Sean Cate
Sean Cate
May 15, 2024 ·  3 min read

7 Surprising Side Effects of Cannabis After 50

As cannabis legalization becomes more prevalent across the world, its use among adults over 50 is also rising. While many are turning to cannabis for therapeutic reasons, managing conditions like chronic pain or insomnia, we need to understand the potential side effects, particularly for this older demographic. Here are seven surprising side effects of cannabis for individuals aged 50 and above:

1. Heightened Sensitivity and Risk Factors:

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As we age, our body’s ability to metabolize substances goes through changes, making older adults more sensitive and susceptible to cannabis and its effects. Individuals over 55 may be at a higher risk of experiencing all reactions, but especially adverse ones. This is especially true for those with pre-existing medical conditions such as liver or kidney disease. Be sure to consult a healthcare professional. before adding cannabis to your lifestyle.1

Read More: Cannabis Ages Brain By Almost 3 Years, Study Claims

2. THC to CBD Ratio:

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Making sure to choose the right cannabis is also very important for older adults. Going for products that have lower THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) levels and higher CBD (cannabidiol) is the recommended path to avoid intoxication and any adverse effects. The feeling of “high-ness” comes from higher levels of THC. CBD is known for its non-intoxicating properties, and it may counteract some of THC’s effects.2

3. Delayed Onset and Caution with Edibles:

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There are many ways to ingest cannabis, a popular one being edibles due to the ease of consumption. Edibles presents unique considerations for older consumers, though. Unlike smoking or vaping, taking edibles might result in a much more delayed reaction, often taking up to four hours to peak. This slower onset increases the risk of taking more because “you don’t feel anything”, leading to consuming more and having much stronger reactions all at once. Be patient with your edibles.

4. Cannabis with Other Substances:

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It is highly unadvised to mix cannabis with alcohol, tobacco, or medications. Mixing substances can strengthen of weaken the effects of whatever cocktail of things are in your system and can increase the likelihood of bad reactions. Older adults who may already be on multiple medications should exercise caution before making any interaction decisions.

Read More: 25 Things People Didn’t Realize About Cannabis

5. Evolving Potency of Cannabis:

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Cannabis products have significantly increased in strength over the years as legalization has incentives better growing techniques. While this is great for he market, it poses greater risks for older consumers. Compared to previous decades, modern cannabis strains have higher levels of THC, which as previous stated contributes to stronger psychoactive effects.

6. Individual Factors:

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Everyone responds a bit differently to cannabis, so experience can vary widely amongst older adults. Factors like previous experience, consumption method, strain, and overall health all play a role in how your response will go. While some may be able to tolerate cannabis really well, others may experience heightened anxiety, confusion, or cognitive impairment with minimal consumption.

7. Long-Term Health Implications:

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 Beside the immediate side effects, long-term cannabis use may pose additional risks for older adults, especially for those who have liver and kidney issues. Chronic use, especially with high CBD doses, can lead to liver and kidney complications, making existing conditions worse.


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While cannabis doe shave promising therapeutic effects for all ages, using it requires careful consideration of the potential risks and side effects before consumption. By staying informed, consulting your healthcare professional, and exercising moderation, older individuals can harness and enjoy the benefits of cannabis while being sure they are minimizing adverse outcomes. As legalization continues to spread, education and awareness are key in ensuring the safe and responsible use of cannabis among  all demographics.

Read More: What Cannabis Does To Your Mind & Body Depending On How You Ingest It (Infographic)


  1. Health effects of cannabis on adults over 55.” Canada
  2. Heart Health.” CDC