As cannabis education and availability increase around the U.S. there is an interesting shift in the different age groups who are using cannabis. While teen use has dropped from 8% in 2002 down to 6.5% in 2017, baby boomers, those in their 50's and 60's, have shown a large increase in use of around 1% in 2002 to 6.7% in 2017. Even seniors over 65 years of age have begun consuming cannabis at higher rates in the last 10 years. Some might think that the baby boomers are revisiting some of their early years when they were big supporters of cannabis in the 60's and 70's. But with the availability of medical marijuana it's very likely that they either heard about or were recommended cannabis to help with the natural aches and pains that come with old age.
Finally, medical concerns appear to be a key factor driving marijuana use among older Americans. A recent study conducted by Benjamin Han and Joseph Palamar of New York University found that more than 20 percent of marijuana users over age 65 said a doctor recommended they try the drug. Other research has shown that marijuana is particularly effective at treating chronic pain, which is particularly prevalent among the elderly. Several recent studies have found that Medicare prescriptions for opiate painkillers are lower in states with medical marijuana programs.