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Cannabis use among seniors 'accelerating' post legalization: Statistics Canada study

Last Updated Oct 31, 2019 at 5:09 pm EST

Cannabis is shown in a display jar on the first morning of opening for a Toronto retail store licensed to sell cannabis in Ontario on April 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Summary

Cannabis consumption among seniors has been accelerating


One-quarter of seniors who use cannabis are new users


Seniors are more likely to use cannabis for medical reasons


While seniors are less likely to use cannabis than other age groups, consumption in that particular demographic is growing at a faster rate compared to others, a new Statistics Canada survey said Wednesday.

“Cannabis use is less common among seniors than it is in other age groups (7 per cent, compared with 10 per cent at ages 45 to 64, 25 per cent at ages 25 to 44, and 26 per cent at ages 15 to 24),” a Statistics Canada release said. “However, cannabis consumption among seniors has been accelerating at a much faster pace than it has among other age groups.”

The federal agency also reported that more than one-quarter of seniors who use cannabis are new users.

“While 10 per cent of cannabis consumers aged 25 to 44 were new users in the second and third quarters of 2019, this was the case for more than one-quarter (27 per cent) of cannabis consumers aged 65 and older,” the agency said.

Percentage of cannabis users reporting that they began using in the past three months, by age group, household population aged 15 years and older. (STATISTICS CANADA TABLE)

Statistics Canada also found that seniors are less likely to use cannabis products on a daily basis, however, seniors are more likely to use cannabis for medical reasons.

“More than half (52 per cent) of seniors aged 65 and older reported using cannabis exclusively for medical reasons, while the remaining seniors were evenly split between non-medical only (24 per cent) and both medical and non-medical reasons (24 per cent),” the agency reported.

Seniors were also most likely to obtain their cannabis products from a legal source.

“Consumers aged 65 and older (41 per cent) being the most likely to be using only legally-obtained cannabis, compared with about one-quarter of younger consumers (23 per cent to 29 per cent, depending on age),” they said.

In total, the agency said more than five million Canadians said they used cannabis products from mid-August to mid-September 2019.