Number of US senior citizens using cannabis up 75% in three years

Greatest rise in use is among women, and racial and ethnic minorities, study finds

More US Seniors Are Smoking Marijuan

Next time you visit great-grandma’s house, you might want to check before eating her brownies. They might contain marijuana.

A new study says the number of Americans age 65 and older who smoke marijuana or enjoy edibles increased 75% from 2015 to 2018.

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Researchers at New York University School of Medicine analyzed data from the 2015-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They found cannabis use among the 14,896 respondents 65 and older increased from 2.4% to 4.2%. Cannabis use was determined by asking about marijuana, hashish, pot, grass and hash oil use either smoked or ingested.

"There were significant increases among women, individuals of white and nonwhite races/ethnicities, individuals with a college education, individuals with incomes of $20 000 to $49 000 and $75 000 or greater, and married individuals," the researchers wrote in the study, which was published earlier this week in JAMA.

The analysis also found a 180% relative increase in marijuana use among older Americans with diabetes.

An increase was also seen in how many older Americans were mixing marijuana and alcohol. A 2019 study — following legalization of marijuana in Washington — found significant increases in simultaneous cannabis and alcohol use among adults 50 years and older.

"Drinking alcohol before using weed can ramp up the effects of THC," Healthline reported. "If you're a seasoned pro, this might not be a huge deal. But if you're sensitive to weed or don't have much experience using it, it's best to avoid mixing the two. If you do, move slowly and be sure to listen to your body."

The general result, Healthline wrote, is a stronger high that can cause sweating, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

You can read the JAMA study here.

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