For the new study, 568 people who were 60 years old or older were interviewed. 15 percent of them stated that they had used cannabis within the last three years. Half of these persons used cannabis regularly and mainly for medical purposes. It was also found that 61 percent of the people using cannabis had not started using it until after the age of 60.
Older people use cannabis more often to treat their health problems, according to a new study involving researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The use of cannabis for medical reasons among older people seems to be becoming more common, which is associated with various health benefits. For example, cannabis is used to treat pain, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression.
Why do people use cannabis?
“Pain, insomnia and anxiety were the most common reasons for cannabis use, and most people reported that cannabis helps to cope with these problems, especially insomnia and pain,” reports study author Dr. Christopher Kaufmann of UC San Diego in a press release. “Surprisingly, we found that almost three-fifths of cannabis users reported having used cannabis for the first time as older adults,” adds study author Kevin Yang of UC San Diego.
In addition, the availability of pure CBD products continues to increase and, unlike THC-containing products, these are non-psychoactive, the researchers explain. It is likely that future surveys will continue to document a larger proportion of older adults who use cannabis or cannabis-based products, the experts add.
The results show that the use of cannabis among older people is increasing and therefore both the benefits and risks in this group of people should be considered, the researchers explain. In addition, the researchers emphasize the importance of including evidence-based information on cannabis use in medical education and treating questions about cannabis screening as a regular part of hospital visits.
According to the experts, future studies are essential to better understand the efficacy and safety of different cannabis applications for the treatment of common diseases in older adults. In this way, the benefits could be optimized and possible risks and harms could be minimized.
Cannabis has a high potential for medical use, but we need more evidence-based research, Kaufmann emphasizes. The researchers are therefore already planning studies to investigate how cannabis works compared to currently available drugs and whether cannabis is a safer alternative to treatment with opioids and benzodiazepines. The question also arises whether cannabis could help to reduce the simultaneous use of several drugs in the elderly and for which diseases cannabis is most effective. (as)
Cannabis as medicine for the elderly?
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.