Special Report: The Stoned Age
Published Thursday, March 10, 2011 12:38PM EST
They came of age when experimentation with drugs was all the rage – with marijuana being a clear favorite.
Now, as millions of Canadian baby boomers are getting on in years, it seems their penchant for pot-smoking hasn't waned.
One 57-year-old pot smoker, who wished to remain anonymous, told CTV Montreal's Cindy Sherwin the practice is more common than you might think.
"There's many, many more people my age group and younger that are regularly using it - maybe just on the weekends, or just a joint here, or a joint there," he said.
It was back on a warm summer night in the 1970s at a St-Jean Baptiste party, where he inhaled deeply for the first time.
"In those days all the hippies were passing it around," he said.
"It was the first time I felt that it did have sort - of - hey - this thing is different than beer or whatever and yeah, I liked it - and that was the first time I got stoned."
Many his age began to live the high life back then, or at least tried it. But how pot affects their systems isn't completely understood. There's lots of information about alcohol.
As an illegal substance, marijuana exists in a dark corner.
There's even a stigma amongst doctors, and as a result no real data on how decades of recreational smoking is affecting the health of their baby-boomer patients.
A half century after Woodstock, this is no passing fad. It's something Montreal health specialists treating an aging population hear about all the time.
"What's happening with boomers now is there's an empty nest - so now you can go back to the lifestyle that just maybe they enjoyed an awful lot," said Nona Moscovitz, with mental health and addictions at CSSS cavendish
Drug and alcohol counsellor Beverley Glazer says addiction to pot, like any other drug, can be dangerous. But she's less concerned about those who are able to consume casually.
"That can be considered recreational as long as it's not controlling their life," she said.
"That's perfectly fine. The point is, a lot of people who would never smoke cigarettes don't think twice about smoking marijuana and marijuana is a drug and they are putting it into their systems."