The fastest-growing group of users is over 50 – and marijuana’s popularity among seniors is beginning to change the American experience of old age.
Why are more seniors getting high? It might make more sense to ask: “Why not?” As adults reach retirement, they age out of drug tests and have far more time on their hands. Some feel liberated to abandon long-held proprieties.
Elegant vape pens and other attractive, discreet products have helped de stigmatize the drug among older Americans. “Legalization seems to make non-users seem a little less scared of it, and perhaps less judgmental.
The seniors using cannabis today aren’t your parents’ grandparents. They’ve been around grass long enough to realize it’s not going to kill them, and are more open to the possibility it will come with health benefits.
Seniors’ affinity for weed is beginning to ripple across the US healthcare system. A 2016 study found that in states with access to medical marijuana, those using Medicare part D – a benefit primarily for seniors – received fewer prescriptions for other drugs to treat depression, anxiety, pain, and other chronic issues.
A study published last year in in the Journal of the American Medical Association found opioid prescriptions for Medicare part D recipients dropped 14% after a state legalized medical marijuana – a hopeful sign amid the opioids crisis.
While some doctors have expressed concerns about seniors self-medicating with weed, virtually everyone agrees the public health consequences of opioids are far worse.
For someone who hasn’t seen a joint in 40 years, the modern dispensary can be a dizzying experience replete with dozens of cannabis products from– topicals (lotions), tinctures, sprays, edibles all promising to help you feel better, but also to get you stoned.