When you think of ‘weed’ plus ‘parents’, some standard scenarios generally come to mind. Your mom showing pictures of your brain on drugs, your dad admonishing you to stay in school and avoid any use of ‘The Marijuana’. Yes, for many years the middle-aged have been the subject of some pretty powerful party-poopin’ stereotypes, while young folks these days are generally assumed to dedicate a fairly substantial amount of time to chasing whatever feels good at the moment. Popular media certainly seems to bear this out ---- while the rebellious teen of your favourite sitcom might occasionally sneak a couple of pulls on a joint, you’re not likely to see their parents clearing space in the den for a shiny new hookah.
Well, brace yourself, because a study’s recently come out that’s turned all that on its head. According to a report released on September 2nd, 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans aged 35-44 are now more likely to relax with a little weed than the 12-17 age group. Get it, parents. The difference was .6 percent, which doesn’t sound like much on paper, but does represent a pretty sizeable group of folks in real life. Eight percent of 35-to-44-year-olds used weed on the regular in the year of 2014 while their 12-to-17-year-old kids toked up at a rate of only 7.4 percent, the first time this has occurred since at least 2002 (due to a methodology switchup, survey data prior to then aren’t directly comparable). No word on how much marijuana use among parents was due to finding their kid’s stash and giving in to temptation.
Enlivening Parental Parties Everywhere
More surprising, it turns out that the 35-44-year-olds aren’t the only ones feeling the need for weed. Rates of marijuana usage have skyrocketed among the older generation, with Americans aged 45-54 upping their intake by almost 50 percent since at least 2002. Rates by those aged 55-64 have jumped even higher, by a staggering 455%, and seniors aged 65+ have increased their monthly indulgence by 333%. If you’re wondering why Grandma and Grandpa seem a little distracted at family dinner . . . seems like, in a rapidly growing number of cases, you might be able to blame their friend Mary Jane.
Grandpa's Got (Ganja) Game
Why the jump in lightin’ up among the older generations? Well, one reason could be contained in the generations themselves. Remember the ‘60s and ‘70s? Yeah, pot got pretty popular around then, with many partakers of the time advocating for legalization, and the recent repopularization of weed might’ve made some Boomers nostalgic for the good old days. The solution? Re-add a bit of leafy goodness to everyday life, apparently. Other reasons are more practical in nature: pain. Medical marijuana is now legal in 25 states + D.C., and studies have shown that Medicare prescriptions for a number of common drug types (painkillers among them) are descending in those states. Seniors seem to be turning more and more to a little bit of pot over other medications, both to relieve pain and to help out in other areas affecting quality of life ---- such as sleeplessness.
Those '70s Kids
As the march continues toward a potential reality of full marijuana legalization, it’ll be interesting to see if its usage continues to rise in our middle-aged and senior generations. Will more and more elders find themselves reaching for a pipe, a vaping device, or a marijuana edible like brownies over the pills and potions of more traditional painkillers? That remains to be seen, but if this current trend continues, it looks more and more like a legitimate possibility.
For the time being, an increasing number of 35+ folks are regularly consuming marijuana ---- and future implications aside, that’s an intriguing stat all on its own. Make way teens, today’s weed use stats are now officially in favour of your parents.
And, if you notice your Doritos mysteriously disappearing . . . well, you just might know why.