Public Health and Safety

Marijuana and teens: Increased risks for suicidal behaviors from use

Compared to non-users, adolescents (ages 12-17) who use marijuana, have increased risks of suicidal ideation, planning and attempts. These findings also held true for adolescents diagnosed with a cannabis use disorder (CUD) according to research released in Frontiers in Psychiatry (January 5, 2023).

This study examined responses by nearly 74,000 individuals aged 12 to 17 who took part in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2015 to 2019.  Death by suicide is one of the top three reasons for death for pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults. Researchers noted that the number of individuals who thought about suicide, planned to commit suicide, or had an actual suicide attempt, were nearly ten times greater than the actual number of individuals who died from suicide.

Marijuana use classed as less than weekly to daily or near daily use was associated to increased mental health risks marked by suicidal ideation or behavior. Increased legalization efforts, creating a greater availability to the drug, and high potency cannabis-based products are compounding this problem.

Read time: 15 minutes.

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