Number of older Canadians getting high on cannabis rising: Study

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A growing number of older Canadians are regularly using cannabis products for a variety of reasons, new research says.

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According to Blacklock’s Reporter, a study commissioned by Health Canada showed an increasing number of adults 55 and over smoked pot for medical and non-medical purposes since cannabis was legalized by the federal government in late 2018.

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Several participants said marijuana use is “extremely common” and that it “becomes part of your lifestyle after a while.”

The study, conducted by Halifax pollster Narrative Research at a cost of $123,577 and published late last year, recruited 188 people of all ages who were separated into 20 online focus groups across the country. Researchers then focused on the older participants.

That group said marijuana’s health benefits helped them deal with anxiety and stress, cope with depression, address pain and physical discomfort, and improve sleeping and eating habits.

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Cannabis is also used to help people relax and provide a break from boredom, the study noted.

“For non-medical purposes, cannabis is used to relax and unwind from the daily pressures of life, or for pleasure in social settings as an outing or event involving friends or relatives,” researchers wrote in the study, titled Cannabis Use Among Older Adults In Canada.

Researchers said the legalization of cannabis helped normalize its use for non-medical purposes.


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“While legalization was not considered as having induced increased usage, it was seen as having cultivated a perception it is of lesser harm, making it more socially acceptable,” the study said.

However, researchers didn’t delve into the impacts cannabis had on the health of older adults.

“Health impacts are not fully understood,” it said. “Further the potential for unintended side effects or adverse reactions from cannabis due to its interaction with other medication was not clear.”

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