Unhealthy Pot Use a Growing Problem Among Seniors, New Report Suggests

A review of five years of Medicare data shows a growing number of senior marijuana users are seeking health care for cannabis-related disorders.

As more states legalize marijuana, a growing number of seniors are developing an unhealthy relationship with the drug, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 56 million Medicare beneficiaries and found “rates of health care encounters with cannabis-related disorders increased from 2017 through 2022.”

By 2022, the rates were greatest in states that legalized both recreational and medical use -- with about 45 pot-related visits for every 10,000 Medicare claims. Rates were slightly lower in states that only allow medical use and lowest in states where both forms are still against the law.

Experts have issued warnings mainly about the effects highly potent cannabis have on the physical and mental health of young users.

The authors say this new study suggests the dangers may extend to older adults.

They say, "Overall, data suggest that increasing rates of health care encounters documenting cannabis-related disorders among older adults might be associated with the type of cannabis legalization."

Source: JAMA Network Open

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