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 it for medical reasons than for recreation: more than half said they used it only for medical reasons, and less likely to use it daily or almost daily and more likely to use it for medical reasons. 'buy only through legal channels.
According to the National Cannabis Survey of Statistics Canada, older people who use cannabis have been doing so since legalization. Among users over 65, more than a quarter are new users, compared to 10% of those aged 25 to 44.
A similar study conducted over the summer showed that middle-aged and older cannabis users were more likely to have started since legalization.
At the time, Jenna Valleriani, executive director of Hope for Health Canada, the legal ban on cannabis was a major drag.
“For a lot of people in this demographic, illegality often kept them away from cannabis,” she said.
Before legalization, Global News spoke with a professor of geriatric medicine who predicted that use in 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 older people, being able to go to a store or a dispensary 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 Medicine from Queen's University.
However, he recalls that older people and their doctors should be "careful" 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-year-old patients had after eating an “edible” of illegally purchased cannabis. was much more powerful than expected.