CannaTrials adheres to evidence-based medicine – making statements based on medical evidence.
This page is excerpted and quoted from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. A Committee of over 40 experts, researchers, and reviewers in The Health and Medicine Division published a 486 page report in 2017 entitled “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”
If you would like to access the entire report you may do so by clicking this link.
Medical Marijuana and Suicide
“Suicide is the act of purposely taking one’s own life. It is the 10th most common cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 13 suicidal deaths per 100,000 individuals; it is often related to mental illness, substance abuse, or a major stressful event (CDC, 2014; MedlinePlus, 2016). Cannabis is widely used for both medical and recreational purposes (Azofeifa et al., 2016), and therefore, there is a public health interest to evaluate the possible association between cannabis use and suicide, suicidal attempts, and suicide ideation.
The evidence reported suggests that any cannabis use is related with increased suicidal ideation, augmented suicide attempts, and greater risk of death by suicide. The studies presented demonstrate evidence of a dose–response effect, with heavy cannabis use being associated with a higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts. Additionally, sex differences emerged from the research findings related to suicidality (Shalit et al., 2016) and death by suicide (Borges et al., 2016). These sex differences may have occurred due to differences in where the study samples were recruited (e.g., Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United States, etc.) or how the data were assessed. This might suggest that sample composition, gender, and the type of assessment could matter when examining these associations between cannabis use and suicidality and suicide completion.
Although the evidence seems to support a relationship between cannabis use and suicidality, particularly heavy cannabis use and suicidality, the limitations of the literature temper such findings. Several limitations should be noted, including the lack of homogeneity in the measurement of cannabis exposure, the lack of systematic controls for known risk factors, the short period of observation for suicidality, the variability in the covariates used to adjust for confounders, the differences in the dose–response analyses, and problems of small sample size. Additionally, as reported by the authors, some studies adjust for alcohol and other comorbidities, while in other studies there is no report of such adjustments. There is a strong need for new studies that discriminate between the acute and the chronic use of cannabis and between suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicides.
12-7(a) There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased incidence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, with a higher incidence among heavier users.
12-7(b) There is moderate evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased incidence of suicide completion. “
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