The National Survey of Drug Use and Health shows that cannabis use is growing among older adults. However, many still report barriers to getting medical marijuana such as fear of stigma from healthcare providers, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Colorado conducted 17 focus groups in health clinics, senior centers, and cannabis dispensaries that included 136 people aged 60 and older. The team asked these participants questions about how they view and use cannabis, both recreational and medical.  

They found that many older adults used cannabis to manage pain as well as depression and anxiety. However, they were reluctant to ask their doctor about medical marijuana and opted for recreational cannabis instead.

Researchers hypothesize that these individuals felt self-conscious, which signifies poor communication between healthcare providers and their patients.

Researchers say that physicians need to talk to their patients about cannabis use in a non-judgmental way. They should also communicate the benefits and risks effectively.


Bobitt, J., Qualls, S. H., et al. (2019, March 28). Qualitative Analysis of Cannabis Use Among Older Adults in Colorado. Drugs & Aging. Retrieved from