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

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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