Despite stereotypes about younger people being more likely to consume cannabis, a new study revealed that the older population is turning to cannabis at a faster rate.
According to Science Daily, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado officially outlines just how much cannabis is consumed by seniors. However, the study also suggests that cannabis is still not as easily accessible for that age group.
Researchers analyzed 17 focus groups across Colorado and interviewed 136 people over 60 years of age. Still, despite where the survey was conducted, seniors even in a legal state are having a hard time accessing cannabis as medication.
“Older Americans are using cannabis for a lot of different reasons,” study co-author Dr. Hillary Lum from the University of Colorado School of Medicine told Science Daily. “Some use it to manage pain, while others use it for depression or anxiety. From a physician’s standpoint, this study shows the need to talk to patients in a non-judgmental way about cannabis. Doctors should also educate themselves about the risks and benefits of cannabis and be able to communicate that effectively to patients.”
More medical patients are finally feeling comfortable telling their medical practitioner about cannabis consumption. “I think [doctors can] be a lot more open to learning about it and discussing it with their patients,” said one focus group respondent. “Because at this point I have told my primary care I was using it on my shoulder. And that was the end of the conversation. He didn’t want to know why; he didn’t want to know about effects, didn’t want to know about side effects, didn’t want to know anything.”
According to Civilized, medical cannabis could be a safer alternative for older patients who are currently taking opioids or other medication for pain. Seniors are relying on cannabis more than ever as legalization is spreading, and it’s clear that even more access is needed for older cannabis users.