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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. This can put you at higher risk for unwanted side effects.​

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 or 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 why it’s important to know how cannabis interacts with your medicines​.

Current as of: July 25, 2023

Author: Addiction and Mental Health, Alberta Health Services