Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health
The mission of the CCSMH is to promote the mental health of seniors by connecting people, ideas and resources.
Cannabis and Older Adults
The August 2021 blog post written by Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health.
Over the past few years, cannabis consumption among older adults has been accelerating at a much faster pace than other age groups. According to the National Cannabis Survey in 2012, less than 1% of older adults (about 40,000) reported using cannabis contrasting sharply with estimates from 2019 where 400,000 older adults reported using cannabis in the past 3 months. ( The Daily — National Cannabis Survey, third quarter 2019 (statcan.gc.ca)).
The results from a variety of published sources, highlight the increasing use of cannabis among older adults in addition to a reported gap in knowledge for healthcare providers regarding medical cannabis and older adults. In order to address this gap, the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) is in the process of developing MOC and MainPro+ accredited e-learning modules on the topic of Cannabis and Older Adults. We aim to launch the modules in early 2022. Topics include;
- Cannabis and medication interactions
- How to talk to older patients about cannabis
- Screening for, prescribing and authorizing cannabis
- Safety and risks of cannabis for older adults
- Cannabis use disorder/harm reduction
- Medico-legal considerations
CCSMH received 1551 responses to a Needs Assessment Survey on Cannabis and Older Adults from healthcare providers, healthcare students, caregivers and older adults in the Fall of 2020.
Some highlights of the Needs Assessment Survey include;
Physicians and Nurse Practitioners
- 89% of physicians and nurse practitioners are aware of older adults in their practice using cannabis however only 39% of physicians and nurse practitioners felt that they had sufficient knowledge to address older patients and their caregivers’ questions about cannabis.
- 33% always ask their older patients about cannabis use.
- Only 39% of physicians and nurse practitioners felt that they had sufficient knowledge to address older patients and their caregivers’ questions about cannabis
- 41% of older adults responded that their healthcare provider was not able to answer their questions on cannabis
- The internet is the most common information source for older adults on the topic of cannabis, followed by doctors, friends and family and the media
- Anxiety, pain and to help with sleep are the most common reasons that older adults report using cannabis
The survey responses received will influence the development of the e-learning modules. Our work plan aims to develop the modules over the next several months, and complete the accreditation process in Fall 2021, launching the modules in early 2022.
CCSMH has also published a variety of useful resources on Cannabis including;
- Cannabis Use Disorder Guidelines Cannabis-CGJ-March-2020.pdf (ccsmh.ca)
- A Guide to Cannabis for Older Adults A Guide to Cannabis for Older Adults (ccsmh.ca)
- What Older Adults Need to Know about Cannabis pdf
Stay tuned for future updates on the project by visiting the CCSMH website at Cannabis and Older Adults Project – Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (ccsmh.ca) and registering for our newsletter at Become an Affiliate – Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (ccsmh.ca)