 more older adults reported cannabis use at some time in their life – while the results of the last survey showed that 32% reported cannabis use, that number has now increased to 36%.
This is a significant jump.
According to Dr Juan Sanchez-Ramos, a researcher and professor of neurology at the University of South Florida, cannabis could help mitigate the symptoms of serious medical conditions, such as “insomnia and irritability in Alzheimer’s patients, improve motor symptoms from Parkinson’s, diminish arthritic pain and combat sleep disorders.”
He continued: “THC is safe for older people and won’t cause confusion or disorientation at modest and low doses.”
However, Dr Sanchez-Ramos also reiterated that cannabis use should always be supervised by a qualified physician: “This is basically an alternative treatment for when individuals aren’t doing well with the standard pharmaceuticals.
“In some people, it may be actually much better, but it isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.”
The consumption of cannabis among the elderly population has become something of a hot topic recently. In a recent survey, participants were asked if they would be up for sharing a “joint” with their grandparents.
According to the survey, which examined consumers’ behaviours and habits surrounding cannabis use as legalisation is increasing across the United States, almost two-thirds (60%) of cannabis users would be happy to have their grandparents join them during use.
While recreational cannabis is still illegal in the UK and almost everywhere in Europe, it remains difficult to effectively gauge the number of cannabis users in any demographic, as consumers are less likely to admit to use.
However, it is clear that cannabis use is not only for the younger generations. Whether for recreational purposes or medical reasons, cannabis is clearly becoming more popular among all age groups.