This story originally appeared on Benzinga
Despite the ongoing marijuana legalization trend, there are still fierce opponents who insist that lifting prohibition will lead to higher rates of mental illness or even suicide.
This just isn’t true, according to a new study.
Research recently undertaken by experts at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Yale Law School, Cato Institute and the Reason Foundation found that there is no correlation between cannabis use, suicide and mental illness.
This latest study, following up on a 2013 study that had reached the same conclusion, found that recreational cannabis legalization is connected with a 6.29% reduction in suicide rates among males aged 40-49 and that no other “mental health outcomes were consistently affected by cannabis liberalization.”
Cannabis legalization and mental illness
The new research relied on the same methodology by running “a state-level longitudinal analysis using suicide rates from the National Center for Health Statistics and mental health morbidity rates from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Research data included all 50 states and Washington, D.C. from 1999 to 2019. Results will be reviewed by experts and published in a renowned scientific journal.
“Adverse mental health outcomes do not follow cannabis liberalization at the state level, confirming the findings [the 2013 study],” the new study disclosed. “In addition, there is evidence that recreational marijuana access reduces suicide rates for middle-aged males
“Critics of marijuana legalization point to studies showing correlations between heavy cannabis use and suicide, depression, and mental health disorders. However, such studies that demonstrate correlation have yet to confirm causation, which should be determined by a model’s ability to predict.”
Cannabis legalization and its benefits
The authors went even further to say that cannabis legalization can only help enable more rigorous research into the further benefits as well as potential harms of long-term marijuana use, noting that any drug, psychoactive or otherwise, entails certain risks along with benefits and that cannabis is no exception and should therefore continue to be rigorously studied.
What’s more, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in September revealed that rates of adolescent marijuana consumption did not go up after states legalized medical or adult-use cannabis.
As reported by Marijuana Moment, an official from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s National Marijuana Initiative admitted that, for unknown reasons, youth consumption of cannabis “is going down” in Colorado and other states where it is legal.
It seems, unsurprisingly, that for some adolescents the temptation to consume illegal weed wanes when it becomes permitted.
Another recent study found that army recruits with past pot use render the same performance as their peers and are less likely to leave the army over health issues, providing another point for cannabis legalization proponents.