Public Health and Safety

Marijuana Use and Older Adults

January 19, 2021

With the advent of the legalization of marijuana by some U.S. states, there has been a noted increase in use rates in recent years. One subgroup that has received attention is the use rates in older adults, ages 60 and older. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (January 2021, Vol.69, No1) attempts to shed light on this issue in, “Cannabis: An Emerging Treatment for Common Symptoms in Older Adults”.

Here the authors (Yang conducted a small scale clinic-based study in an affluent area in California. The study identified 83 geriatric clinic patients who self-reported using medical marijuana products during the last 3 years. The primary conditions they cited for use were, in order, pain, sleep disorders and anxiety. While there are some studies that suggest low-potency marijuana may be an alternative to prescription pain killers the authors offer a cautionary note. Specifically, that research into the drug interactions between marijuana and existing medications commonly prescribed to this age group, needs to be furthered to better understand potential adverse reactions. 

This paper offers resources into other studies focused on marijuana use and aging, demographic insights as well as an examination of preferred routes of administration. 

Read time: 5 – 10 Minutes

Image: / B. Aguirre