The legalization of medical cannabis significantly reduces suicide rates, especially among young adults, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
For the study, researchers obtained 17 years worth of state-level suicide data from the National Vital Statistics System’s Mortality Detail Files, and used regression analysis – studying economic conditions, state policies, and state-specific linear time trends – to examine the association “between medical marijuana legalization and suicides per 100 000 population”.
Researchers found that legalization was associated with a 10.8% reduction in the suicide rate of men aged 20 through 29 years, and a 9.4% reduction in the suicide rate of those aged 30 to 39.
“Suicides among men aged 20 through 39 years fell after medical marijuana legalization compared with those in states that did not legalize”, the study states. “The negative relationship between legalization and suicides among young men is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events. However, this relationship may be explained by alcohol consumption [which dropped in states that legalized medical cannabis].”
Researchers conclude by stating that “The mechanism through which legalizing medical marijuana reduces suicides among young men remains a topic for future study.”
The study can be found by clicking here.