Marijuana use rising sharply among seniors over 65, study says


(CNN) — The sweet scent of baking cookies wafting from grandma’s house may be mixed with a more pungent aroma these days. The smell of marijuana.

The number of American seniors over age 65 who now smoke marijuana or use edibles increased two-fold between 2015 and 2018, according to research published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The research finds use was highest among women, racial or ethnic minorities, seniors who were married, college-educated or had mental health issues and incomes from $20,000 to $49,000 and $75,000 or higher.

Some worrisome findings were also found in the report.

A startling rise in use was found in seniors over 65 with diabetes — a 180% relative increase over the study period. Unlike cancer or Parkinson’s, diabetes is not a disease for which marijuana would typically be considered. As well as an increase in cannabis use among older adults who also use alcohol.

In 2015, only 2.9% of seniors reported both alcohol and cannabis use (although the data cannot say if they use simultaneously). By 2018 it had jumped to 6.3%.

Researches say small studies have shown cannabis may be harmful for people who recently had heart attacks.

According to the CDC, the effects of marijuana differ from person to person and depend on previous use, biology, gender and how the drug is taken.

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