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Cannabis is reaching new demographics 

click to enlarge Usage among those over 55 is on the rise. - DARRIN HARRIS FRISBY/DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE PHOTO
  • Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance photo
  • Usage among those over 55 is on the rise.

As with most consumer industries, the recreational cannabis world has often been dictated by large swaths of male demographics. Males in the 20-to-40 age range are often the most heavily targeted in ads, and weed sales are no different.

But noticeable trends in cannabis participation may affect trends as those over 55 now account for 18 percent of active cannabis users, a quadruple increase from 2007, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Just from 2013 to 2014, 55-and-older cannabis users grew from 2.8 million to 4.3 million. The trends are forcing major cannabis tech companies like Canopy Growth to look into the development of a long-term cannabis study.

"There is clearly an interest in the long-term care space to explore medical cannabis as an alternative to traditional medications for pain and degenerative cognitive function," said Canopy Growth CEO Mark Zekulin.

"The pilot study we've announced today is the first step in developing an evidence-based, best practice approach to medical cannabis that will result in consistent care for thousands of seniors and ultimately improve quality of life and outcomes in long-term care homes."

The six-month pilot program will look at how medicinal marijuana can positively impact pain and improve cognitive functions for roughly 500 preliminary participants. The Ontario Long Term Care Association will run the program while Canopy's subsidiary producer, Spectrum Cannabis, will supply the cannabis.

The survey also found a 3 percent increase in women participants over a 15-year track. Another survey study by the Brightfield Group found that women were more likely to use CBD than men.

Previous research has shown that cannabis' effects are greatly altered based off of estrogen levels and the strength of the endocannabinoid system attachment. It's believed that this increased bond makes the medicinal aspects of THC and CBD stronger for those with higher estrogen levels.

The steady increase of women in the marketplace has brought on a wider focus on cannabis-infused feminine products like lubricants and suppositories and products that focus on easing painful menstrual cramps and menopause symptoms.

"Women in my demographic are prescribed antidepressants at a rate higher than any other group of Americans," cannabis-focused event planner Jane West said in an interview with High Times, "and I want them to be open to learning more about the plant and all of the benefits it can provide, including understanding that marijuana is safer than alcohol and a healthier alternative to prescription medication." ♦

The original print version of this article was headlined "A Growth Sector"

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