One of the most common thoughts about cannabis consumption is that it is a youthful indiscretion, one that most people eventually grow out of or just wanted to "experiment". However, according to a new federal study, many people either never stopped, or get back into it when the kids are out of the house. In fact, in the past 15 years, not only has the number of people in the age group 55-64 held between 6% and 8%, but the number of people smoking over the age of 65 years of age has actually grown from under .25% in 2002 to 2.4% in 2017.
Now, it should be noted that this survey is based on anonymous self reporting. People were asked if they had used cannabis in the past 30 days or not. The results often signal a combination of more people utilizing the drug, as well as people being comfortable reporting (even anonymously) that they have utilized the drug. The report of course still leaves open the question of whether these are individuals who are trying weed for the first time or are returning to it after a long absence.
The arguments for returning to weed are substantial, especially if it is being used as a substitute for alcohol. For example, people in the over 65 category are often afflicted by high blood pressure, a condition exacerbated by drinking alcohol. However, switching over to weed has been shown to lower blood pressure.
In addition, with more and more states liberalizing the use of cannabis, the risk one takes by taking up a habit from a younger age rises. Everyone knows young people are more prone to risky behavior so the relaxation of draconian laws may have simply made older americans feel safer taking up the plant once more.
It could also be that people just aren't stopping using weed in the first place. If 8% of Americans 55-64 were using weed in 2002, everyone still around 15 years later are now in the 65+ age grouping. In fact, a larger question may be why people have stopped using it rather than why they have started.
If you want to see a live report of what it's like to see grandmothers trying weed for the first time. Check out this great piece from Strange Buds.