Study Debunks Marijuana-Suicide Myth

Jan 26, 2010 , ,

Yet another myth about marijuana takes a beating thanks to some splendid research out of Scandinavia. Although it’s no surprise to MPP’s fans, marijuana use has no link to suicide. A thorough study of Swedish military men confirms that those who use marijuana are no more likely to take their own lives than those who don’t. Prohibitionists often grab results like these and squeal “the sample is too small to mean much,” but this research focused on more than 50,000 people. If you can’t get marijuana to link to suicide in 50,000 people, you can’t get marijuana to link to suicide.

Prohibitionists also often shout “Well, you didn’t follow them up long enough. They would have killed themselves eventually.” This study followed the participants for 33 years. If you can’t link marijuana to suicide after 33 years, you can’t link marijuana to suicide.  If there’s no smoke, there’s no fire. This study also showed markedly smaller links between marijuana and depression than folks thought.

Clearly, the biggest bummer about marijuana doesn’t stem from its use; it’s from arrests. At 800,000 per year, our current rate,  we’d have 26,400,000 more arrests for the next 33-year follow-up. Let’s not let that happen. It’s just too depressing.

Dr. Mitch Earleywine is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he teaches drugs and human behavior, substance abuse treatment and clinical research methods. He is the author of more than 100 publications on drug use and abuse, including “Understanding Marijuana” and “The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana.” He is the only person to publish with both Oxford University and High Times.

13 responses to “Study Debunks Marijuana-Suicide Myth”

  1. Dr. Earleywine,
    it’s a relief that we finally have a conclusive, extremely extensive study concerning cannabis and suicide. But the article indicates that the team still supports the possibility of a causal relationship of cannabis with psychosis.
    Do they see this possibility as having a neurological base, as in the consistant activation of our CB receptors disrupts our endocrine processes?
    Or is it a behavioral link, people using cannabis initiates a string of associated activities that lead to the exacerbation of psychosis?
    Id be interested to see anything regarding such a distinction

  2. Rural Alaskan Native youth have a high rate of suicide.
    Alcohol abuse usually is the precusor to the act of suicide.

    Native youth do smoke marijuana as well.

    In the Norton Sound region of western Alaska, if IHS (Indian Health Service) could prescribe medical marijuana to youth at risk (15-25 ages), I think it would have a tremederous impact on reducing alcohol abuse, binge drinking, etc.
    Youth who are prescribed marijuana as an IHS alternative to the cycle of binge drinking could empower Native youth to give themselves time so the frontal cortex of their brains develop critical thinking skills to avoid suicide as a poor choice.

    Peer pressure among their friends, who are prescribed MM as well,
    would create a support network among youth to prove that they
    avoid excessive alcohol consumption to maintain prescribed MM.

  3. @Chris Thomas,
    These were military recruits and yet they still showed no real association between cannabis and pscychosis.
    If you were to take 50,000 US military personell, I am sure you would find a lot more pscychosis in that group, than in a group of 50,000 cannabis smokers.
    I would say that military service creates far more mental issues than a little bit of plant material.

  4. Marijuana does show remarkable progress with depression and self acceptance. Compare that to prescription anti depressants that raise the risk for suicide.

  5. i didnt even know this was something that people said……

    its almost as ridiculous as them saying that smoking weed makes you sterile…. just doesnt make any sense to anyone with half a brain

  6. I also had no clue that the prohibitionists thought Cannabis was a suicide trigger. That just sounds dumb to me. The more I smoke up, the more I want to experience new things in life.

    Anyway, it’s good to know that there’s one more myth gone. Solid.

  7. Dr. Earlywine,
    Aren’t there any definitive studies on the use of MJ to treat depression (as well as anxiety)? I had thought there were. I know from personal experience that it is hands down, the best tx for depression and anxiety and the most attractive aspect of it’s use for these conditions is that you use only what you need to relive the symptoms (with immediate relief at that) and you don’t have to suffer through the “disconnected” feeling you get from many anti-depression medications. Also, as you know, many times a person has to use a medication for a month (or more) to see if it’s working for them, only to find out it ISN’T and you have to start all over with a different rx…which is maddening. Often also, the treatment is worse than the depression ever was… I know I felt like a zombie while trying to acclimate to an anti-depressant… after 2 weeks of that, I stopped using it and smoked a bowl…and have not tried perscription anti-depressants since then…that was 8 yrs ago.

  8. This world would be a better and happier place if we consumed the wonderful herbs God put on this planet for us to enjoy. God did not make alcohol nor depression medication. He already knew how wacked out this crap makes us. Alcohol made my Brother and his Girlfriend no longer want to live. Alcohol = suicide in depressed persons.. It should be against the law. Same with the depression med’s. I lost my Girlfriend to suicide from the mixture of depression med’s and alcohol. Almost lost my Daughter to suicide thanks to the stupid Dr that put her on depression med’s at the age of 15. Instead of popping Pills and washing them down with liquor…what’s so bad with firing up and wanting to live?? Life is so much more enjoyable as our senses are enlightened on the herb vs depressed on the other junk that is legal.. What’s wrong with this picture??

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