Senior citizens continue to lead canna-curious demographic

senior woman looking at cbd oil senior citizens canna curious

As more states legalize cannabis, the number of consumers also continues to climb. While young adults aged 18-25 may be the most likely to have an affinity for the plant, there’s one demographic that has consistently grown fonder for cannabis in the last several years: senior citizens.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), senior cannabis consumption has nearly tripled over the last ten years. An estimated 32 percent of Americans over the age of 65 used marijuana in 2019, compared to only 11 percent in 2009.

The percentage is even higher for people aged 60-64. More than half of that demographic reported using cannabis in the NSDUH survey.

Many older Americans are turning to cannabis as an alternative to prescription drugs. A report from New Frontier Data showed that 61% of consumers aim to improve their sleep with cannabis products. Relieving chronic pain and neuropathy were also high on the list, two conditions common among senior citizens.

The popularity of cannabis among older adults was recently highlighted on the CNN special Weed 7: A Senior Moment. In that documentary, Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviewed several elderly Americans finding success with the plant, including a 91-year-old Florida resident who found relief from insomnia thanks to high CBD strains of weed.

Growing social acceptance may also explain the jump in cannabis use among seniors. 23 states have fully legalized the plant in the last decade, and federal marijuana legalization creeps closer every day.

Furthermore, the Baby Boomer generation came of age in the 1960s. This era was known for widespread cannabis use. 

The number of Baby Boomers who may have experimented with marijuana in their youth is likely far higher than the generation before them. This may lead to more familiarity and comfort with the plant in general.

Seniors continue to be an important demographic for cannabis companies. Their wide range of use cases and disposable incomes make them a highly-sought after group. 

While they could be less likely to smoke flower, topicals, tinctures, and other medically-focused products may be winners for the 60+ set.

Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter