Study: Older Adults See Significant Benefits From Medical Cannabis

As medical cannabis use increases among adults aged 65 and over, a new study has found that older patients report significant benefits from these products.

Use of cannabis products for medical purposes is increasing among all adults, but research has suggested that usage is rising the fastest among adults aged 65 and over.

As a result, researchers set out to determine the effectiveness of medical cannabis among older adults, finding that “older aged individuals experience considerable improvement in health and well-being when prescribed cannabis-based medicinal products.”


Researchers conducted the observational study, published in Drugs & Aging, by analyzing the data from 198 patients aged 65 and older who had sought treatment with medicinal cannabinoids — either in the form of flower or oil extracts.

Patients submitted self-reported ratings of quality of life, general health, mood, and sleep at the start of the observational period and again three months later, finding that older patients experienced significant improvements after using the cannabis products — especially when it came to reductions in pain severity.

The researchers also compared the characteristics of younger patients using medical cannabis with older participants, finding that those aged over 64 years were more likely to be female, more likely to report pain as their primary condition, and less likely to report current daily use.

They also found that older patients received fewer cannabis-based medicinal products. Compared with younger patients, they were more likely to receive a prescription for a CBD dominant oil and less likely to receive a prescription for THC dominant flower.

While there were significant improvements across all measures of well-being among all ages, the extent of improvements in sleep were more pronounced in younger individuals.

The authors say more research is needed to better understand cannabis use and effectiveness among older adults as this population has been excluded from many previous studies. They cite a growing need for real-world evidence to assess the effectiveness and safety of these drugs for older individuals.

“There were consistent improvements across measures of general health and well-being after three months of treatment,” the researchers concluded. “These findings accord with a growing body of observational and real-world evidence from jurisdictions that have legalized medicinal cannabis that cannabis is effective for improving sleep, mood, and quality of health across multiple primary conditions.”


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