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AARP Finds Most Older Americans Support Medical Marijuana

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A survey conducted by AARP and the University of Michigan found that most older Americans believe that medical marijuana works effectively for chronic pain. They also believe it should be accessible via a doctor’s recommendation. And 80% of those responding to the National Poll on Healthy Aging say they’d support medical marijuana use under a doctor’s permission.

Those polled agree that medical marijuana is effective for anxiety, appetite loss and pain relief, reports AARP.  Of the survey respondents, 60% do not support medical marijuana use without a doctor’s recommendation. 6% of respondents acknowledge current medical marijuana use, while 18% know someone that uses medical marijuana.

Alison Bryant of AARP said, “I’d say this is a tipping point for medical marijuana. As more of a person’s acquaintances use it, it becomes more normalized.”

Respondents were asked to compare the effects and addictive potential of medical marijuana in comparison to pharmaceutical pain management options. Almost half say that pharmaceuticals are more effective while 14% acknowledge that medical marijuana works better. 48% also say that pharmaceuticals are more addictive, but 14%  disagree saying that marijuana is more addictive.

Preeti Malani of the University of Michigan and poll director said, “We already worry about memory loss with this population. Is it accelerated in older adults who use medical marijuana? Older people may be more vulnerable to marijuana’s effects. Now that more than half of the states have legalized medical marijuana, we need more research.”

Half of those reporting current medical marijuana use say that their primary care doctor recommended its use.

While 70% of those surveyed said they’d consider using medical marijuana to treat a serious health condition, 64% agreed that more federal-funded research regarding the health effects of marijuana is needed.

A total of 2,007 people between the ages of 50 and 80 were surveyed.

Photo: @WillieNelson