Senior citizen use of medical cannabis rises exponentially as prescription numbers drop

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

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A national study reported senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic among medical cannabis users in the United States.

Between the years of 2006 to 2013,  the Society for the Study of Addiction reported medical cannabis usage among adults 65 and older is up 250 percent, while adults 50-65 have also increased usage by 58 percent.

In a related study published in Health Affairs, researchers tested the association between medical cannabis and the average number of prescriptions filled by Medicaid beneficiaries. The use of prescription drugs acquired through Medicaid was lower in states with medical cannabis than in states without legislation. 

“If all states had had a medical [cannabis] law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion,” the study said.

The Berkeley Patients Care Collective reported senior citizens were originally the most hesitant group to try medical cannabis in the early days of medical cannabis legalization. This hesitation stems partially from a lack of medical cannabis education, and from concerns about using a drug the federal government has banned.