The tides are definitely changing when it comes to cannabis use in this country. We officially have over half the states with either medicinal or recreational marijuana legalized. One of the biggest concerns that has hindered this process, is the worry that legalization would lead to a spike in teenage cannabis use. Well according to research released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not only is that not the case, but the parent and teen roles have actually reversed. It is officially more likely for parents of teenagers to be regular cannabis smokers, than for their children to be partaking. This change is likely the result of the age old stigma against pot smoking, that is finally starting to fade away. Not to mention the plethora of health problems that adults are more likely to have that are now being treated with medicinal marijuana. This is just one aspect of the data from the research recently released by the CDC, but there are plenty of other promising trends that are indicative of the new way our country is starting to look at cannabis.
Not only are parents more likely to be smoking cannabis, but teenage use has dropped by 10 percent since 2002. Teenage use between the ages of 12 to 17 is now only 7.4 percent, while regular use in adults aged 34 to 44 is up to 8 percent. Perhaps taking much of the taboo out of smoking pot is part of the reason that these angsty teens aren’t as prone to sparking up, but undoubtedly the nation’s changing attitude is what is driving these other demographics to join the cause. Everyone over 26 is now more likely to be a regular user of cannabis, but some of our oldest demographics are showing the most growth. Americans from the age 45 to 54 have had a 50 percent increase in regular users, but that pales in comparison to the massive 455 percent growth in the 55 to 64 age categories. Accompanied by the over 300 percent increase in those aged over 65, this trend could lead to more geriatric cannabis users than any other age group.
Accessibility and legality are huge factors in why elderly people are now feeling more comfortable lighting up, but the fact that many of their doctors are suggesting it is also crucial. Cannabis is replacing many opiates and sleep aids for people across the country, two things that elderly people are often in need of. Support for cannabis is also at an all time high when it comes to older people. Baby boomers had a surge of support for cannabis in the 70’s, but once many of them had children and got jobs their views changed. It seems that most of these people have changed their minds back again, because surveys now show baby boomers voicing similar levels of support as back in the day. Of course it is splendid news to hear that all types of people from all different walks of life are finally opening up their minds to the benefits of cannabis, but I don’t think any of us expected that legalization might potentially have the biggest effect on our oldest generations.