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Suicide Rates Down in Legal States

Photo by Kenji Aryan


Suicide Rates Down in Legal States

Marijuana advocates have said for years that having access to the sweet leaf may prevent those with suicidal thoughts from going over the edge. A recent study on suicide in medical marijuana states now offers some convincing evidence surrounding this claim.

new report entitled “High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide” published by the Cato Institute indicates that not only can marijuana help prevent the permanent perils of suicidal depression, but it can actually reduce the suicide rates by nearly 5 percent in states where it’s legal.

The masterminds behind this important research, D. Mark Anderson from Montana State University, Daniel I. Rees from the University of Colorado, and Joseph J. Sabia from San Diego State University, find “that the legalization of medical marijuana leads to fewer suicides among young adult males.”

This deduction stems from the examination of 17 years worth of statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

“When we examine the relationship between legalization and suicides by gender and age, we find evidence that MMLs are associated with decreased suicides among 20- through 29-year-old males and among 30- through 39-year-old males,” wrote the study authors.

“This result is consistent with registry data from Arizona, Colorado, and Montana showing that most medical marijuana patients are male, and that roughly half are under the age of 40. Estimates of the relationship between legalization and suicides among females are less precise and sensitive to functional form.”

Their latest discovery isn’t the first time this particular group has studied the impact of marijuana on suicide rates. In fact, the team conducted a similar analysis back in 2012 for the Germany-based Institute for the Study of Labor, and just last year, published the results in the American Journal of Public Health.

Although there’s nothing in the study that suggests a reason behind diminishing suicide rates in states where marijuana is legal, researchers believe the cause is relatively simple: marijuana calms episodes of depression. The latest research “is consistent with the oft-voiced, but controversial, claim that marijuana can be used to cope with depression and anxiety caused by stressful life events. However, the result may, at least in part, be attributable to the reduction in alcohol consumption among young adults that appears to accompany the legalization of medical marijuana.”

Many of marijuana’s opposing forces argue against legalization for fear that it will lead to the destruction of the public health, but the latest research indicates that legal marijuana could actually offer some salvation.

“Opponents of these policy changes contend that any increase in marijuana use is undesirable,” wrote the study authors. “Yet our research suggests the public-health benefits of legalization may outweigh the costs.”

How has cannabis helped you or anyone you know? Share with us in the comments below.



  1. john o'brien

    April 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I have been on anti-depressants since i was 17. SSRI anti-pressants, SSNI anti-pressants, Tricyclic Antidepressants, and then anti-psychotics. I became addicted to benzodiazapines and sleeping tablets.

    I’m sorry but fuck the pharma giants.

    Cannibas has changed my life.

  2. Jasmine M

    January 17, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I have to say , it helps me a lot when I’m overwhelmed and depressed . a lot of people think its bad or dangerous but its really not . with me having 2 kids , working and still going to school marijuana helps me relax and stay calm . otherwise I blow up

  3. kevin

    January 17, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Everyone knows Robin Williams committed suicide. Maybe if he had a clear head and smoked a big fat joint. He would still be here today. RIP ROBIN YOU ARE MISSED.

  4. Randy Gilliam

    January 17, 2015 at 7:01 am

    2 years ago I was strung out on pain pills, benzo’s contemplating suicide almost daily! And today I am clean sober and happy thanks too cannabis.

    • STORMY

      January 27, 2015 at 11:38 pm


  5. natasha

    January 17, 2015 at 2:24 am

    I have suffered with depression all my life my mum said it started around the age of 12 with me iv been on every medication u can think of some work for a few weeks others don’t!! I had a con who worked with me who said it was manic depression I had but was never fully dieignosed from my doctor as I went of the rails for a few year ended up in a really bad dark place that I could not get out of. I smoke weed every day and to be honest if Iddidn’t I don’t think I’d be here right now!! I live in Scotland they need to legalize it makes me angry sometimes ether way I’ll never stop smoking it

  6. Bill Graf

    January 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I am part of a national study to see if Veterans with PTSD benefit from medical cannabis. Please visit

  7. Cynthia S

    January 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I feel like the people who are against legalization might just be scared because they don’t realize or want to accept the positive affects. It can help cure eating disorders such as anorexia. It can help insomnia, or anxiety. It helps calm people down who are raging. My father in law is prescribed medical marijuana for his severe epilepsy and it works miracles. I’m all for legalization and I believe once the greater population realizes the benefits we as a human race will become more prosperous, healthy, and happy. I’m not saying everyone has to smoke, but just because you don’t want to, don’t ruin it for people who need it or want it to help them.

  8. donna nicoll

    January 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    My son is more calm and together when he has a smoke. Doctors here in Aus try to tell him it will lead to psychotic episodes. What a load of crap. If depressed a little high each day takes the edge off an otherwise hum drum life and helps creative thought and relaxation. A million times better than having a drink.
    I rather he feel calm and up beat then depressed and hopeless.
    Australia needs to get on board with this! I live in hope. I have been advocating for marijuana legalization since the 70’s with no success in this backward drug culture of Australia.

  9. Heidi

    January 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    yes it has helped lots of my friends with depression!! I know that it helps my 21 year old daughter. I have seen it. I’m all for legalization !!!!!!!!!

  10. Greg Brockway

    January 16, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I’m 60 years old and I’m positive that if not for pot and the love of a good woman that I would’ve been dead years ago.

  11. Angela Coleman

    January 16, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    in ways that cannabis has helped me R, when I don’t smoke I don’t have the appetite to eat, so when I smoke I eat and I good healthy I also smoke it to calm down it helps me think clearly makes me more relaxed. I believe medical marijuana should be legal alcohol and cigarettes should be illegal. Stop the greed free the weed

    • Drake kagwa

      January 16, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Marijuana must bi legal..for me if bored tirid when i smoke i feel hae and relaxd..

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