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Cannabis Consumption is Rising Among Seniors

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Recent data shows that more seniors over the age of 65 now smoke cannabis than they did in 2015.

According to CNN and research published Feb. 24 in The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2018 saw the number of seniors who consume cannabis double from 2015. “I am an absolute chronic insomniac. I have been ever since I was a little tiny child—it just drives me crazy,” said Carol Collins, a senior cannabis patient based in California. “I take this little cube and it just makes me drowsy so I can sleep and doesn’t leave me groggy in the morning.”

“What I’m seeing in my clinic are a lot of older adults who are very curious about cannabis to treat this or that chronic disease and symptoms,” said Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and co-author of the study.

In addition to the recent growth in senior cannabis use, the numbers have been steadily increasing. In 2006, 0.4 percent of seniors of 65 claimed they used cannabis. By 2015 that number had doubled, and it doubled again by 2018.

However, despite the fact that most seniors are using cannabis as medicine, some medical professionals are concerned about the sharp spike in cannabis use in elders with conditions like diabetes. There was a 180 percent relative increase over the study period in folks with diabetes using cannabis. The concern is that, unlike other conditions, like cancer, diabetes is not known to be treatable with cannabis.

This isn’t the first data gathered showing that cannabis use in seniors is growing. Another recent study shows seniors are the fastest-growing group who uses cannabis, and despite stigmas about seniors being against cannabis, most actually support medical consumption.