There's Growing Evidence Cannabis Helps Older Adults Keep Their Jobs for Years Longer

Adults 65 and older are embracing cannabis as an alternative medicine faster than any other age group.
There's Growing Evidence Cannabis Helps Older Adults Keep Their Jobs for Years Longer
Image credit: Kelvin Murray | Getty Images
5 min read
This story originally appeared on The Fresh Toast

A recent study focused on cannabis usage amongst older adults revealed noteworthy findings -- mostly because the largest increase in cannabis usage was the older adult generation (baby boomers). Essentially, it was discovered that cannabis consumption rates amongst adults aged 65 and older had the largest increase, suggesting that adult generations may be able to work longer and experience a well-being boost due to cannabis consumption.

Last June, a gerontology and geriatric medicine review was conducted that revealed some interesting findings. For starters, cannabis usage increased the most amongst individuals aged 65 and above. It was even found that older cannabis consumers used the alternative medicine at least one hundred days out of the whole year. Whereas, over 26 percent of older cannabis users reported consuming cannabis one to four times per week.

Related: More Seniors Are Using Marijuana and It May Decrease Their Opioid Use

In addition, the majority of older cannabis consumers reported using the plant for medicinal reasons rather than for recreational usage. A few main reasons why older adults consume cannabis is to help treat pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and lack of appetite. According to the review, roughly 55 percent of the older adult generation have one or more medical conditions and symptoms that can be relieved by medical cannabis.

Furthermore, the review mentioned several clinical trials that reported medical cannabis’s efficacy in treating symptoms due to nausea, vomiting, chronic pain, and sleep disorders. It was found that on average, adults aged 51 and older experience these kinds of symptoms due to different medical conditions. Fortunately, medical cannabis can be used to help treat these symptoms and many more.

Cannabis usage and working.

Moreover, baby boomers in recent years have opened their minds to the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, especially as medical and recreational cannabis legalization changes continue to spread throughout the U.S. This age group in particular has been using cannabis at increasing rates. But, what role does cannabis usage play with baby boomers’ working abilities?

As medical and recreational cannabis laws are passed in more and more U.S. states, older adults are growing more interested in this alternative medicine. According to one study, medical cannabis laws have resulted in decreases in pain in addition to improved self-assessed health amongst older adults. It has also been reported that statewide medical cannabis laws lead to increases within the older adult labor supply. This suggests that older adults can work for longer periods of time and more efficiently as well.

Researchers even discovered that in states with medical cannabis laws, full-time employment increased by five percent. It doesn’t stop here though. The same 2019 study released the following statement about the relationship between medical cannabis laws and working abilities amongst older adult generations:

“If the implementation of a medical cannabis law, by promoting access to marijuana for medical use, reduces symptoms associated with work‐impeding health conditions, then medical cannabis laws could enhance labor supply among the fastest growing segment of the population.”

Related: Silver Lining: Mature Cannabis Consumers Are a Fast Growing Market

Seniors worry about the side effects of conventional medications.

In addition, to help treat various medical conditions, diseases, and accompanying symptoms, many baby boomers have opted for conventional medications for years. However, due to the slew of adverse side effects that often come from conventional pharmaceutical drugs, more consumers are turning their attention towards cannabis and cannabinoids like CBD.

According to one study, the following was stated about this matter: “Conventional prescription medications for many medical marijuana‐qualifying health conditions often present patients with strong side effects that can impede work.” Many pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications, in particular, have been known to deliver side effects such as irritability, headaches, confusion, and trouble concentrating.

If older adults experience these symptoms at work, it’s likely for them to struggle with their daily responsibilities, fail to perform to the best of their abilities, and not reach their full potential. In the initial review’s full sample, 31 percent of participants reported feeling pain with 29 percent reporting that their health impedes their working abilities.

However, since cannabis and CBD are known to deliver little to no side effects, they are gaining attention and popularity by the baby boomer generation in addition to increased consumption rates for valid reasons. Rather than tolerating negative side effects from pharmaceutical drugs, more older adults are going the natural route and opting for a beneficial and safe medicine, especially after the World Health Organization’s report came out about Cannabidiol (CBD).

The number of people in the U.S. aged 65 and older is expected to reach 83.7 million by 2050, and many of them will need to continue working past traditional retirement aga. Cannabis and the various cannabinoids it contains offer a plethora of profound benefits for keeping older Americans active and healthy.

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