Members of the generation that came of age in the era of marijuana are reaching for weed in their golden years.
A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence this month suggests that increasing numbers of middle aged and older adults are using marijuana — and using it a lot.
The analysis comes from data gathered in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 and 2016. About 9 percent of U.S. adults between ages 50 and 64 used marijuana in the the previous year, according to survey results. About 3 percent of people over 65 used the drug in that time period.
This appears to be up from years past. In 2013, the same survey reported that 7 percent of middle-aged Americans used marijuana in the previous year, and only 1.4 percent of people over 65.
Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of internal medicine at New York University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, says he was surprised to learn that many of the older Americans turning to marijuana are new converts to its use. About 45 percent of those over 65 who use the drug said they got started after the age of 21. [Read more at NPR]