With the growing legalization of marijuana across the country, both medical and recreational uses are more accepted than ever before. The increasing legality of cannabis across the country might lead some individuals to believe that it is risk-free, which is not the case. Marijuana can have negative side effects, and many of them are unique to those over 60 years old. Continue reading to learn more about these side effects
1 — Mental Health Issues
According to a study published in the journal Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, marijuana users over 60 are more likely to be depressed or stressed than non-users. This may be due to the fact that some marijuana users are self-medicating instead of going for help. However, because cannabis affects the brain specifically, it might exacerbate mental illnesses or prevent therapy. “If you have a mental health problem, marijuana should be used with caution,” says Mayo Clinic.
2 — Cognitive Disorders
Is there a link between marijuana and dementia? Cannabis users in their 50s had an increased risk of thinking and perception problems, according to researchers. “Self-reported perception or thinking disorders reflect changes in thinking and perception typically categorized as psychotic symptoms,” wrote the authors.
3 — Risky Behavior
According to a recent study, marijuana users aged 50 to 64 were more likely than non-users their age group to engage in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence, physical violence, and theft. Other lab results have revealed that marijuana smokers over 65 were more likely to drive while intoxicated than those who do not use cannabis. A 2018 research also suggested that marijuana use has been linked with injury in older people, as well as trips to the emergency department.
4 — Drug Interactions
According to the Mayo Clinic, combining cannabis with other medicines can result in adverse effects. These include an increased risk of bleeding, reduced blood pressure, decreased efficacy of antivirals, enhanced sedative effects of certain medications, and altered blood sugar levels. This may make marijuana use more hazardous for persons taking anticoagulants or drugs for chronic diseases such as blood pressure or HIV/AIDS.
5 — Poor Diet
Marijuana has been shown to enhance appetite. This can have significant health risks for older people, especially if they are overweight or have heart disease or diabetes. Marijuana users self-reported a higher consumption of alcohol, salt, cheese, pork, and salty snacks in several studies, but consumed less fruits and vegetables than non-users. “The stimulation of appetite may be fatal for persons with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, where a balanced diet may be essential to achieving good health outcomes,” said the authors of a 2018 Geriatric and Gerontology Medicine study on marijuana.