Cannabis for the Elderly is Becoming More Common. Are You Surprised?

cannabis use by the elderly

Thanks to varying legalization efforts across most of the country, Americans of all ages are now turning to cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. And — while most advertising is marketed at younger adults — there’s been a surprising uptick in the amount of middle-aged and baby boomers consulting their health professionals on this emerging trend. Cannabis is crossing generational barriers and bringing people of all backgrounds together in respect for this sacred plant. Pretty cool! Learn more about cannabis use by the elderly.

What’s the Research Say?

With the number of aging adults turning to cannabis it’s no surprise that a study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine found that older adults are increasingly using cannabis for medical purposes and health conditions including “pain, sleep disturbances and psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression”. Another publication from the Journal of the American Geriatric Society reported that aging consumers often don’t try cannabis until after 60-years-old, and specifically for medicinal reasons as opposed to recreational purposes. 

The stigma remains in certain communities, it seems. Remember many are products of a time when the War on Drugs was taking hold and propaganda ran rampant, especially in communities of color. It makes sense that older adults would be more hesitant to embrace legalization and decriminalization movements. 

Top Reasons Aging and Elderly Adults Are Turning To Cannabis

Chronic Pain

Said to be the most common reason the aging community visits their doctor is to inquire about medical marijuana to help them manage often debilitating chronic pain. This is one of the most popular reasons for cannabis use by the elderly. With past pain management options including opiates and other harmful pharmaceuticals, many boomers are finding a renewed hope in healing from a life of chronic pain.

Sleep Disturbances 

Over 50% of aging adults over the age of 65 complain about sleep difficulties. According to the cannabis nurse hotline, Leaf411, frequent calls about cannabis use for age-related sleep issues are inbound. “Seniors who experience insomnia later in life struggle to regulate and find joy in daily life. For some, cannabis and hemp products can be a solution”, according to Katherine Golden, RN and Co-Founder of Leaf411. 

The article goes on to explain that, “changes in seniors’ sleep architecture trace back to the aging brain, a phenomenon that researchers have managed to capture using imaging in the lab. Also, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, pain and many other common physical and mental health conditions may negatively impact sleep cycles. And, let’s not forget those everyday worries that keep all our minds preoccupied late into the night!, they reminded us. 

Anxiety and Depression

Like the rest of the world surviving COVID-19, experiences of depression and anxiety have been on the rise. The aging community is no different, and thanks to cannabis being deemed an essential business in many regulated states, boomers have a newer, greener option in mental health support. Not all choose to replace pharmaceuticals with plant-based mood regulators, but many are choosing to use cannabis in conjunction with traditional medicines. It’s important to remember that all consumers, regardless of age, consult a medical professional before incorporating cannabis into their mental health routine. 

Medication Interactions & Co-Morbidity

As we age, not only do we develop comorbidities, but we may begin to have adverse reactions to certain medicines and combinations of medicines. Especially given that cannabis has over a hundred compounds, according to a recent Harvard paper, it is imperative that anyone over 65 interested in trying hemp or cannabis products seek a professional for guidance. Which, we realize is a privilege not everyone has access to. That’s okay, too. Reach out to organizations like Leaf411 Org for more info. 

Now, What?

 While places like Canada and Israel conduct aging-related cannabis research, many feel that here in the United States we are yet again late to the party. That doesn’t mean that things won’t or can’t change. As the handful of states lacking cannabis decriminalization move toward legalization, more and more aging adults will be free to explore medical and adult-use of cannabis. 

It’s important to note that when seeking a sleep solution, especially for the aging community, it is essential to have a clear sense of where the problem is originating. Many different treatment options exist, but, like cannabis, it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. Consulting a medical professional, licensed cannabis nurse or other resources is highly recommended. You can also visit Cannabis for Seniors: Tips for Older Adults Trying Cannabis

If you’re an older adult considering using cannabis or a regular user of cannabis products, you’re going to need something to help protect your cannabis from the elements. Check out the CVault: the world’s smartest storage and curing container — no thinking required! 

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