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Posted: 9:40 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2017

Grannies turning to grass

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Granny lights-up a joint

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By Kirk Healy

AP

While anti-drug PSAs still encourage parents to talk to their teens about drugs before someone else does, a recent study suggests there's another high-risk population: those teens' grandparents.

More and more people in their 60's are reliving the 60's, and going back to the drug of their youth.

The study found that, since 2006, marijuana use has increased significantly among adults 50 and up. A decade ago, roughly 4.5 percent of people 50 to 64, and 0.4 percent of seniors 65 and up, had used marijuana in the past year. By 2013, those numbers had increased to 7.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

In percentage terms, marijuana use among 50- to 64-year-olds increased by 57.8 percent, while among seniors ages 65 and up, it ballooned by a whopping 250 percent.

The study, based on over 45,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, isn't the first to note that marijuana use is increasing rapidly among older adults. But it digs more deeply into the demographics of older Americans' marijuana use, uncovering some interesting findings.

Among the 50 and older set, white (5.1 percent) and black (5.1 percent) Americans are more likely to smoke pot than Hispanics (2.6 percent). Older adults with less than a high school education (5.1 percent) or with less than $20,000 in income (5.4 percent) use marijuana more than average (4.8 percent).

One area of potential concern is the correlation between marijuana use and mental health issues among older adults. Among those 50 and older, people who have had depression (11.4 percent) or anxiety in the past year (9.0 percent) are much more likely to smoke marijuana than average.

Given the widespread prevalence of medical marijuana laws, some seniors may be turning to marijuana to treat the ailments of old age.

Earlier this year, one study found that Medicare reimbursements for a number of common prescription medications dropped sharply after the introduction of medical marijuana laws.

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Survey Results

Facebook:  Grannies for Grass International

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