Photo: Irish Mirror
For many, the image of Nan and Pop ripping billies while watching back-to-back episodes of Gardening Australia might seem like little more than a pipedream. As it turns out, though, the reality is not too far off: according to a new study, the amount of senior citizens and baby boomers getting blazed on the reg has seen a major spike in recent years.
The study, published last week in health journal Addiction, looked at a total of 47,410 participants aged 50 and over in the United States’ National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2006 to 2013. Within this older demographic, researchers found that cannabis use skyrocketed by 71% over the eight-year period. While most of that bud was being smoked by people between the ages of 50 and 64, the study also revealed that potheads aged 65 and above spread like salvinia during that time, multiplying by a whopping 250%.
Of course, it’s likely that this boon can be at least partly attributed to changes in marijuana-related legislation in the US, with both laws and social attitudes toward the drug loosening over the past five to ten years. Of further surprise to researchers, however, was just how loose the oldies’ attitude toward their drug use was, with only five percent thinking that hitting the bowls once or twice a week might be problematic for their health.
“I thought the perception of low risk was fascinating because, typically, we think of older generations as drug-adverse, and perceiving most drugs to be risky,” said Dr Joseph Palamar, a co-author of the research paper. “But apparently very few Baby Boomer users consider marijuana use risky.”
What Dr Palamar worries about are the potentially adverse effects that could be triggered when weed is combined with other substances, such as prescription drugs or self-prescribed illicit drugs. Basically: that pills then grass could have Nan on her arse.
“For years we’ve been worried about the potential effects of marijuana on the developing brains of teens,” says Palamar, “but now we may need a bit more focus on their grandparents, who are increasingly more likely to be current users.”