Cannabis culture is one that many people relate to youth. You know, those crazy kids and their pot! But actually, a growing number of older individuals are turning to cannabis to help them through their golden years.
The baby boomer generation, that is those born in the fifties or early sixties, were children when the Summer of Love and the strong move towards cannabis use was first gaining momentum. In their adult years, they were in the midst of the infamous War on Drugs. However, this hasn’t stopped them from using the versatile plant to treat a number of ailments.
A study done between 2006-2013 based on 47,140 responses collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, found that many baby boomers use cannabis or in the least are becoming more cannabis-positive. Individuals between 50-64 had the highest rate of smokers. After that, the numbers decrease. Education, vocation, and marital status were not very influential on the results. Both men and women were surveyed to partake.
These high numbers of baby boomers now using cannabis is due to a number of factors. The first of which is the level of tolerance towards cannabis has increased significantly in the last few decades and boomers have been there to watch that progression. In addition, aging causes all sorts of aches, pains, and other ailments. Older users also noted anxiety and depression as reasons for use.
This is mostly a positive trend with one caveat: cannabis has not been thoroughly researched when it comes to how it interacts with pharmaceutical medications. This means we can’t say with any certainty that cannabis therapy is always the best choice for older individuals who may be on a myriad of other medications.
Head author of the study, Benjamin Han noted, “While there may be benefits to using marijuana, such as chronic pain, there may be risks that we don’t know about”. The only viable solution to this is further testing, which under the current political climate can be like pulling teeth. Still, as attitudes evolve towards cannabis research becomes more attainable. Soon the boomers may find that cannabis therapy is a perfectly safe option for treatment.
Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.