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Marijuana use among baby boomers doubled in a decade, study shows

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Marijuana use is trending among baby boomers.

New research from the NYU School of Medicine show the number of users in the 50 to 64 age group has doubled in the past decade.

The study points out that although young adults are still the most common group of marijuana users, the fading stigma around it, coupled with medical benefits, is encouraging an aging population to step out of the shadows and seek other treatment options.

“They’re looking to get the positive body effects without the crazy mental high,” said Kris Fowlkes, Owner of The Dankery Medical Dispensary.

According to the survey, nine percent of folks in the 50 to 64 age group said they had used marijuana within the past year.
That’s double the amount of users compared to a 2006 survey.

Fowlkes believes older folks are seeking it out as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.

“[They’re using it to] remove some of their pharma and some of their narcotics that they’re utilizing,” he added.

51-year-old Kellie Adamson, a regular user, says she no longer relies on other narcotics.

“I was on 12 different pharmaceutical medications,” she explained when reflecting what her life was like before medical marijuana.

“I started getting off more and more medications, lost 152 pounds simply by smoking marijuana and getting off these meds that were making me get fatter and fatter.”

The study cites shifting attitudes and reduced stigma towards marijuana with the uptick.

52-year-old Jeff Jorgensen never considered marijuana to treat his multiple sclerosis.

“Spasticity in my legs and you know, just stiffness in walking and i’m hoping that it’ll allow me to walk better.”

That is… until his doctor recommended it.

“Well [my doctor] says it can’t hurt,” Jorgensen said.
“And he said that ‘you might as well try it if it’s helped a lot of other people.”

Although the survey doesn’t differentiate between medical and recreational use, Adamson says her age group is more empowered to tap into the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

“I don’t see us using it as ‘oh, i’m going to sit around and get stoned all day and eat potato chips,'” she said, dismissing the notion that baby boomers use it solely for recreational purposes.

“That’s, at least – my experience with my age group. It’s ‘yeah, my knee is killing me and the arthritis med ain’t cutting it anymore so i’m going to smoke some of this’ and ‘oh wow, it’s better than that med so i’m just going to do this.”

While the study says marijuana has proven beneficial when treating pain in older adults, it also notes certain adults to be at an increased risk for negative effects with marijuana use, especially if they have an underlying chronic disease or if they are using unhealthy substances at the same time.

Jessica Barreto

Jessica Barreto

Jessica is a general assignment reporter at KOAA News 5. She joined the news team in November 2017.
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