Stoner Parents – Marijuana Use Is Up Among Baby Boomers
While most people that conjure up an image of what they think a marijuana user looks like, might picture a young adult, studies show that the aging Baby Boomer generation is actually more likely to use marijuana than their children.
Data released by the Centers for Disease Control tracks marijuana usage among different age grounds from 2002 to 2014 and found that use among aged between 55 and 64 years old spiked 455%. In contrast, usage rate for those between 18- and 25-years old only rose 10%.
This increase in marijuana use could be linked to the recent legalizations of recreational marijuana in states across the country. In addition, medical marijuana use has now be legalized in 22 states. Indeed, studies have shown that medical marijuana legalization has increased pot use among every age group.
For an aging population, it would make sense that medical conditions could be a contributor to the raising number of Baby Boomers using marijuana. Many conditions that Baby Boomers are facing now – like glaucoma, nausea, cancers, Alzheimer’s, neurological symptoms, and more – can be treated through the use of marijuana.
Unfortunately, this drastic spike in marijuana use amongst older generations throws into sharp relief knowledge that most research on the effects of marijuana have, at this point, be done regarding children and teens. Researchers do not know the effects that marijuana could have upon an older body.
While marijuana has been shown to have therapeutic use, it can also be dangerous. Marijuana-related trips to emergency rooms have also risen among 55- to 64-year olds from 3,671 in 2004 to 14,019 a mere six years later according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network.
Dr. Susan Weiss, the scientific advisor to the director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, told the Huffington Post, that the negative effects of marijuana can be stronger in older users. “For somebody who is older, the effects may be the same, but the baseline is different. … As you get older, you metabolize drugs more slowly so they can stay in your system a lot longer.”
For older users, these effects might include short-term memory impairment, tachycardia, rapid breathing, high blood pressure, and medical interactions that could lead to increase impairment and falls. Medicines that interact negatively with marijuana include barbiturates, Ambien, and Ativan.
It is also important to note that marijuana is a lot stronger today than the pot Baby Boomers might have become acquainted with in their youth, which means that older people might be exposed more to the THC, the active ingredient in marijuana unintentionally.