Scope Stanford Medicine 16 April 2021
States that legalize recreational marijuana use, and in some cases allow retail sales of the drug, may see more suicide attempts and other self-harm among younger men, a new Stanford Medicine study suggests.
Researchers examined whether rates of self harm injuries — which include suicide attempts and non-suicidal behaviors like cutting — correlate with changing marijuana laws and found an increase among men younger than 40 in states that allow recreational use.
The study indicated no such correlation with states that allow only medical marijuana use.
“States that legalize, but still constrain commercialization, may be better positioned to protect populations from unintended harms,” said Keith Humphreys, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Humphreys is the senior author of the study published March 18 in JAMA Network Open. Ellicott Matthay, PhD, a post doctoral scholar at UC-San Francisco, is lead author.
Humphreys, who worked as senior policy adviser for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009-2010 under the Obama administration, said that there is little research available on the health effects of the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana.
In certain states, including California, he said, this allows the opening of for-profit dispensaries that sell unregulated varieties of strains and dosages of the drug. The study showed that in states that legalized recreational marijuana use and have robust retail operations, there was an associated 46% increase in self-harm injuries among 21- to 39-year-old men.
READ MORE: https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2021/04/16/pot-commercialization-tied-to-self-harm-by-younger-men-study-suggests/
READ THE FULL RESEARCH https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2777634