Mid-Life Crisis? Middle-Aged Americans Are Just As Likely To Smoke Weed As Teens Are

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Middle-aged U.S. adults are just as likely to have smoked pot in the past month as teenagers ages 12 to 17 are, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

“This is a population that, in many cases, had firsthand experience with cannabis during their young adulthood,” Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

This trend represents a stark contrast to the early 2000s, when teenagers were “more than four times more likely to use marijuana than 50- and 60-somethings,” reported The Washington Post.

These “baby boomer” adults ages 55 to 64 are taking advantage of the legalization trend and using cannabis and cannabis-infused products for both recreational and medicinal purposes.

“The majority of adults voluntarily ceased their use because they entered the workforce and raised children,” Armentano told TheDCNF. “Now that their children are grown up, and they themselves are retired, they’re revisiting the use of substance they once enjoyed.”

Research on marijuana’s effects tends to focus on its impact on young people, even though federal data claims more middle-aged U.S. adults use marijuana than teens do, according to WaPo.

That could be a problem. A New York University study indicated that older adults who have used marijuana in the past year might also have “higher rates of nicotine dependence, cocaine use and prescription drug misuse,” according to WaPo.

That study examined adults age 65 and older, a group that has also seen a big increase in drug use. In fact, nearly 3 percent of seniors 65 and older “used marijuana in the past year,” according to CBS News. That’s a sevenfold increase over the past 10 years. (RELATED: Seniors Treating Aches And Pains Among Fastest Growing Groups Of Cannabis Users)

Side effects of marijuana include “increased heart rate, nausea and vomiting,” according to Kaiser Health News. Seniors are also at risk of unpredictable interactions between cannabis and whatever prescription drugs they might be taking, reported CBS News.

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