Are these people using the drug for the first time, or are they rediscovering something familiar from their youth? The survey doesn't say, but there is one reason older folks could be turning to marijuana. "This cohort basically have been people who probably used marijuana earlier in their lifetime, so they may be continued users and may be turning back to it in their older age because they're comfortable with it," says Dr. Cathi Fontenot, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Some of the baby boomers may also be suffering from diseases that benefit from medicinal marijuana, she says, "It's shown to be useful in medical studies for people with chronic pain. And certainly we have a lot of people across the country who have a lot of chronic pain from one disease process or another."