It's 4/20, Do You Know Where Your Parents Are?

Zinger Key Points
  • Cannabis consumption among older folks is on the rise as seniors are one of the fastest-growing groups of cannabis users in the US
  • Study after study suggests that older adults are using cannabis to remedy an array of conditions, but most still like getting high.

As you may have heard, cannabis consumption among older folks is on the rise. More specifically, seniors are one of the fastest-growing groups of cannabis users in the U.S.

As it turns out, many older adults have been consuming weed for decades and new ones are joining in on the fun. Cannabis consumption among our parents and grandparents has quadrupled in the past eight years.

Study after study suggests that older adults are using cannabis to remedy an array of conditions such as sleep issues, pain, inflammation and to activate their appetites.

But most consume because they still enjoy getting high.

"Sure, I sleep better with cannabis and topical creams alleviate my knee pain, but that's all new. I've been smoking pot for the past four decades and I see no reason to stop getting high," said Cynthia P who recently retired as an ER nurse in Ohio where recreational marijuana became legal last November.

Scientists and researchers are wisely becoming interested in this Baby Boomer demographic of 77 million, many of whom are healthy, economically stable and have no plans of checking out anytime soon, so they say.

One particular study, that examined marijuana use in adults aged 60 to 88 found that whole-plant cannabis did not harm cognition but rather the opposite. Older cannabis users, relative to non-users, had significantly greater neuronal communication between the cerebellum and hippocampus.

Why? Age-related changes in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) include a decrease in the number of cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain. The ECS, a significant aspect of our human physiology that helps maintain homeostasis, is a complex cell-signaling system in the brain and body that interacts with just about all of our other body systems. 

Which means? During normal aging, the decline in cannabinoid receptors correlates with increased levels of inflammation in these brain regions causing a loss of neurons in the hippocampus, which is critical for learning and memory. This, in short, explains age-related memory impairment.  

"Oh, I believe that," Cynthia told Benzinga. "While I never consumed for a full shift before going to work, I'm convinced that marijuana has helped keep me and my mind sharp as I aged. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but for people of my generation there's nothing better."

Now Read: Hemp Space Grew 3X The Rate Of Cannabis, Where Did Marijuana Get It Wrong?

Photo: Shutterstock

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