According to new research, more senior citizens are reaching for marijuana.
A new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence has found that 9% of US adults between the ages of 50 and 64 have used marijuana at least once during the survey year.
“Most of these people are not first-time users,” said Joseph Palamar, senior study author and an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at New York University Langone Medical Center.
“I don’t think we need to worry about millions of older people trying weed for the first time,” he said. “At least not yet.”
The study examined the data of 17,608 adults who were 50 and older and took the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a survey conducted each year since 1971 in all states by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“We found high rates of unhealthy substance use (tobacco, alcohol, prescription drug misuse) by middle-aged and older adults who use marijuana,” Dr. Benjamin Han, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine, wrote.
“Combining marijuana with alcohol can really knock someone on their ass if they weren’t expecting such strong effects,” noted Han.
“I get asked more and more by older patients if they should try marijuana, mostly for sleep or pain,” said Han. “Marijuana may be therapeutically useful for a variety of symptoms and medical conditions, but the research in this area is extremely limited.”