Prompted by “Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Suicide by Men Under 40”: http://www.hightimes.com/read/medical-marijuana-laws-reduce-suicide-men-under-40
“The researchers note that many foes of medical marijuana base their opposition on the notion that ‘marijuana use increases the likelihood of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and schizophrenia’ and ‘that the negative effects of marijuana are long-lasting and that users are at risk of suffering from decreased psychological well-being later in life.'”
“So the question for the researchers was whether increased access to marijuana leads to the factors of mental illness and substance abuse that should increase suicide rates.The answer, they found, was quite the opposite.”
“Unexamined by the research is whether access to medical marijuana is reducing or eliminating the use of commonly-prescribed anti-depressants, those selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that carry the dreaded ‘black box warning’ of the risk of suicidal thoughts as a side-effect.”
“The authors point out that ‘the association between legalizing medical marijuana and suicides was not statistically significant’ for the entire population, but among men aged 20-39, the risk dropped an astounding 10.8%.”
No surprise from yours truly, but I’m still trying to figure out the “confounder” in the following part…
“How marijuana access reduces young male suicide rates isn’t quite clear, however. The authors note that many people claim that marijuana use helps men cope with the anxiety and stress of difficult life events, but a confounder to that claim is the fact that alcohol consumption among these young males also decreases where states pass medical marijuana laws.”
Cannabis is an advanced tool for stress management (when used right, side effects are minimal, if not absent), so vastly superior to the crude numbing effect of alcohol with all of its nasty side effects. Replacing alcohol with cannabis makes excellent sense.