Bottom Line: Cannabis use apparently continues to increase among older adults in the U.S. based on findings reported in this research letter. Researchers analyzed national survey data from 2015-2018 for nearly 15,000 adults 65 and older to estimate how common past-year cannabis use was. Previous studies have indicated sharp increases from 2006-2016. Cannabis has been legalized in many states for medical and recreational use. Authors of the current study estimate the proportion of adults who reported past-year marijuana use increased from 2.4% to 4.2% from 2015 to 2018. There appeared to be significant increases in use during that time among women, people who were white or nonwhite racial/ethnic minorities, adults with a college education, people with higher incomes, those who are married, and adults who reported receiving mental health treatment or using alcohol, and people with diabetes. A limitation of the study is the possibility of limited recall by the respondents. There is a need to better understand both the benefits and risks of marijuana use among older adults.
Authors: Benjamin H. Han, M.D., M.P.H., and Joseph J. Palamar, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the New York University School of Medicine, New York.
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