A new study has found cannabis use is becoming more common among older adults in the USA – and it’s being used mostly for medical purposes.
University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers surveyed 568 patients 65 years and older and found 15% had used cannabis in the past three years. Half of those reported using it regularly and 61 per cent started using cannabis after the age of 60.
“New users were more likely to use cannabis for medical reasons than for recreation,” said Kevin Yang, one of the UC San Diego researchers involved. Mr. Yang said this group were more likely to use cannabis topically rather than by smoking it or using edibles.
“Also, they were more likely to inform their doctor about their cannabis use, which reflects that cannabis use is no longer as stigmatized as it was previously.”
46% of the group using cannabis daily or weekly were using cannabidiol-only products.
Where used for medicinal purposes, the common ailments cannabis was being used to address included pain management, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression.
Christopher Kaufmann, PhD, co-first author of the study and assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in UC San Diego’s Department of Medicine, said for the most part survey participants reported cannabis was helping address the most common conditions reported – pain, insomnia and anxiety.
While acknowledging cannabis shows potential, more evidence-based research is needed state the researchers. This includes determining efficacy and safety of different cannabis formulations in older adults, the conditions cannabis is most effective in treating and whether it could reduce the incidence of simultaneous use of multiple medications.
The UC San Diego study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
A study we mentioned back in 2018 of patients above 65 years of age who received medical cannabis via a specialised clinic indicated “therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in the elderly population”. Also in 2018, a U.S. national poll revealed 80% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 80 support the use of medical marijuana if it’s recommended by a physician.