Older Americans are quickly turning to marijuana for common health problems as opposed to other types of drugs in recent years, according to a new study. Marijuana can be used to treat a number of ailments like pain, psychiatric conditions, sleep issues, and anxiety and depression.
Through the research of 550 patients asked, 15% admitted to having used cannabis within the past three years and a whopping 50% stated they do use the drug for medical purposes. 61% of those patients who used cannabis started after the age of 60.
Researcher Kevin Yang out of UCSD stated that "nearly three-fifths of cannabis users reported using cannabis for the first time as older adults." He also noted that they are more likely to use marijuana for medical reasons as opposed to recreational purposes. Most prefer to use the drug topically, typically as a lotion. They seem to prefer this even over ingesting the drug as edible.
Many older patients said that they are more likely to report their marijuana use to their doctor since it has become less stigmatized in recent years. In the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, it was reported that there is potential in using cannabis for medical purposes. However, they also noted that there needs to be more research to fully validate this claim. They are now implementing research to discover if cannabis is more useful than other potentially harmful drugs like benzodiazepines and opioids. They also aim to discover whether or not cannabis could potentially reduce the number of medications the older generations would have been on at the same time.
Since there is already evidence that marijuana can help with pain, mental health issues, sleep disturbances, and general anxiety issues, further research will be conducted to note which conditions it helps treat the most effectively.