Marijuana Consumption Amongst Baby Boomers Has Doubled In The Past Decade, Study Reveals

It looks as if cannabis consumption amongst the elder generations is on a meteoric rise, according to a report from NBC affiliate KOAA News 5. The latest research into the patterns of marijuana use amongst the age cohort ranging from 50 to 64 has delivered some novel results, indicating that the prevalence of cannabis consumption in this demographic has doubled over the course of the past decade.

The study, published by researchers from New York University in the academic journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, according to Science Daily, shows that 9 percent of respondents aged 50 to 64 had partaken of the herb in the past year — as well as 2.9 percent of those aged 65 and older. These numbers represent a doubling of those found in a study during the previous decade, which yielded a positive response from those questioned of 4.5 percent in the former group and a mere 0.4 percent in the latter.

While researchers and analysts suggest that there is some natural progression to the uptick in marijuana usage amongst older citizens as the so-called flower children — or “hippies” — of the 1970s find themselves advancing in age as the years plod on, there may be another imminent factor in the form of governmental legalization of recreational cannabis. In addition to the graying counter-cultural crowd from decades past finally being able to puff in peace, elderly patients seeking pain relief and an increased appetite in their golden years may also be selecting cannabis as a medical option — with prescription or without.

“[They’re using it to] remove some of their pharma and some of their narcotics that they’re utilizing,” KOAA quotes Kris Fowlkes, owner of The Dankery Medical Dispensary, as saying.

Young adults are still, by far, the most frequent consumers of cannabis indica and sativa, as the study is quick to point out.

Attitudes surrounding the cannabis plant are shifting somewhat quickly in North America, with Canada set to legalize the flowers of the plant for recreational use as of October 17, 2018, according to Business Insider. While some provinces and territories have the option to opt-out of certain legislative options such as home grows and home cultivation, many provinces, such as Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador have decided to allow their citizens these additional benefits.

In the United States, the issue is still hotly debated, despite many states having already opted to legalize recreational marijuana use. As Esquire reports, it remains an uphill battle, with the federal government still maintaining cannabis as a Schedule I drug with severe legal consequences for cultivation and possession despite nine states having voted to legalize already.

A softening stigma, even amongst the older and traditionally more conservative cohor,t may signal a sea change in the public perception of the plant. Even President Donald Trump, as Forbes reports, may be in the early stages of signaling a federal decriminalization move that would see the issue pushed back to the states, many of which would likely legalize at the next available ballot initiative.