Canadians over the age of 65 years experienced the highest growth in cannabis use after legalization, according to a study released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.
With legalization, older Canadians were less likely to use cannabis overall - 7% compared to 25% of seniors aged 25 to 44.
They were also more likely to use drugs for medical reasons than for recreational reasons: more than half said they use them for medical reasons only, and less likely to use them daily or almost daily and more likely to use them on a daily basis. buy only through legal channels.
According to the National Cannabis Survey of Statistics Canadaolder people who use cannabis have been doing so since legalization. Among users over 65 years, more than a quarter are new users, against 10% of 25 to 44 years.
A similar study conducted over the summer showed that middle-aged and older cannabis users were more likely to have started since their legalization.
At the time, Jenna Valleriani, executive director of Hope for Health Canada, the legal ban on cannabis was a major drag.
"For many people in this demographic group, illegality often kept them away from cannabis," she said.
Before legalization, Global News spoke with a professor of geriatric medicine who predicted that use among older people would increase in the legal market, if only because older people are less likely to have contacts with the illegal market.
"For many seniors, being able to go to a store or clinic will make a huge difference to having to look for someone who knows where to get the product," said Christopher Frank of the faculty. of Queen's University.
However, he recalls that the elderly and their doctors should be "cautious" about cannabis, citing the danger of confusion, falls and conflicts with other drugs.
Earlier this year, a doctor in Saint John, New Brunswick, published an article in which she described a heart attack that one of her 70-age patients had after eating an "edible" of illegally-purchased cannabis and who was much more powerful than expected.