Researchers studied the usage habits of more than 15,000 adults over the age of 65. They were asked about “their use of cannabis, marijuana, hashish, pot, grass and hash oil,” according to the report, whether that came via inhaling, ingesting or applying topically.
From 2015 to 2018, the portion of respondents using cannabis rose from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent, a huge uptick from 2006, when less than half a percent of seniors reported use.
And it isn’t just older Americans partaking in the plant. A 2019 study from the University of Michigan showed U.S. college students are using marijuana at the highest levels since 1983: 43 percent of students said they’ve used a form of pot at least once in the past year.
These reports come at a time when the cannabis industry is booming. The U.S. marijuana industry reached $11 billion in consumer spending in 2018.
More states are legalizing the plant as well. Marijuana has been legalized in 33 states for medicinal use and in 10 states and Washington, D.C., for recreational use. A 2018 Pew Research Center poll found 62 percent of Americans supported legalizing it in some form. And while states can enact their own laws governing CBD oil, it’s legal under federal law.
“With the legalization of cannabis in many states for medical and/or recreational purposes, there is increasing interest in using cannabis to treat a variety of long-term health conditions and symptoms common among older adults,” JAMA researchers said in the report.