Disparity between perceptual fall risk and physiological fall risk in older cannabis users: A pilot study

Craig D. Workman, Jacob J. Sosnoff, Thorsten Rudroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aging is associated with cognitive decline and increased fall risk. Cognitive impairment is associated with cannabis use, which is increasing among older adults. Perceptual and physiological fall risk are discordant in some older adults, but whether cannabis use influences this association is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate possible disparities between perceptual and physiological fall risk in older cannabis users. Eight older medical cannabis users and eight sex-and age-matched non-users provided data on perceptual and physiological fall risk. Group differences were assessed, and perceptual fall risk was correlated with physiological fall risk. Perceptual risk and most of the physiological fall risk variables were equivalent between the groups. However, cannabis users performed significantly worse on unipedal stance than non-users. In addition, perceptual fall risk had weak correlations with physiological fall risk in the users (Spearman’s rho = 0.17–0.41) and moderate-strong correlations in non-users (rho = −0.18–0.67). Cannabis users might have a discrepancy between perceptual and physiological fall risk. Because both concepts play a role in quality of life, identifying strategies to improve them may have significant benefits. Future studies investigating additional perceptual (e.g., cognition, fear of falling, depression, anxiety), physiological (e.g., more challenging static and dynamic balance conditions), and general fall risk are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Balance
  • Cannabis
  • Cognition
  • Fall risk
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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