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It’s Not The Kids Turning On To Marijuana, It’s Grandma And Grandpa


grandma marijuana senior seniors cannabis grandpaBy Phillip Smith

The growing acceptance of and access to legal marijuana has some people worried that the youth are going to start using it more frequently, but that’s not the demographic where pot has really taken off. Instead, it’s senior citizens.

Whether it’s wide-open medical marijuana states like California or fully legal states like Colorado, the gray-haired set is increasingly turning to pot, and not just to ease their aches and pains With a half-dozen more states likely to have legalization on the ballot (and win) this year and medical marijuana coming to more, grandma and grandpa are set to become even more interested.

Last week, CBS This Morning reported on the phenomenon of senior marijuana use, and the numbers are striking. Citing data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the program reported that the number of pot users over 55 jumped from 2.8 million in 2013 to 4.3 million in 2014, a 55% increase in a single year.

Correspondent Barry Petersen took viewers inside Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the world’s largest medical marijuana dispensary, where the senior demographic was well-represented. His footage shows people in their 50s and60s describing how marijuana treats what ails them.

“Seniors account for only 14% of the population, but they use more than 30% of all prescription drugs, including some highly addictive pain killers,” Petersen reported. “So pot is fast becoming a pill alternative.”

One Harborside patient, an 80-year-old woman who uses marijuana to help with mobility got right to the point:

“Every medication has a risk,” she said. “I’ve made my choice.”

Meanwhile, what about the kids? New research suggests that visions of legions of stoned teens as the inevitable results of not sending adults to jail for smoking pot are unfounded. Contentions than teen marijuana use would increase have not been proven.

“A survey of more than 216,000 adolescents from all 50 states indicates the number of teens with marijuana-related problems is declining,” according to a research report released Tuesday. “Similarly, the rates of marijuana use by young people are falling despite the fact more U.S. states are legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use and the number of adults using the drug has increased.”

The researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis examined survey data from 2002 to 2013 on drug use among young people aged 12 to 17. They found that the number of kids with marijuana-related problems was down 24% at the end of that period and that annual use fell 10% as well.

The declines came alongside reductions in other behavioral problems, including fighting, property crimes, and drug selling. According to the researchers, the two trends are connected, with reductions in problem behavior associated with reductions in problematic marijuana use.

“We were surprised to see substantial declines in marijuana use and abuse,” said Richard A. Grucza, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and the study’s first author. “We don’t know how legalization is affecting young marijuana users, but it could be that many kids with behavioral problems are more likely to get treatment earlier in childhood, making them less likely to turn to pot during adolescence. But whatever is happening with these behavioral issues, it seems to be outweighing any effects of marijuana decriminalization.”

We are still in the early years of the great social experiment with marijuana legalization. It’s too soon to tell what the long-term impacts will be, but so far, the sky is yet to fall. Despite increased legal access, the kids are still alright, and seniors are finding some surcease for their woes.

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Johnny Green


  1. LOVE Mojo and Skid; they were regulars on 97X – bam! – the future of rock and roll!

  2. Closet Warrior on

    It’s more likely that the older crowd smoked in the 60’s and had to quit to raise a family and came back to it. Good for them! The fact that these PhD people saying it’s a social experiment like people have only been smoking pot for ten years and we don’t know the data IS insulting! I’m45 and have been medicating for 27 yrs now and at first just thought it felt good and made me feel normal. Turns out I am adhd and anxiety ridden but didn’t know at the time. I couldn’t focus and was having panic attacks. Every time I smoked my worries went away and my focus was drastically enhanced. So no, it’s NOT a social experiment, it’s a way of life and the fact that older folk are starting to partake suggests that learned, wiser, responsible, more informed individuals know what’s right and better for them w/out a shirt ton of side effects and dependency.

  3. jim heffner on

    Shadar, I think we went to different schools together. First toke of ditch weed in ’56, quit everything in ’76. Retired in ’06. Getting hooked up to our age group was a problem but if you check out the donors to Green and human rights causes you’ll always find some simpatico souls. Higher level Academia(pun intended) is a ripe source for finding like minded seekers. An item on my bucket list continues to appear more attainable as time goes on. That’s to be able to grow my own legally where ever I choose to live.

  4. Definitely increases sexual pleasure/feelings. But after ED sets in—
    I have to wonder how spraying DDT affected my life during formative years. Never had kids. Though I tried.
    Well it would be nice to ingest some magic mushrooms or magic cactus and contemplate various things.

  5. Re-legalize Psilocybin mushrooms for us oldsters.
    And Peyote. Also all veterans should band together for Hemp/Cannabis legalization. Nixon and Reagan are long gone. Time to fix the damage they’ve done. And down with Hillobeans!

  6. After taking up smoking again, (about 1x a week) for 3 months now, I introduced an 84 year old friend to smoking. Just 1 time for him. He’s had back surgery, diabetes, heart problems, blood transfusions, etc. Just this one time we smoked. He proclaimed that his back pain disappeared during and after the smoke. I felt happy for him the way a caregiver must.

  7. It’s not just medicinal properties that are leading baby-boomers and the like BACK to cannabis.

    Lots of us left cannabis for twenty or thirty or more years, because of stigma, because they were raising kids, because of jobs, and a whole host of other reasons.

