Advocates have spent years trying to erase the dangerous image of cannabis, especially in the eyes of seniors.
Middle-aged and senior Americans are also starting to view cannabis much differently. CBS reported on the significant increase in cannabis users over 55. The report highlighted that nearly 50% of seniors live in states with legal cannabis.
CBS focused a portion of the news segment on California resident Sue Taylor. The 68-year-old former school principal eats healthy and has a rigorous exercise routine. She claims that cannabis helps her maintain her healthy lifestyle and helps her fight a number of ailments. “Number one is arthritis. There are tinctures and rubs that you could actually put on your legs, on your knees, across your back, wherever you’re having any arthritic pain. Most seniors use the cannabis for pain and to sleep.” She told CBS. “Seniors don’t want to get high; they want to get well. And the cannabis helps.”
Of course not all of Sue Taylor’s peers trusts in cannabis. Cannabis had been under siege for decades with notable examples such as the film Reefer Madness and Nixon’s War on Drugs. Slowly, research and patient testimonials have begun to change the conversation.
Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, has overseen Colorado’s historic implementation of their thriving legal cannabis market. Initially, he did not support the idea of legalizing recreational cannabis in Colorado but has since changed his view. At age 64, he understands the concerns of his peers. “For seniors that want to, kind of, relax and don’t want to use alcohol, this is a choice maybe that they will embrace more than others,” Hickenlooper told CBS.
If middle-aged and seniors open up further to cannabis, then there will be little opposition left. Healthcare costs are expected to rise steadily, making traditional pain medication more difficult to obtain, all while legal marijuana will likely increase in availability. Additionally, the opiate epidemic has proven itself to be a far greater health risk than anything seen in Reefer Madness.