Why Is Cannabis Use Increasing in Over-50s?


There has been an interesting rise in Americans over 50 dabbling with marijuana. The rates of older people engaging with cannabis rose by 455% from 2002 to 2014, and the figure is likely to increase. There could be many reasons for this, with scholars and scientists debating which ones are most likely. Some cite issues with pain, increased awareness and widespread scientific information on cannabis, while others suggest changing attitudes to an aging population are behind it. Perhaps pop culture exposure such as the Kathy Bates Netflix show Disjointed, in which she plays a medicinal marijuana dispenser, has also played a role in softening attitudes and providing information about cannabis.

The legalization of marijuana in many states could be a reason for this, as it is more accessible for those who might not have had a chance to dabble beforehand. The widespread benefits of medicinal marijuana could also be a factor as those over 50 are more likely to report chronic issues that medicinal marijuana might be able to help with. Indeed, research into cannabis and CBD oil has been given more publicity and is more available to give people honest and empirically sound evidence behind cannabis. The more states legalize it, the more likely scientists are to begin looking further into cannabinoids’ specific effects. Delivery services like Grass Door are bringing cannabis right to your door in States that have legalized it.

Another factor as to why older people are engaging more with cannabis could be that there are increasing ways in which to indulge – such as cooking it. Older people, who might have a lifetime of recipes to experiment with, may consider making hash brownies as a way to try the recently legalized drug, while others might benefit from the reported health benefits that edible cannabis has been suggested to have. Cooking with cannabis doesn’t negate the effects of it, as decarboxylation can help to unlock the cannabinoids that have been shown to make cannabis beneficial to health. The process involves breaking down the carbon atom from the condensed CO2 molecule that occurs during the carboxylation that happens as a part of photosynthesis.

In fact, every Democratic candidate for the 2020 Presidential Election has opined that marijuana should be fully legalized (or “decriminalized,” for Joe Biden). Even President Trump has been pressured to offer something similar for his next campaign in order to compete and match the progressive views. With such a positive response from the leadership and from both sides of the House, it stands to reason that this will result in a shift in opinions. Widespread availability and legalization of cannabis and its by-products will influence how the industry is treated in terms of the economy.

The rise in older people engaging with cannabis is likely to increase. As generations continue to shift, attitudes to cannabis are likely to soften. There will be continued growth, whether older people are dabbling with the food that can be made with cannabis, are using medicinal marijuana for pain and other health benefits, are influenced by the fact that those most likely to end up in government are themselves softening to cannabis.

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