Older Cannabis Users Are Not All Alike: Lifespan Cannabis Use Patterns

J Appl Gerontol. 2021 Jan;40(1):87-94. doi: 10.1177/0733464819894922. Epub 2019 Dec 25.


Although several studies have examined individual-level correlates of cannabis use in later life, there is scant evidence identifying heterogeneity among older users. Using data from Colorado, this study examines variability in lifespan patterns of cannabis use among individuals aged 60 years and older. Sample respondents reported cannabis use in the past year and frequency of use in four periods of adulthood. Analyses used a multi-way contingency table to identify mutually exclusive subgroups of cannabis users based on lifetime reports of use and linear probability models to identify predictors of group identity. Three subgroups of older cannabis users were identified: new users, stop-out or intermittent users, and consistent users. The three groups varied on current use frequency and method of ingestion, as well as social and health characteristics. Screening for past history of cannabis use may help health care providers identify older adults who need health information and monitoring related to cannabis use.

Keywords: cannabis; lifespan use patterns; subgroups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cannabis*
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Middle Aged