Can Cannabis Reduce Suicide Rates?

Medicinal marijuana has been claimed by many to have a positive effect on many conditions ranging from diabetes to anxiety. Now, a recent study has claimed that medicinal cannabis can reduce the rates of suicide.

This is certainly an interesting finding. It is based on the relaxation of medicinal marijuana laws throughout the US. If this was done, the study has found that the number of suicides would be reduced by 5% in the general population, and up to 10% reduction in the 20-29 age group in males. Can such a finding lead to the relaxation of medicinal marijuana laws across the whole of the USA? That is what the head researcher of the study hopes for.3

In the study, which was completed in Denver Colorado, looked at an incredible amount of statistics – 17 years worth. They looked specifically at states that legalized medicinal marijuana between 1990 and 2007 and found that suicide rates per 10,000 of the population in these states were lower compared to states that hadn’t legalized medicinal marijuana.3

Using the statistics of states in which marijuana is still illegal as the control group, the study’s authors concluded that in states with legal medical marijuana, the suicide rate for males aged 20-29 saw a 10.9% decrease, with slightly older men in the 30-39 age group saw a similar decrease at 9.4%. In terms of females, the researchers struggled to make definitive conclusions, and stated that further research would be required in order to quantify the decreases in suicide in females.

In the past, many opponents of medicinal marijuana legalization have pointed to the fact that cannabis can have a negative effect on mental health. But, as more and more research points to the fact that cannabis can reduce bouts of depression and anxiety, this myth is starting to become debunked, which is converting more people to the pro-cannabis side.

In drawing their conclusions, the researchers said that the apparent negative relationship in young men between medicinal marijuana legalization and suicides is possibly down to the fact that marijuana can be used by many as a way to reduce the impact of particularly stressful events in that person’s life. Sometimes, alcohol can also be used as a coping mechanism aswell, and these links would require further study.

In another recent study, released by Chicago University, it was found that where medicinal marijuana was legalized, there was between an 8 and 11% decrease in traffic fatalities which was shown in the 1st year after legalization. To complement this statistic, it was found that less beer was consumed, as a 5% reduction was found. It was also found that where drink driving was concerned, there was a 13% reduction in cases where one driver had an alcohol blood count above the allowed level. It certainly appears that marijuana can not only have a positive effect on suicide rates, it can also help in other areas too.

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