Baby Boomer Bong Rips: Pot Use Soars Among Older Americans



​It was inevitable: When the Baby Boomers hit middle age, they brought along their buds and bongs. Americans over age 50 are using marijuana in record numbers, according to new survey data.

And those numbers are going to go even, well, “higher,” the government admits.
“High rates of lifetime drug use among the baby boom generation (persons born between 1946 and 1964), combined with the large size of the cohort, suggest that the number of older adults using drugs will increase in the next two decades,” the study says.

Marijuana use was more common than the “non-medical” use of prescription-type drugs both for adults 50-54 (6.1 vs. 3.4 percent) and those aged 55-59 (4.1 vs. 3.2 percent). This shouldn’t come as a great surprise; after all, it stands to reason that folks this age, with a wealth of life experiences on which to base decisions, would make safer choices.

Photo: The Daily Show

​Marijuana use, in fact, was more common than non-medical use of prescription drugs among all males over 50 (4.2 percent vs. 2.3 percent).  Among females, the rates of marijuana use and non-medical use of prescription drugs were very similar (1.7 and 1.9 percent).
But conventional wisdom still holds sway on the oldsters over 65, who prefer popping their pills. Non-medical use of prescription drugs was more common than marijuana use among those over 65 (0.8 percent vs. 0.4 percent).
Among men 50 to 54, nearly one in 10 admitted to having smoked marijuana within the past year. Among males 50 to 60, more than four percent said they’d used cannabis.


​Among females 50 to 54, four percent admitted having used pot in the previous year.
“While the federal government refuses to acknowledge that marijuana has a legitimate role as a medicine, in particular one that can offset many of the symptoms and conditions associated with aging, it is nevertheless apparent that a growing percentage of the public — and older Americans, especially — are becoming increasingly aware of this plant’s safety and efficacy,” said Paul Armentano, deputy directory of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
The new numbers come from survey data compiled by the United States Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (The NSDUH Report).