It’s commonly misconstrued that younger generations are the predominant marijuana users. But, NYU recently conducted a study that reveals marijuana use is actually more prevalent among Baby Boomers than any other generation.
The study was conducted by Dr. Han of Center for Drug Use and HIV Research and NYU, between 2006 and 2013 to determine demographic trends in older marijuana users in the U.S., and published by Addiction, according to NYU. Baby Boomers are classified as adults over age 50.
Responses from 47,140 American adults over age 50 were calculated in the study. Between 2006 and 2013, there was a 71% increase in marijuana use among those ages 50 and older. Men appear to use marijuana more often than women in this demographic group.
Dr. Han said, “Given the unprecedented aging of the U.S. population, we are facing a never before seen cohort of older adults who use recreational drugs. With the increased availability of legalized marijuana, there is an urgent need to understand the prevalence of its use and also its effects among older generations. The paucity of knowledge in this area constrains the care for a changing demographic of older adults with higher rates of substance use.”
NYU assistant professor and affiliated study researcher Dr. Joseph J. Palamar, said, “We found only five percent of these older users felt using marijuana once or twice a week was a great risk to their health.”
Dr. Palamar also said, “I thought the perception of low risk was fascinating because, typically, we think of older generations as drug-adverse, and perceiving most drugs to be risky. But apparently very few Baby Boomer users consider marijuana use risky. But after all, this was the generation who was there, in the late 1960s, when the counterculture revolution exploded marijuana into mainstream popularity.”
Dr. Han also commented that, “Older people may use marijuana for a variety of reasons—including medical reasons—however we need to make sure they are not using in a hazardous manner since older adults may be vulnerable to its possible adverse effects. One particular concern for older users is the risk of falls while using marijuana, however this has not yet been studied.”