As legalization continues to sweep through the United States, researchers are beginning to see a spike in marijuana use among older Americans. Most recently, a study published in the medical journal Addiction found that the baby-boomer generation is reporting higher rates of marijuana use than any other preceding generation.
Using data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2006-2013, researchers evaluated the responses from 47,140 adults over the age of 50. Researchers found that marijuana use among adults over 50 increased by 71 percent, with the biggest increases occurring in adults between the ages of 50 and 64.
Although marijuana use among adults 65 or older was significantly lower, overall use still increased by two and a half times.
Speaking with News Medical, study co-author Dr. Joseph J. Palamar noted that the increase of marijuana use among older Americans is little cause for concern.
“As our results suggest that only 4% started use after age 35. It is probable that most older users are at least somewhat experienced and are hopefully at reasonably low risk of harming themselves or others after use,” Palamar said.
According to MJINews, other studies have also shown a significant increase of marijuana use among adults over the age of 50, indicating that the baby-boomer generation could be an untapped market for the legal marijuana industry.