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Cannabis Use Among Seniors Rises Sharply

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin H. Han, MD MPH Assistant Professor Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care New York University School of Medicine

Dr. Han

Benjamin H. Han, MD MPH
Assistant Professor
Division of Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care
New York University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In the past, the prevalence of cannabis use (both for recreational and for medicinal purposes) was very low among adults age 65 and older. As a reference, the national prevalence rate of past-year cannabis use among adults age 65 and older in 2006-2007 was 0.4%, it has increased dramatically since then.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our study looked at trends in past-year cannabis use in this population from 2015 to 2018 and found a 75% increase to a prevalence of 4.2%. We also looked at subgroups of older adults and found significant large increases among women, those with higher education and incomes, those who are married, people with diabetes, and those who use alcohol.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: – We are continuing to see sharp increases nationally in cannabis use among adults age 65 and older. Healthcare providers should be aware that increasingly their older patients may be using cannabis.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: – We know very little about the benefits and risks of cannabis use. This is especially true for older adults who may be much more vulnerable to the harms of cannabis, but also may benefit most from its use given their higher burden of chronic medical disease. This is an area with very little evidence, and therefore we need much more research to better inform healthcare providers and patients on weighing the benefits and risks of cannabis use for specific patients. 

No other disclosures.

Citation:

Han BH, Palamar JJ. Trends in Cannabis Use Among Older Adults in the United States, 2015-2018. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.7517

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Feb 24, 2020 @ 5:54 pm

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