The ageing United States (US) population is providing an unprecedented population of older adults who use recreational drugs. We aimed to estimate the trends in the prevalence of past-year use of cannabis, describe the patterns and attitudes, and determine correlates of cannabis use by adults age 50 and older.
Secondary analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey from 2006 to 2013, a cross-sectional survey given to a nationally representative probability sample of populations living in US households.
47,140 survey respondents age ≥50.
Estimates and trends of past-year use of cannabis.
The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among adults age ≥50 significantly increased from 2006/2007 through 2012/2013, with a 57.8% relative increase for adults ages 50-64 (linear trend p < 0.001), and a 250% relative increase for those ≥65 (linear trend p = 0.002). When combining data from 2006 to 2013, 6.9% of older cannabis users met criteria for cannabis abuse or dependence, and the majority of the sample reported perceiving no risk or slight risk associated with monthly cannabis use (85.3%) or weekly use (79%). Past-year users were more likely to be younger, male, non-Hispanic, not have multiple chronic conditions, and use tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs compared with non-past-year cannabis users. Conclusions The prevalence of cannabis use has increased significantly in recent years among US adults ≥50 years of age.
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Cannabis; Geriatrics; Older Adult