A recent nationwide survey has found that cannabis users include an increasing number of adults over 50 in the U.S. The number of older people smoking marijuana has gone up by 70% over the last ten years according to the study published in the journal Addiction.
These surprising findings worried Dr. Joseph J. Palamar of New York University and his colleagues who had been previously concerned about marijuana's influence on teenagers or young adults that were considered the most active groups of weed users.
As medical cannabis is legal in 28 American states, and eight states have legalized recreational use of weed, older people consume it illegally across the whole nation.
The researchers have analyzed the answers of 47,140 adults over 50 who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The findings revealed that the number of baby boomers who used weed had increased by 71% between 2006 and 2013. Male consumers also demonstrated being more inclined to consuming marijuana than females.
The scientists are sure that this spike is related to the unprecedented aging of the American population. They also underlined the importance of understanding why so many people from older generations prefer marijuana and how the drug affects their health especially in cases of combining weed with pharmaceutical drugs or other illegal substances.
According to Palamar, only 5% of the respondents expressed a fear that using cannabis once or twice a week may cause harm to their health. This was quite surprising in contrast to the common belief that senior citizens are marijuana opponents and consider the herb dangerous.
Actually, very few elders think that cannabis is risky because they were growing up during the time when marijuana use was becoming popular thanks to the counterculture revolution. Most people who took part in the survey confessed that they had first tried cannabis when they were 18 years old. Since that age, they continued smoking weed or went back to their old habit after some time.