Marijuana use may increase risk of suicide, NIH study finds

·2 min read

A new study from the National Institutes of Health found an increased risk of suicide was associated with marijuana use.

The study found higher rates of suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts among both men and women who used marijuana on both a daily and a nondaily (fewer than 300 days a year) basis.

Researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the NIH, examined data from over 281,000 participants aged 18-34 in the National Surveys of Drug Use and Health from 2008-2019. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


For example, from 2008-2009 to 2018-2019, suicide planning among men who had depression and used marijuana daily increased from 14.9% to 21.9%, and from 10.3% to 17% among men who used marijuana on a nondaily basis. Among women who had depression and used marijuana daily, suicide planning increased 14.5% to 26.8% and increased 12% to 17.5% among those who used it on a nondaily basis. There were smaller but still significant increases among those who used marijuana but did not suffer from depression.

“While we cannot establish that cannabis use caused the increased suicidality we observed in this study, these associations warrant further research, especially given the great burden of suicide on young adults,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA director and senior author of the study. “As we better understand the relationship between cannabis use, depression, and suicidality, clinicians will be able to provide better guidance and care to patients.”

The study did not find increases in suicide among all groups. For example, among men with depression, there was no significant increase in suicide among those who used marijuana.


According to the NIH, marijuana use among adults more than doubled from 2008-2019, from 22.6 million to 45 million. Those who use daily or near-daily almost tripled from 3.6 million to 9.8 million in 2019.

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Tags: Healthcare, Marijuana, Marijuana legalization, Medical Marijuana, Suicide, Mental Health, NIH

Original Author: David Hogberg

Original Location: Marijuana use may increase risk of suicide, NIH study finds

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