The topic of cannabis has been stigmatized in our society for so long that you are shunned just to put out the idea that it is a beneficial plant. The recent talks on cannabis legalization all around the world seem like the people are slowly, but gradually waking up to the prospect that cannabis may just be the answer to many of their issues.
As the trend grew and more people got normalized with the cannabis word and arena, there has been a sprout in studies that aim to show the positive side of this green plant. Whether medical or recreational, Marijuana was never as harmful or toxic as people were made to believe. In fact, it is one of the oldest plants that was used some centuries ago for all the right reasons. We are going through evolution backwards when it comes to the cannabis industry!
Today, we are looking at the use of cannabis among senior citizens, particularly in the age of 60-65 and above. When someone says Marijuana, people tend to associate it with college students smoking around the campus. But with the widespread research and medical benefits, it has introduced a new fan base – the elderly people, and we have statistics to prove it.
If we compare the findings of 2015 with 2018, the percentage of adults using marijuana has almost doubled from 2.4% to 4.2%, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Recently, a similar kind of research was conducted by the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where over 171,000 seniors were polled. The findings of this study were consistent with what we have seen over the years and are evidence that the elderly are complacent with cannabis legalization.
During the past years, the UK has also seen a revolution when it comes to the stigmatized industry. With more head shops sprouting in the kingdom and people discussing Marijuana out in the open instead of whispering in hushed voices, it is really paving the way forward. Whether or not we are looking at legalization in the near future, we are definitely breaking down the build-up stereotypes and the general negative aura attached to Marijuana and its use.
Elder people usually use marijuana for the management of pain, anxiety, sleep issues, mood disorders, depression, and many other medical conditions. The move from pharmaceutical to cannabis shows that people are realizing the adverse side-effects involved with using prescription drugs like Opioids, which makes medical cannabis a better option.
The recent Netflix Documentary called “Weed the People” talks about the many arrays and unexplored benefits of medical marijuana that could potentially save millions of lives every day. With its cancer-fighting capabilities or its positive effect on mental health, the Medical marijuana field has been asking for more research and freedom to explore and bring options to the mainstream. And our seniors seem to back this decision!
The boomer generation also comes from a place when cannabis was not so tainted, or its use was not shamed. Most of the seniors today can state that they used Marijuana sometime in their youth, and hence, the whole concept is not as new as we think it is. Whether they make use of smoking accessories or any other way of consumption, they are not making use of a foreign substance, but something that has shown itself to be harmless and beneficial.
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano stated that the fact that seniors are using more cannabis than ever is not as astonishing as we think. As most of them had experimented first-hand with the substance in their youth, they were likely to come back to it as a potential therapy to help with the health-related issues that come with age.
“From 2016 to 2018, cannabis use increased for men in all age groups and most women. … Among those aged 65 to 69 years, cannabis use increased from 4.3 per cent to 8.2 per cent in men and from 2.1 per cent to 3.8 per cent in women,” the study explained.
As we see the staggering increase in the use of medical cannabis, particularly among adults, there is a dire need to give more freedom to cannabis-related research that dwells deeper into more serious issues like Parkinson’s, Cancer, Diabetes, etc. The need to legalize and appreciate Marijuana is now more than ever, especially if we realize that people lose life at the cost of this controversy.
This shift in the mindset and choice of elder people has led to a demographic shift which will be extremely crucial for Marijuana legalization. It does not just increase the population that are pro-cannabis but also amplifies the support amongst the most reliable and powerful voting block — seniors. If this is how the trend will grow, we will see many politicians and governments making a shift in their policies and views. This just might be the path to legalization in the USA and then the rest of the country.