Whenever politicians, cops, or so-called health experts try to discredit medical marijuana -- and by extension all those who use it -- they invariably point out that in many states, you can get a doctor to recommend cannabis for things like anxiety, insomnia and depression… maladies that almost anyone can claim to suffer from to varying degrees. Even though cannabis is an incredibly safe and effect medicine for many ailments, neo-prohibitionists maintain that it should be reserved only for the terminally ill and those with no other options.
So it will be interesting to hear their deafening silence in regards to a new study, just published in The American Journal of Public Health, in which, after analyzing suicide rates over a 17-year period, a team of economists determined the suicide rate dropped in states that legalized medical marijuana by 10.8% for men in their twenties and 9.8% for men in their thirties.
The suicide rate for women also dropped in those states, but not as much.
"Males and females respond differently to policies and substances," according to University of Colorado, Denver economist Daniel Rees, a co-author of the paper. "Young adult males are the ones who really seem to respond to legalization of medical marijuana. There’s evidence that they respond by drinking less. You see a decline in traffic fatalities, especially alcohol-related ones."
Legalized medical marijuana also makes one of the world's most effective depression treatments widely available with safe access and reduced stigma.
“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,” according to the paper's authors. "Opponents of legalizing medical marijuana point to the large number of studies showing that marijuana use is positively associated with depression, the onset of panic attacks, psychosis, schizophrenia, and suicidal ideation, however, the association between marijuana use and outcomes such as these could be attributable to difficult-to-measure confounders such as personality."
Or it could be that a very small number of people suffer difficult outcomes while the vast majority benefit. I know I feel better already...