Medical cannabis use among senior citizens in Canada increased from 17.6% in 2017 – the year prior to broad legalization in the nation – to 31.2% in 2019, according to a study by Toronto-based Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center outlined by Medscape.
The survey found that 22.7% of seniors reported using medical cannabis in 2020; however, the researchers note that there were more than 3,000 fewer respondents in last year’s tally than in previous years.
More than 40% of respondents – 42.5% – indicated they only used CBD oil, while 35% used products containing both CBD and THC.
The survey found 44.5% of respondents were using over-the-counter analgesics, 28.3% used opioids, 24.5% took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 21.4% used antidepressants, and 12.3% were taking benzodiazepines. More than 40% of opioid users said their use of the drugs was “mildly” or “significantly” reduced after they started using medical cannabis.
Krista L. Lanctôt, PhD, senior scientist, Sunnybrook told Medscape that the use of other medications made it important to gather information on older populations using cannabis medically.
The analysis included 9,766 older cannabis users with a median age of 72.3. Sixty percent of those surveyed were women.