Cannabis & Older Adults

Sex Differences in Risk of Cognitive Decline in Older Cannabis Users

Principal Investigators: Andreana Benitez, PhD and Aimee McRae-Clark, Pharm.D., BCPP 

This project focuses on the impact of cannabis use in a population (i.e. older adults) that is significantly under-studied in the broader field of cannabis research. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identifies age 50 as a key age at which to start tailoring substance use assessments and interventions for older adults. This project aims to examine cognitive function in cannabis-using older men and women, evaluate the impact of stress on cannabis use and cognitive functioning in older adults, and examine the impact of ovarian hormones on cognitive functioning, stress, and cannabis craving. The results from this project will be critical to devising a comprehensive theoretical model of how cannabis impacts cognitive aging that can be empirically tested in a subsequent longitudinal study. Findings may directly inform sex-specific public health messaging regarding cannabis use as well as identify potential clinical interventions for older adults.