Even before the pandemic, researchers were reporting on the growing popularity of cannabis among older adults, although the proportion using it (or at least acknowledging its use) remained small.
Last spring, an analysis based on the National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that marijuana use in the prior year among people over 65 had jumped 75 percent from 2015 to 2018, from 2.4 percent of that group to 4.2 percent. By 2019, use had reached 5 percent.
Anne Markel-Crozier, a certified social worker, and Matthew Brasette, an attorney, addressed the crowd at a recent lecture at Stockton University in Manahawkin. They were discussing the use of medical marijuana among older adults in New Jersey.
They had plenty to talk about. According to data gathered from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 and 2016, about 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 had used marijuana in the previous year. About 3 percent of people over 65 used pot in that same time period.
According to a recent study by researchers at New York University School of Medicine, and the Center for Drug Use, 9% of the responding adults between fifty and sixty-four reported using marijuana. The rate in seniors sixty-five and over was reported to be about 3%. Since the Census Bureau reports there are over 47.8 million adults in the US, this means close to 1.5 million people over sixty-five used marijuana in 2015-2016.
Five marijuana patients, ages 81 to 93, who live in New Jersey, where medical marijuana has been legal for eight years, agreed to be interviewed for this article. All five said that they were glad they tried it, as seniors, for the first time.
Most use the edible form because it's easier than smoking it and doesn't leave a telltale odor that makes them feel sheepish when visitors come to their home or assisted-living facility.
A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence this month suggests that increasing numbers of middle aged and older adults are using marijuana — and using it a lot.
The analysis comes from data gathered in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 and 2016. About 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 used marijuana in the the previous year, according to survey results. About 3 percent of people over 65 used the drug in that time period.