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Marijuana legalization is not linked to increased mental illness or suicide, new study finds, despite opposition claims

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Marijuana legalization is not associated with an increased risk of mental illness or suicide, despite what some opponents of the policy change have argued, according to a new study.

In fact, the study found that legalizing cannabis was associated with a 6.29 percent reduction in suicide among males between the ages of 40 and 49.

The relationship between marijuana and mental health has been a topic of great interest to both proponents and opponents of cannabis reform.

Advocates of the studies point out that marijuana appears to effectively treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) conditions and symptoms, for example. On the other hand, outcasts asserted that cannabis leads to severe mental illness and an increased risk of suicide.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Yale University School of Law, the Cato Institute, the Rayson Foundation, and others decided to Investigation The problem is, looking to see if the conclusions of a previous 2013 study have held up in the years since more state marijuana markets were created or developed.

In 2013, a study found that there is no connection between the legalization of medical cannabis at the state level and mental illness. The researchers followed the methodology of that study for an update, and performed a “statewide longitudinal analysis using suicide rates from the National Center for Health Statistics and rates of mental health morbidity from the National Survey of Substance Use and Health.”

“We found that access to recreational marijuana was associated with a 6.29 percent reduction in suicide rates for males ages 40 to 49, but other mental health outcomes were not otherwise affected by the liberalization of marijuana laws,” they said.

One of the authors said that scientists are reviewing their findings, but they are still in the process of undergoing peer review and are due to be published in a “major scientific journal.” The data used in the research covered all 50 states and Washington, D.C. from 1999 to 2019.

“Negative mental health findings do not track nationwide cannabis liberalization, confirming findings.” [the 2013 study]The investigators found. In addition, there is evidence that access to recreational marijuana reduces suicide rates for middle-aged males.

“Using any drug, psychoactive or otherwise, carries certain risks along with any benefits. Cannabis legalization is no exception,” the study authors wrote. Critics of marijuana legalization point to studies showing associations between excessive cannabis use and suicide, depression and mental health disorders. However, such studies demonstrating association should confirm causation, which should be determined by the model’s predictive ability.”

“We are proposing that as medical and recreational marijuana use becomes more widespread and generalised, concerns about the relationship between marijuana use and depression should not interfere with state or federal efforts to decriminalize or legalize cannabis,” they continued. “In fact, the legislation would have the beneficial effect of allowing more rigorous research – now forbidden by federal bans – into the additional benefits, as well as any other potential harms, of long-term use of marijuana, and encouraging safe use.”

A more focused study published in 2019 found that people with PTSD who consume marijuana Significantly fewer episodes of depression and lower rates of suicidal ideation compared to non-users.

Meanwhile, recent research has also challenged other taboo narratives about legalization.

For example, a recently released federal survey found that Youth marijuana use decreased in 2020 Amid the coronavirus pandemic and as more countries move to enact legalization.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September found that Cannabis consumption rates among adolescents are not increasing After states enact legalization for medical or recreational use.

As Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), admitted in a recent interview that Rationalization has not led to an increase in youth employment Despite her previous fears.

A federal report was released in May as well Challenge the taboo narrative Statewide marijuana legalization is increasing youth use.

The US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics also analyzed youth surveys of high school students from 2009 to 2019 and concluded that there was “no appreciable difference” in the percentage of those in grades 9-12 who reported using cannabis at least once in the 30 days. past.

In a separate previous analysis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that marijuana consumption among high school students declined during the peak years of the state’s legal recreational cannabis legalization.

there was ‘No change’ in the current cannabis use rate Among high school students from 2009-2019, the survey found. However, when analyzed using the quadratic change model, lifetime marijuana consumption declined during that period.

A federally funded Monitoring the Future report released late last year found that cannabis consumption among teens “Not noticeably changed In any of the three grades for lifetime use, past 12-month use, past 30-day use, and daily use from 2019-2020.”

Another study published by Colorado officials last year showed that Youth cannabis consumption in the state ‘has not changed significantly since legalization’ In 2012, despite the variety of consumption methods.

An official with the White House Office of National Drug Policy’s National Marijuana Initiative went even further last year, acknowledging that, for reasons that aren’t clear, Young people’s cannabis consumption ‘is declining’ in Colorado Other states are legal and that it is “a good thing” even if “we don’t understand why.”

Previous studies looking at teenage use rates after legalization have found a decrease in consumption or a similar lack of evidence to suggest an increase.

In 2019, for example, a study took data from Washington state and determined that declining youth marijuana consumption could be explained by the replacement of the illicit market with regulations or a “loss of new appeal among young people.” Another study from last year Decreased youth consumption of cannabis has been shown in legitimate states but no possible explanations are suggested.

Mississippi governor dodges questions about a private medical marijuana session when confronted by patient advocates

Photo submitted by Mike Latimer.

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