Academic Commons


Demographic trends among older cannabis users in the United States, 2006–13

Han, Benjamin H.; Sherman, Scott; Mauro, Pia M.; Martins, Silvia S.; Rotenberg, James; Palamar, Joseph J.

Background and Aims: The ageing US population is providing an unprecedented population of older adults who use recreational drugs. We aimed to estimate the trends in the prevalence of past-year use of cannabis, describe the patterns and attitudes and determine correlates of cannabis use by adults age 50 years and older. Design: Secondary analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health survey from 2006 to 2013, a cross-sectional survey given to a nationally representative probability sample of populations living in US households. Setting: USA. Participants: A total of 47 140 survey respondents aged ≥ 50 years. Measures: Estimates and trends of past-year use of cannabis. Findings: The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among adults aged ≥ 50 increased significantly from 2006/07 to 2012/13, with a 57.8% relative increase for adults aged 50–64 (linear trend P < 0.001) and a 250% relative increase for those aged ≥ 65 (linear trend P = 0.002). When combining data from 2006 to 2013, 6.9% of older cannabis users met criteria for cannabis abuse or dependence, and the majority of the sample reported perceiving no risk or slight risk associated with monthly cannabis use (85.3%) or weekly use (79%). Past-year users were more likely to be younger, male, non-Hispanic, not have multiple chronic conditions and use tobacco, alcohol or other drugs compared with non-past-year cannabis users. Conclusions: The prevalence of cannabis use has increased significantly in recent years among US adults aged ≥ 50 years.


  • thumnail for Han_Addiction_Demographic trends among older cannabis users in the United States, 2006-13..pdf Han_Addiction_Demographic trends among older cannabis users in the United States, 2006-13..pdf application/pdf 225 KB Download File

Also Published In


More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
April 19, 2017
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.