Seniors Approve of Marijuana for Medical Reasons

Although most seniors have not used medical marijuana, most are still in favor of it given the right conditions.

In a poll done across the United States on over 2,000 people over 50 but younger than 80, only about 6% had ever taken marijuana for its medicinal benefits. About 18% said they knew someone who had.

Still, about 80% of those in the study responded that they are in favor of the use of medical marijuana if a doctor recommends it. Forty percent say they support its use for any reason, and about 66% said the government should more thoroughly investigate the effects on health of taking marijuana.

Over two-thirds of those surveyed believe that marijuana can be a solution for pain relief, although about half think that prescription painkillers are more effective.

The survey was done by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. It was sponsored by the AARP and Michigan Medicine, the academic medical center of the university.

Twenty percent of those surveyed said that their doctors or primary care providers asked them if they took marijuana. Seventy percent said they would for sure, or most likely, ask their providers about marijuana if they had a medical condition that could be helped with marijuana use.

“With medical marijuana already legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and other states considering legalizing this use or all use, this is an issue of interest to patients, providers and policymakers alike,” survey leader Dr. Preeti Malani, a specialist in the treatment of older patients, said.

“Although older adults may be a bit wary about marijuana, the majority support more research on it,” said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research for AARP. “This openness to more research likely speaks to a desire to find safe, alternative treatments to control pain.”