Marijuana Use Problems among 25-40 Year-Olds

Marijuana Use Problems among 25-40 Year-Olds

Much of the popular attention on marijuana is focused on the problems it causes for those under 25. This emphasis on youth use is understandable, considering the special vulnerabilities of the adolescent brain to marijuana. Furthermore, marijuana use is the most prevalent among 18-25 year-olds.

But individuals aged 25-40 also have marijuana problems that should not be neglected. Characteristics of marijuana problems and treatment in this age group can be different from those of younger age groups.

Why 25-40 Year-Olds Continue to Use Marijuana

Studies of marijuana use across age groups indicate an arc of use that begins in adolescence, peaks in young adulthood, and then fades away or stops in the late 20s and 30s. The 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that 16.7% of 18-25 year-olds had used marijuana in the last 30 days. Only 7.8% of 26-34 year-olds and 4.8% of 35-49 year-olds had done the same.

One reason for this apparent decline in marijuana use is that it follows the general decline in experimental behavior that comes with age. Many young people simply decide marijuana is not for them and then stop using before an addiction develops.

Another cause for the decline could be that marijuana use is not compatible with the pressures and priorities of a mature life. Keeping up with the demands of work and family doesn’t leave room for getting high. People give their attention to these other pursuits and leave marijuana behind.

People continuing to use marijuana heavily into middle adulthood have shown, therefore, a certain amount of resistance to the forces that push marijuana out of the lives of many of their peers. Marijuana habits at this age can be more deeply entrenched and the damage already done can be more severe.

Age-Specific Marijuana Abuse Treatment Approaches

Marijuana users in middle adulthood need different kinds of interventions due to the different life situations they are in and the probable long-term status of their marijuana use.

Just as parents are usually important to recovery for younger people, the children of marijuana users in the 25-40 age group may, depending on their age, become an active part of their parents’ initial intervention and adherence to recovery plans.

Career development and family counseling can also become important aspect of recovery. While their peers were leaving marijuana use to embrace mature professional and social pursuits, users in this age group may have, in effect, chosen marijuana over personal development. Long-term success in recovery may depend on building up some of these neglected areas of life.

Persistent and underlying mental disorders, such as depression or anxiety, could be a reason for marijuana problems persisting to later stages of life. Treatment programs that address addictions combined with mental health disorders (called co-occurring disorders) can be particularly helpful in these cases.

Get Help for Adults Struggling with Marijuana Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with marijuana use problems into middle adulthood, the time to get help is now. Call our toll-free helpline to discuss addiction rehabilitation and treatment options that work. Counselors are available 24 hours a day.