A recent study highlighted a significant rise in marijuana use for those above the age of 50.
Marijuana use is on the rise, but the increase is among a demographic that may surprise some. Marijuana use among teens (and high school students in particular) has remained steady despite newly legal states and has even dropped slightly among eighth graders.
A recent study conducted by the Society for the Study of Addiction highlighted an uptick in marijuana consumption for a much older age group, those over the age of 50. In 2006, 4.5 percent of people between the ages of 50-64 reported using marijuana at least once per year. Now that number has risen to 7.1 percent. Although the vast majority of this age bracket still does not consume marijuana, the numbers are rising quickly (57.8 percent increase in one decade). The study surveyed a total of 47,140 participants.
Although the study does not indicate exactly why the increases in consumption are occurring, there could be several factors at play. Individuals who were part of counterculture movement of the 1960s and ’70s could be one driver of the trend. Their views on marijuana would likely be more progressive in comparison to previous generations. Additionally, as prescription drug prices and side effects raise red flags, some may want to turn alternative medical treatments.
Overall, attitudes toward recreational and medical marijuana use are becoming more positive. With eight states enacting major marijuana reform last month, and more surely to come, should we expect to see more people over 50 consuming marijuana?