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WIRE: More seniors using cannabis as a substitute for prescription pain killers

Emeryville, CA — Adults age 50 and older are far more likely to consume cannabis today than they were decades ago, according to population use data published in the journal Addiction.

Investigators with the Alcohol Research Group assessed trends in marijuana use between the years 1984 and 2015. Authors reported that, compared with older Americans 30 years ago, older respondents today are some 20 times more likely to acknowledge using cannabis.

“We found that rates of use among older groups increased quite significantly since the 1980s, especially for men in their fifties and sixties,” the study’s lead author stated in a press release. Their finding is consistent with those of other studies reporting upticks in cannabis use by seniors.

By contrast, respondents between the ages of 18 to 49 reported using cannabis at rates that are similar to those in the 1980s.

Separate data presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society finds that as many as 65 percent of older adults reduce their use of prescription painkillers after initiating medical cannabis therapy – a finding that is consistent with those of numerous other studies assessing marijuana substitution patterns in various patient populations.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

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