Baby Boomers Consume Cannabis in Record Numbers

New findings suggest that more Baby Boomers are consuming cannabis than ever before.

Baby Boomers were the first Americans to publicly smoke cannabis on the scale that was seen during the tumultuous 1960’s, inducing panic in the media because of the culture, lyrics and fashion inspired by the plant. They were the first to bring back bamboo bong technology and the “shotgunning” technique back from Vietnam. They were also one of the first generations of Americans to smoke high potency cannabis in the form of Thai sticks. But today, more Baby Boomers are willing to try cannabis, perhaps because of the abundance of information that is now available.

The study, “Marijuana Use Among Adults 50 Years or Older in the 21st Century,” was recently published in the journal Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. Cannabis use among Baby Boomers soared 71.4 percent between 2006 and 2013. The study also indicated that “a larger proportion of adults in the older adult population used marijuana medicinally in contrast to recreational use.”

Medical cannabis is a much newer concept than recreational cannabis, with the first statewide medical cannabis program appearing in 1996.

According to survey data, the prevalence of cannabis use among Baby Boomers is smaller in comparison to younger age groups, such as Gen-Xers or Millenials. That said, older adults make up the fastest-growing group of Americans that consume cannabis.

“The geriatric population is my fastest-growing patient population. With medical marijuana, I’m taking more patients off opioids,” Dr. Mark Wallace, a board member of the American Pain Society, told WebMD. “There’s never been a reported death from medical marijuana, yet there are 19,000 deaths a year from prescription opioids. Medical cannabis is probably safer than a lot of drugs we give.”

Anyone born after the end of World War 2 (1945) and before 1964 is defined as a “Baby Boomer.” While recreational cannabis is certainly nothing new for that generation, medical cannabis is helping increase the popularity of the plant.

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