Implications for policy and providers
The widespread support by older Americans for more research on the effects of marijuana is especially significant, Malani says, given the growing legalization trend in states and the continued federal policy that marijuana use is illegal.
“Although older adults may be a bit wary about marijuana, the majority support more research on it,” says Alison Bryant, Ph.D., senior vice president of research for AARP. “This openness to more research likely speaks to a desire to find safe, alternative treatments to control pain.”
Research on marijuana’s effects and related issues can be done under carefully controlled circumstances, but few studies have included older adults. The new poll results indicate an appetite for further government-sponsored research, including government-standardized dosing.
Malani, a professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School who specializes in infectious diseases and geriatrics, notes that providers should be routinely asking older patients about marijuana use.
Only one in 5 poll respondents said their primary health care provider