Cannabis Use by Older Adult Populations


The self-reported use of cannabis by older adults and/or seniors has grown significantly in recent years

An increasing percentage of older adults are turning to the use of cannabis exclusively for therapeutic purposes

An increasing body of scientific data shows that the use of cannabis by older adults is associated with improvements in their overall quality of life

Cannabis use by older subjects is associated with greater rates of physical activity

  • “Data were obtained from the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A total of 2,092 participants (ages 20–59; 48.8% female) had accelerometer-measured sedentary behavior, light physical activity, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Participants were classified as light, moderate, frequent, or non-current cannabis users depending on how often they used cannabis in the previous 30 days. … Frequent cannabis users engaged in more physical activity than non-current users. … Findings tended to be stronger among adults over 40 and those who did not smoke cigarettes. … Our findings do not support the mainstream perception of cannabis users as living sedentary lifestyles.”
  • “We measured differences in body mass index (BMI), exercise behavior, and cardiovascular fitness between older adult cannabis users and nonusers participating in an exercise intervention trial. … Results of this analysis indicated that compared to older adult non-users, older adult cannabis users had lower BMI at the beginning of an exercise intervention study, engaged in more weekly exercise days during the intervention, and were engaging in more exercise-related activities at the conclusion of the intervention. Although preliminary, these findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers. At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”