Friday, September 7, 2018
Older Americans are using more marijuana, according to a new study from the NYU School of Medicine and the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research. "Marijuana use is becoming more prevalent among middle-aged and older adults," researchers found, "with 9 percent of adults aged 50-64 and nearly 3 percent of adults 65 and older reporting marijuana use in the past year."
In the study, researchers analyzed responses from 17,608 adults aged 50 and older from the 2015-2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Participants were asked about their marijuana use, including when they first used it and whether they used it in the past year.
While typical marijuana users are young adults, baby boomers are unique because they have had more experience with recreational drug use than any other generation. Furthermore, as attitudes shift and access to marijuana improves, "baby boomers--many of whom have prior experience smoking marijuana--are increasingly using it," said the study's lead author, Dr. Benjamin Han.
"This doesn't mean [baby boomers] have been smoking marijuana for all these years, but most current users are by no means new initiates," said researcher Dr. Joseph Palamar, the study's senior author.
However, baby boomers may be taking advantage of new medical marijuana laws to treat the ailments of old age. In fact, according to an article in the Washington Post, the survey used as the basis of the study did not differentiate between medical and recreational use of marijuana. Thus, it is unclear whether baby boomers are turning to marijuana for medical or recreational reasons.