Lately, when I have attended concerts that generally attract baby boomers, such as Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones, I’ve noticed a lot of boomers lighting up joints.
Turns out that is no coincidence.
Nine percent of people aged 50 to 64 said they’ve used marijuana in the last year, doubling in the last ten years, while three percent of those over 65 have done so, the research found.
Perhaps that is not a huge surprise, because the baby boomer generation has had more experience than other generations with marijuana, which surged in popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s. More than half (almost 55%) of middle-age adults have used marijuana at some time in their lives, while over a fifth (about 22 percent ) of older adults have done so, according to the study.
Individuals who used marijuana as adolescents were more likely to say they were still fans of this herb, the team at New York University found.
What accounts for bud’s big comeback with the older crowd?
Surely, the stigma of using marijuana has decreased. That appears to have changed lately with a few boomers contemplating it cool to act like teenagers again and claiming the name, pothead, with pride, like smoking marijuana was some type of accomplishment.
Access has been made easier with the legalization of marijuana for medical use in 29 countries and D.C. and for recreational use in eight nations and D.C., including here in California where I live. Pot farms are springing up everywhere including one of the neighboring desert cities, Desert Hot Springs, which has been nicknamed Desert Pot Springs.
Some baby boomers use weed to ease aching joints or other disorders or to help them sleep.
Whatever the reasons for boomers lighting up, beware, there are some definite pitfalls. The survey indicated that users believe marijuana is harmless. However, the researchers were quick to point out that is clearly not true.
“Chronic use may result in chronic respiratory ailments, depression, impaired memory, and decreased bone density.”
Researchers also reported that baby boomers using cannabis were more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and abuse drugs. Marijuana users were also more likely to misuse prescription drugs such as opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers than their peers.
Mixing substances is especially dangerous for older adults with chronic diseases, the team advised. Marijuana can intensify symptoms and interact with prescribed medications.
In actuality, physicians should ask older patients about whether they use marijuana as it can interact with prescription drugs, the group recommended, and it can point to substance abuse issues.
To put it differently, baby boomers would do well to find true bliss in healthier ways.