Marijuana and Mental Health

Research by Han, Beth; Compton, Wilson; Einstein, Emily; Volkow, Nora (2021). Associations of suicidality trends with cannabis use as a function of sex and depression status. JAMA Network Open, 4(6).

Written by Robin N. Fatovic ’20 M.S.

The use of cannabis, or marijuana, increased significantly in the past decade. However, so did the rate in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Substance use researchers reviewed the 2008 to 2019 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health for almost 300,000 adults ages 18 to 34 years old to see if these increases were related.

Results: At the time of the survey, respondents across most sociodemographic groups reported an increase in suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts in the past year. Additionally, results showed that any cannabis use, whether it was daily or not, was associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Anyone with cannabis use disorder had more suicidal thoughts than those who did not use it regularly. For those with cannabis use disorder without depression, 14% women had significantly higher suicidal ideation than men did at 10%.

This increase in suicidal behaviors and attempts is a national health concern. Though this increase can stem from many factors, this study shows that cannabis use may play a role, too. Marijuana is used to get “high,” yet too many feel the lows.  Find alternatives.

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