March 21, 2021 – Last spring, an analysis based on the National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that marijuana use in the prior year among people over 65 had jumped 75 percent from 2015 to 2018, from 2.4 percent of that group to 4.2 percent. By 2019, use had reached 5 percent.

“I would expect it to continue to increase sharply,” said Dr. Benjamin H. Han, the lead author of the analysis. The data showed use rising particularly among women and among people with higher education and income.

A team using a different national data set documented a similar trend last fall. From 2016 to 2018, the proportion of men ages 65 to 69 who reported using marijuana or hashish within the past month had climbed to 8.2 percent from 4.3 percent. Among women, it grew to 3.8 percent from 2.1 percent.

“It’s rare to see that much change in a three-year period,” said William Jesdale, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts. “It shocked us.”


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