Two crystal-coated cannabis colas inside of a licensed cultivation center.

Rory Savatgy

Poll: 70% of Older Americans Would Consider MMJ Use if Condition Would Respond Well

A University of Michigan poll has found strong support for medical cannabis among adults aged 50 to 80, with 70 percent of respondents of the Healthy Aging Poll saying they would consider using medical cannabis if diagnosed with a “serious health condition that might respond well to marijuana.”

The survey found 44 percent would “definitely” consider medical cannabis and another 26 percent “probably” would consider it, while 13 percent were a hard “no,” with 17 percent “unsure.” Of the respondents, just 6 percent indicated they actively use medical cannabis and 18 percent said they knew someone who uses cannabis for medical purposes.

Opinions on cannabis vs pharmaceuticals for pain relief: 31 percent of respondents said that cannabis “definitely” provides pain relief, while another 38 percent believed it “probably” does – just 4 percent said they did not believe cannabis provides pain relief and 27 percent were unsure. Nearly half of respondents – 48 percent – said they believed pharmaceutical pain medication was more effective at providing pain relief than cannabis, 39 percent said cannabis and pharmaceuticals provided the same relief, and 14 percent said cannabis was more effective. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they thought prescription pain medication had more side effects than cannabis, while 34 percent believed the side effects between the two were the same, and 9 percent said cannabis had more side effects.

Nearly half of the respondents – 48 percent – believed pharmaceuticals were more addictive than cannabis. Thirty-eight percent believed they were about the same and 12 percent believed cannabis was more addictive.

“These poll results illustrate broad support for marijuana use when recommended by a doctor, but not for recreational use. Older adults perceive marijuana to offer pain relief and to be safer and less addictive than prescription pain medications. Restrictions around prescription pain medications may mean that more people (including older adults) seek out medical marijuana. This highlights the need for rigorous studies on the health effects and safety of marijuana use, especially in older adults.” – University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, April 2018

Although just 6 percent admitted to using medical cannabis, that figure represents millions of older adults across the U.S. population.

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