Medical doctors ought to display over-50s for hashish use, say researchers

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Doctors should screen over-50s for cannabis use, say researchers

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Elderly people who use cannabis to relieve or treat health problems do not discuss their substance use with doctors. This is evident from research published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

According to a study of more than 17,000 people aged 50 and over in the United States, some use cannabis every day of the year and others have mental health problems.

The study is the first to find where older users get cannabis, with the majority saying it's easy to get cannabis. Those who use cannabis for health reasons are more likely than non-medical (recreational) users to buy it from a medical pharmacy (20% versus 5%) and are less likely to get it for free (25% versus 46%) or from other sources such as political parties ( 49% versus 56%).

The authors say the results have significant clinical and policy implications, especially as more U.S. states legalize cannabis, leading to rapid increases in consumption among the elderly.

You want doctors to routinely screen the elderly for cannabis and other substances, screen cannabis users for mental health issues, and recommend treatment if necessary.

Educating this group about the risks of extracting cannabis and cannabis products from unregulated sources is also crucial, according to the authors.

"Cannabis is readily available and accessible to elderly cannabis users for medicinal or non-medicinal purposes," says Namkee G. Choi of the University of Texas at Austin, USA.

"The results suggest that some medical users may self-medicate without medical advice.

"All elderly people who use cannabis should consult health professionals about their use. As part of routine care, health professionals should look for cannabis and other substances, as well as mental health problems.

"They should also recommend services or treatments when appropriate. With the increase in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) potency, healthcare professionals should educate older cannabis users, especially high-frequency users, of potential safety issues and adverse effects."

Cannabis use among older adults in the US more than doubled between 2008 and 2019, also to relieve pain and treat health problems. Little is known, however, about where they get cannabis from and how much they discuss with doctors about their use, which this study was intended to determine.

The study was based on responses from 17,685 men and women aged 50 and over to the National Drug Use and Health Survey (NSDUH) of 2018 and 2019. This annual federal government survey, which is the largest of its kind, measures substance use and abuse, as well as mental health Diseases in the United States.

The University of Texas researchers analyzed the responses, including the frequency of cannabis use, the proportion taken for medical and non-medical reasons, where they got it, and how often they used health services.

Overall, the study found that almost one in ten (9%) used cannabis in the past year. Almost a fifth (19%) of these used cannabis to some extent for medicinal purposes, e.g. B. used to treat chronic pain, depression, or diseases such as arthritis, and the remainder (81%) were recreational (non-medical) users.

The authors found that people who reported using cannabis for medical reasons were more than four times more likely than non-medicinal users to discuss its use with a healthcare professional. However, only a minority of medical users have done so, which, according to the authors, implies that some self-medicate without consulting a doctor.

Other results include a higher likelihood that medical users will take the drug more frequently, with 40% taking it between 200 and 365 days a year, compared to non-medical users.

A higher proportion of older cannabis users had mental illnesses, alcohol use disorders, and nicotine addictions compared to their peers who did not use cannabis, although medical users were less likely to have alcohol problems compared to recreational users.

In addition to urging doctors to do more, the study's authors say the NSDUH needs to be updated to "reflect the changing commercialization of cannabis products," e.g. Cannabidiols, topical solutions, and foods all available to the elderly.

Limitations of the study included the relatively small number of medical users and the fact that some respondents may not have adequately reported their cannabis and other substance use.

When asked about people with uncontrolled asthma, half smoked cannabis

More information:
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/1… 0952990.2021.1908318

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Taylor & Francis

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