Study Reveals Surprising Link Between Pot Legalization and Suicide Rates

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According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, states that legalize medical marijuana can expect a reduction in suicide rates.

Decline in fatalities

A team of economists studied state-by-state statistics on suicide rates over a 17-year period, from 1990 to 2007, comparing data from states that voted to legalize medical marijuana with those that kept it criminalized.

According to their calculations, in the three years following legalization, the suicide rate declined, on average, 10.8% among men in their 20s and 9.4% for men in their 30s.

Marijuana use and reduction in suicide rates

“The negative relationship between legalization and suicides among young men is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events,” the researchers said in a statement.

The link was less clear for women, but researchers claim they weren’t surprised.

Men and women respond differently to laws and substances, said Daniel Rees, who co-authored the paper.