According to a recent survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, a division within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the number of older adults using marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes is on the rise.
“Pass the bong, George! My back hurts.”
The survey specifically indicates that people aged 50 and older reporting marijuana use went from 1.9% of the population to 2.9% from 2002 to 2008, with the rise most dramatic in the 55-59 year old age bracket. Further increased use of marijuana amongst older adults is expected in the coming years.
According to an Associated Press report on the subject, as published by cbs news blog,those ranks include people like Perry Parks, 67, of Rockingham, North Carolina, a retired Army pilot who suffers from degenerative disc disease and arthritis:
He had tried all sorts of drugs, from Vioxx to epidural steroids, but found little success.
About two years ago he turned to marijuana, which he first had tried in college, and was amazed how well it worked for the pain.
“I realized I could get by without the narcotics,” Parks said, referring to prescription painkillers. “I am essentially pain free.”
While I wouldn’t necessarily argue that we’ll soon be seeing assisted living facilities lit with black lights playing Jimi Hendrix music, I would expect the growing ranks of pot smoking elders will further advance the movement toward medicinal marijuana reform.