Marijuana Use Among Sonoma Teens and Senior Citizens

There are many who feel teens will use cannabis to a greater degree after legalization.

Perhaps teens and young adults deserve a bit more credit.  According to the California Healthy Kids Survey for Sonoma County, consider that from 2011 to 2016, the numbers of Sonoma Unified 11nth graders who have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime has dropped from 49% to 43%. We can probably expect this trend to continue.

Let’s take a broader look at the demographics of cannabis. A recent study by Miner and Co. Studio belies the traditional ‘stoner’ stereotype. The average age of end-users is 30 years old on average, 65% have a household income of $75K or more, and 42% are parents of children.

According to “An Analysis of Applicants Presenting to a Medical Marijuana Specialty Practice in California”, Nunberg, H., et al. (Journal of Drug Policy Analysis), at least half of the population seeking medical recommendations through a physician group was over the age of 35.

And the fastest growing demographic of cannabis users in America is adults 55 or older. According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of cannabis users aged 55 or older jumped from 2,812,000 in 2013 to 4,309,000 in 2014.

Older Americans look to cannabis as an alternative to prescription opioids. Study after study shows cannabis is safer than other prescriptions for chronic pain and other ailments.

We would contend that the social benefits far outweigh the risks. Risk is inherent in all human activity, but it *can* be controlled and managed.


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