    Some, like myself, decided that we would put serious and sustained effort into changing the law, and would wait for those efforts to bear fruit before we risked all that we had worked for so hard.

    Lots of us crossed that milestone 50th birthday and thought, “you know what, I have EARNED it. If I want to smoke pot, I’m going to!”

    Sadly, many of that cohort also discovered that while they were away the greedy growers seeking faster harvest times pretty much ruined cannabis, by committing de facto genocide on the sativas that we remembered from our youth.

    Now, as we move back in to the space, expect us to bring back what we loved, and leave all that silly-named cannabis to those youngins who think that “green crack” somehow helps the image and reputation of the plant.

  8. With osteo-arthritis, many seniors can’t tolerate anti-inflammatory medicines. So, the doctor has to turn to opiates to help patients deal with the pain. Millions in America suffer from opiate addictions while their doctors can’t even prescribe cannabis which is very effective in dealing with the pain. By the way, seniors who are saavy use a vaporizer instead of smoking. A vaporizer eliminates the carcinogens of smoke and is easier on the lungs. We should be able to get our medicine, like any other medicine from our corner drug store instead of a back street drug deal.

  9. Jerry Bisbo on

    Well that’s the federal and state laws for you. They also say marijuana is a dangerous gateway drug that make you go insane . It’s a correct spelling eather way the spelling with a u is the old spelling the one with a j is the modern one used. Check ought some web sights here. Hightimes.com , theweedblog.com

  10. cold and old on

    i live in indiana to and are state and and are governor has his head so for up his own ass he still thinks marijuana is a gateway drug while he drinks his alcohol drug pence and all his croones got to go cause there all assholes

  11. cold and old on

    amen moldy i wish they would stay out my business i paid my dues paid tax’s for 42 years now i just want what want and i don’t need the gov. tell me what to do they know we are the ones who vote and i’m with you lets vote all them asshole out

  12. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Obviously, Jerry, you’ve never read the actual federal and state laws. They spell it “marihuana” and thats why I do–to highlight how fraudulent the whole prohibition truly is.

  13. I say if we make it to 65 all drugs should be legal for us as long as we don’t drive or endanger anyone else. We’ve put up with this prohibition shit all of our lives and we’re really, quite frankly, sick of the bullshit… all while watching alcohol destroy more lives than the DEA/LE could ever destroy. It’s time us old fucking boomers unite and kick some hypocrite’s asses.

  14. Loetta McKee on

    I am a 65 year old woman who simply can’t imagine a day without my pot. I suffer from Fybromyalga and PTSD among many other disorders. Pot is the only thing that helps with the pain and the nightmares and flash backs. However I live in Indiana so I am forced to purchase black market. It makes me very angry to have to support drug cartels when folks in other states contribute large amounts of tax dollars to our economy and are not classified as criminals. Where is the justice in that?

  15. WildCherry Gary on

    I’m 67 and I have Advanced Prostate Cancer and other issues. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to smoke a joint in the evening after dinner. Marijuana helps to relieve my pain , helps me relax and helps me cope mentally with my prognosis.

  16. Started toking nearly 50 years ago. Stopped in the 80’s (if you were there, you know why) and then started again when I bailed out of the workforce early. Can’t imagine growing old without weed. A positive outlook and some laughs every day is the fabled Fountain of Youth. Or at least, a way of slowing the descent into decrepitness.

    Makes perfect sense that we old farts are rediscovering weed. Others for the first time. Many people consider weed an obsession of youth, but it’s way cooler when you’re old and actually need it.

    Also nice that I can walk down the street and buy it in a shop. Before legalization (I’m in WA), it was a little difficult to get hooked-up when you’re in your 60’s or 70’s. Different crowd. But now… you don’t have to know anyone who knows someone to walk into a shop.

  17. Jerry Bisbo on

    Nice reply,by the way the spelling of weed theses days is with a j its marijuana

  18. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Agreed. The real “social experiment” here is the 80-year tyranny of federal, state and local officials waging a “marihuana” war against our fundamental rights to grow cannabis plants—the same plants that made a substantial contribution to the agricultural wealth of the United States for this country’s first 150 years. Since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, tens of millions of otherwise nonviolent Americans have been arrested and jailed for “marihuana” offenses (just this week here in upstate New York, a father and his two sons were busted for tending 600 plants in a Niskayuna home). Meanwhile, national and local media have continuously bludgeoned the citizenry with Reefer Madness propaganda. Every passing day of “marihuana” prohibition represents a nightmare without end.

  19. Some seniors may be turning to cannabis in their elder years for pain relief, physical and otherwise, and that’s fantastic. Personally, I started 50 years ago and haven’t really stopped.

  20. Jerry Bisbo on

    ” We’re still in the early years of the great social experiment of marijuana legalization”
    You know that just because it hasn’t been legal doesn’t mean it hasn’t been used by millions, for many decades. What you have seen for I would say at least 40 years sence the ending of the Vietnam war is what you got . Very few problems, and that’s under the black market. So stop sound like miss out of touch Hillary Clinton and let’s get realistic here.

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