Age-related Patterns of Medical Cannabis Use: A Survey of Authorized Patients in Canada


  • Mariah Walker Tilray
  • Stephanie Lake UCLA Center for Cannabis and Cannabinoids
  • Jose Tempero Tilray
  • Kaye Ong Tilray
  • Philippe Lucas University of Victoria


Objective: An increasing number of Canadians are registering as authorized users of medical cannabis. Older patients comprise a growing subset of this population; however, relatively little information exists around age-related patterns of medical cannabis use. Methods: The Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey (CCPS) is a large cross-sectional survey of authorized medical cannabis patients in Canada. This publication summarizes the results of the CCPS 2021, with a focus on age-related outcomes and the elderly sub-population. Results: The survey was completed by 2,697 patients. The mean age of participants was 54.3 years of age and the proportion of female respondents was 49.1%. Among older patients, pain was the most common symptom, while anxiety was the most common symptom reported by younger patients. Older patients exhibited a significant preference for oral administration over inhalation of medical cannabis when compared to younger patients, respectively (p>0.05). Among patients taking prescription opioids, most of whom were older patients, 54% reported a decrease in use concurrent with medical cannabis. Conclusions: Older patients comprise a growing subset of medical cannabis patients, which is also reflected in CCPS participants over time. This patient population exhibits different patterns of use compared to their younger counterparts, preferring high CBD orally ingested formulations, which they use primarily to treat pain-related illnesses/symptoms. Overall, study participants reported that cannabis had a high degree of efficacy in alleviating their illness/symptoms, and many reported a reduction in their use of prescription opioids, alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.


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