APR 30, 2021 8:10 AM PDT

Screen Over-50s for Cannabis Use, Say Researchers

WRITTEN BY: Angela Dowden

Nearly one in 10 individuals older than age 50 used cannabis in the past year, with nearly one in five reporting medical use. Yet research on older cannabis users is scant — which is why this gap has been addressed in the latest (2018 /2019) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published April 29 in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

A key finding of this survey is that older people who use cannabis medicinally are failing to discuss this with doctors, the authors from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin, say in their peer-reviewed report. This is despite some of this group using cannabis every day of the year and others having mental health problems.

Data gleaned from the survey of more than 17,000 people aged 50 or over in the US found that older adults using cannabis for medical ailments were four times more likely to report their cannabis use to doctors than recreational users — but still less than 40 percent reported having such discussions.

The researchers say this is a concern and that doctors should screen older people routinely for cannabis and other substance use, check cannabis users for mental health problems, and recommend treatment when necessary. 

This study was also the first to identify where older users obtain their cannabis, with the researchers finding that a medical pharmacy is the least popular source (only 20 percent of medical users and only 5 percent of recreational users). Instead, more casual sources such as parties are the most popular way to acquire a supply (49 percent of medical and 56 percent of recreational users). 

What the majority of over-50s cannabis users agreed on was that obtaining cannabis was easy. This can only strengthen the case that screening for, and discussion of, cannabis use should be part of older adults’ routine healthcare.

 

Sources: EurekAlert!, T&F Online

About the Author
  • I'm a journalist and author with many year's experience of writing for both a consumer and professional audience, mostly on nutrition, health and medical prescribing. My background is food science and I'm a registered nutritionist.
You May Also Like
JUN 08, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Primers and Probes to Assay for SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Research Samples
JUN 08, 2021
Primers and Probes to Assay for SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Research Samples
Today, many scientists are investigating SARS-CoV-2 variants in their research projects. In order to facilitate screenin ...
MAY 27, 2021
Microbiology
Some Microbes May Protect the Gut From Chemo's Harmful Effects
MAY 27, 2021
Some Microbes May Protect the Gut From Chemo's Harmful Effects
The microbes in our gut can influence our physiology in many ways. Some gut microbes have a positive impact on human hea ...
MAY 30, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Massive Genetic Study Reveals Risk Factors for Depression
MAY 30, 2021
Massive Genetic Study Reveals Risk Factors for Depression
It's estimated that 20% of Americans has experienced depression and that 4% of the global population is depressed. Genet ...
JUN 03, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotics Ineffective Against Lung-Scarring Disease
JUN 03, 2021
Antibiotics Ineffective Against Lung-Scarring Disease
Researchers behind a large trial of antibiotics for chronic lung diseases have found that that the drugs are ineffective ...
JUN 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
JUN 04, 2021
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified 90 drugs that could be repurposed for trea ...
JUN 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
JUN 05, 2021
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
Washington State University (WSU) has announced the opening of a multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scie ...
Loading Comments...