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Use in older adults

As we get older, the effects of cannabis and other drugs that act on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) may be stronger.

There is very little research on the effects of cannabis use on older adults. But it’s important to know that if you’re an older adult who uses cannabis, you may:

  • cough more and have more phlegm (if you smoke it)
  • make chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms worse (if you have COPD)
  • have a higher risk of falling after using cannabis because it makes you feel impaired, tired, dizzy, or anxious
  • have a higher risk of harmful substance use if you often spend time alone, don’t have support from others, have depression, anxiety, or have recently lost a loved one
  • have a higher risk of a drug interaction if you take more than one medicine to treat different medical conditions

If you’re thinking about using cannabis, ask your doctor or pharmacist to go over all your medicines with you before you use it. Find out more about the effects of cannabis and how cannabis interacts with your medicines (in the lower your risk of harm section).

Current as of: October 16, 2019

Author: Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services