As a growing number of older Americans use marijuana to treat pain and insomnia, experts are urging caution, The Washington Post reports.
A 2022 federal survey found that 8% of people 65 and older said they used marijuana in the past year, a rate that roughly doubled in seven years.
Many experts say that while marijuana has therapeutic value, older adults should be aware that it can interfere with medication they are taking, and can worsen some chronic conditions. Older people may not be aware that high-potency marijuana products are much stronger than marijuana they smoked in their youth, and may cause unknown long-term effects.
A recent research review suggests marijuana use in older adults is associated with greater frequencies of mental health issues, cognitive impairment and accidents. The authors said the findings underscore the need for more research on the effect of marijuana on older adults.
Another recent study found that older people with any combination of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol who used marijuana significantly increased their risk for a major acute heart or brain event while hospitalized, compared to those who reported not using marijuana.