Seniors are heading to the emergency rooms at record numbers due to cannabis-related issues according to a new study by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. According to the study, in 2005, only 366 seniors over the age of 65 made trips to the emergency room due to cannabis related concerns. By 2019, that number jumped up 3200% when 12,167 seniors made the trip for the same reason.
When medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, many chose not to use the drug. In 2003 when the legislation was clarified, more widespread use of the drug was observed throughout all ages in the state. Dr. Benjamin Han, a geriatrician who authored the study said this about the issue, “Many patients assume they aren’t going to have adverse side-effects from cannabis because they often don’t view it as seriously as they would a prescription drug…I do see a lot of older adults who are overly confident, saying they know how to handle it — yet as they have gotten older, their bodies are more sensitive, and the concentrations are very different from what they may have tried when they were younger.”
Research has shown a significant increase in the number of older adults using cannabis to alleviate chronic symptoms. This is part of the reason as to why many are making the trips to the emergency rooms. Many older adults also consume cannabis due to the de stigmatization of the drug, opening the door for a much wider sample size.
Cannabis is also known to slow reaction time as well as impair attention, this could lead to injuries or falls as well as increase psychosis, delirium, and paranoia. Many other adverse health effects could affect older citizens as well.
Read the whole article from NBCSandiego here.