Aging baby boomers increasingly embrace marijuana, heavy alcohol use
By Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post
December 18, 2016
“…two recent studies suggest there’s another high-risk population we should be worried about: our kids’ grandparents.
The first study found that, since 2006, marijuana use has increased significantly among adults age 50 and up. A decade ago, roughly 4.5 percent of people ages 50 to 64, and 0.4 percent of seniors age 65 and up, had used marijuana in the past year. By 2013, those numbers had increased to 7.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
In percentage terms, marijuana use among 50- to 64-year-olds increased by 57.8 percent, while among seniors ages 65 and up, it ballooned by a whopping 250 percent.
The study, based on over 45,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, isn’t the first to note that marijuana use is increasing rapidly among older adults. But it digs more deeply into the demographics of older Americans’ marijuana use, uncovering some interesting findings.
Among the 50 and older set, white (5.1 percent) and black (5.1 percent) Americans are more likely to smoke pot than Hispanics (2.6 percent). Older adults with less than a high school education (5.1 percent) or with less than $20,000 in income (5.4 percent) use marijuana more than average (4.8 percent).
Older folks who are married (4.0 percent) are much more likely to indulge in the occasional toke than those who are divorced or separated (1.6 percent). But those who are single (8.1 percent) or widowed (8.5 percent) outsmoke all the others.
One area of potential concern is the correlation between marijuana use and mental health issues among older adults. Among those 50 and older, people who have had depression (11.4 percent) or anxiety in the past year (9.0 percent) are much more likely to smoke marijuana than average. A number of studies have shown a link between marijuana use and mental disorders.”