Cannabis Use and Baby Boomers: Attitudes and Patterns of Consumption


  • Janet Douglas Social Service Worker Department, Langara College, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • D. Margo Nelson Department of Health Sciences, Langara College, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Paul S. Sunga Department of Health Sciences, Langara College, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Daryl J. Smith Department of Biology, Langara College, Vancouver, BC, Canada


Cannabis consumption, already legal in several American states and other jurisdictions around the world, became legal in Canada in October 2018. The present study examines the patterns of cannabis use in Canada among those born between 1946 and 1964, the so-called “Baby Boom” generation. This study was undertaken in order to better understand the motivations or inhibitions of Baby Boomer with respect to cannabis use decisions, as well as to explore their opinions about the effects of cannabis use on their health and cognitive and physical well-being. A voluntary, anonymous on-line survey was circulated using social media and flyers. The survey questions were on general health, cannabis use and effects, and other drug consumption. One hundred and forty-two responses were collected from June 2016 to May 2017.  A majority (87.6%) had used cannabis although 42.5% had not consumed it for over a year. Most respondents first used cannabis in their teens (59%) or as young adults (38.4%).  About 42% have continued to consume cannabis (daily (16.4%), weekly (20%), or monthly (5.5%). The majority of respondents (48.5%) were found to use cannabis for recreational purposes only, while 19.2% use it for both recreational and medicinal purposes, and 7.1% for assistance with their physical health. The most common conditions for which the respondents have used cannabis are pain (32.9%), sleeplessness (27.4%), and anxiety (24.7%). Baby Boomers report that they make conscious and informed decisions about their cannabis use, and for the majority, their use causes them no harms in their overall functioning, learning, or relationships. For some, cannabis provides a reduction in physical pain and sleeplessness, which improves their abilities to participate in activities that are important to them. More frequent users reported a higher rate of concerns with short-term memory, but overall, users reported their functioning was enhanced by their cannabis use.

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