Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Jun 24;225:108842. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108842. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Despite increasing rates of nonmedical and/or medical cannabis use in the 50+ age group, scant research exists on the associations between cannabis use and prescription medication use. In this study, we examined associations of use of prescription tranquilizers, sedatives, stimulants, and pain relievers, tobacco products, any/binge/heavy alcohol, and illicit drugs with cannabis use and use characteristics among U.S. adults aged 50+ years with past-year mental illness (n = 6454).
METHODS: Data are from the 2015-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). We used logistic regression models to examine associations of past-month use of each substance with (1) cannabis use among all those with past-year mental illness, and (2) cannabis use characteristics among cannabis users, controlling for severity of mental illness and sociodemographic and health characteristics.
RESULTS: Of individuals aged 50+, 14.1 % had any past-year mental illness, and 9.7 % of those with mental illness, compared to 4.0 % of those without, reported past-month cannabis use. Compared to nonusers, cannabis users had higher odds of using each substance except antidepressants, with adjusted odds ratios ranging from 1.3 (sedatives) to 3.6 (illicit drugs). Compared to nonmedical cannabis users, medical users had 2-2.5 times higher likelihood of co-use of tranquilizers, sedatives, and prescription pain relievers but lower odds of binge and heavy alcohol use.
CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis users, especially medical cannabis users, are significantly more likely to use prescription psychotropic or pain medications. Healthcare professionals should assess for poly-substance use and potential adverse effects among older adults with mental illness.
Source: ncbi 2