The examine advises well being professionals to display screen individuals over the age of 50 for hashish use

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Medical cannabis users were more likely to discuss its use with health professionals and obtained their weed from a medical dispensary.

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Angela Stelmakowich The study found that cannabis use last year was 8.9 percent, of which 18.5 percent reported medicinal use.  /. The study found that cannabis use last year was 8.9 percent, of which 18.5 percent reported medicinal use. /. Photo by CherriesJD / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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Healthcare professionals should include older adults in cannabis discussions, as some people use weeds to self-treat various conditions without first seeking medical input or advice, suggests a new US study.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, published online this week in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, examined the health-related traits, cannabis use patterns, and marijuana sources of medicinal and non-medicinal weed users ages 50 and over.

The original thought was that medical users are more likely than non-medical users to experience physical and mental health problems, use health services, discuss their drug use with a healthcare professional, and use weed more often. To determine if this was actually the case, the researchers examined 17,685 people using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2018 and 2019.

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  2. Almost eight in ten of those over 60 said they only used cannabis for medicinal purposes.

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The study found that cannabis use was 8.9 percent last year, of which 18.5 percent reported medicinal use, the study said. The medical application aimed, among other things, to treat chronic pain, depression and arthritis.

Medical use of cannabis was associated with a lower likelihood of an alcohol use disorder, but a higher likelihood of discussing drug use with health professionals (four times higher than recreational users) and buying cannabis from a pharmacy.

About 20 percent of those who use cannabis for health reasons buy it from medical weed dispensaries, compared with just five percent of recreational users, according to a statement detailing the study results. This means that many older adults get their cannabis and cannabis products from unregulated sources.

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Elderly woman with a stick Cannabis use among older adults in the United States more than doubled from 2008 to 2019, including use of the plant for pain relief and treatment of health problems. /. Photo by Getty Images / iStockphoto

Cannabis use among older adults in the US more than doubled from 2008 to 2019, the statement said, including using the plant to relieve pain and treat health problems. The authors suggest that the new findings “have significant clinical and policy implications, particularly as more US states legalize cannabis, resulting in rapid increases in consumption among the elderly,” the statement added.

Overall, “medical and non-medical users did not differ in terms of physical and most behavioral health indicators,” the authors write in the abstract of the study. That is, “some medical users are likely to self-medicate without medical advice,” they note, recommending that these professionals involve older adults in discussions about cannabis use and behavioral health needs.

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That commitment would include routine screening of the elderly for the use of cannabis and other substances, screening users for mental health problems, and recommending any necessary treatment, the statement said.

The involvement of health professionals would include screening the elderly for the use of cannabis and other substances, screening users for mental health problems, and recommending treatment if necessary.  /. The involvement of health professionals would include screening the elderly for the use of cannabis and other substances, screening users for mental health problems, and recommending treatment if necessary. /. Photo delivered by

In addition, medical cannabis users consumed the drug more frequently. 40 percent said they consumed it 200 to 365 days a year.

A study by the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine last year found that of 568 patients aged 65 and over, 15 percent had used cannabis in the previous three years. Also, 53 percent said they used weeds regularly on a daily or weekly basis, and 46 percent said they only use CBD products.

And a BDS Analytics report from a few years ago showed that baby boomers have become an “important and growing segment” of cannabis users.

“Given the increase in THC potency, health professionals should educate older cannabis users, especially high-frequency users, about potential safety issues and adverse effects,” study co-author Namkee Choi said in the statement. “All elderly people who use cannabis should ask healthcare professionals about their use,” recommends Choi.

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