Marijuana Use Among Older Adults: A Growing Trend with Complex Implications

Senior using medical marijuana

Marijuana use among older adults is on the rise, and it’s not just about recreational enjoyment. As more seniors turn to cannabis for various reasons, including pain management and sleep improvement, the landscape of health care encounters related to marijuana is evolving. A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sheds light on this trend among Medicare beneficiaries. Let’s explore the findings and the challenges associated with cannabis use in older populations.

The Study:

From 2017 through 2022, rates of health care encounters involving cannabis-related disorders increased among Medicare beneficiaries. The study analyzed data from nearly 56 million Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older, excluding nursing home residents and dialysis patients. Researchers considered over three dozen cannabis disorders, ranging from abuse with withdrawal to dependence with intoxication delirium.

Senior using medical marijuana

State of Legalization:

Interestingly, the increase in medical encounters related to cannabis disorders occurred regardless of a state or territory’s cannabis laws. However, the highest rates were observed in locations where cannabis is legal for both medical and adult recreational use, with approximately 45 encounters per 10,000 beneficiaries in 2022. States or territories where only medical cannabis is legal had a rate of 42 per capita, while places where cannabis is illegal reported 28 encounters.

Challenges and Policy Implications:

The study highlights the need for a nuanced approach to cannabis use among older adults. While legalization has expanded access, it also raises questions about safety, risk perception, and policy changes. Strengthening the connection between cannabis and health care can help ensure that older adults consume the drug safely.

As marijuana becomes increasingly accepted and accessible, conversations around its use must evolve. Understanding the benefits, risks, and potential consequences is essential for both seniors and health care providers.

By Lily Evans

Lily Evans is a talented content writer at CBD Strains Only, bringing creativity and passion to her work in the CBD industry. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to delivering engaging content, Lily's articles aim to educate and inspire readers about the benefits of CBD. Through her in-depth research and informative writing style, Lily strives to provide valuable insights into the world of CBD and its potential for enhancing wellness.

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