JUN 14, 2018 10:55 PM PDT

Cannabis Doesn't Increase Suicidal Ideation in Patients with Psychiatric Disorders

WRITTEN BY: Mauri Brueggeman

In an article published June 11, 2018 in the Journal of Biological and Sex Differences, researchers from McMaster University have found that there is no association between cannabis use and suicidal behavior in persons with psychiatric disorders.  While the authors acknowledge that more study is needed based on how accessible cannabis is as more states and countries legalize its use, the findings are contradictory to prior reports for the general population. 

The researchers had a total number of 985 individual cases for evaluation and comparison, nearly equally split based on gender.  Of this number, 270 total individuals had attempted suicide.  The group found no significant association between suicide attempts and cannabis use in men or women; however, they did identify that men with an existing substance abuse problem which included heavy use of cannabis had a very small association with suicidal behavior. 

The group initiated the study because of the differences identified in existing literature regarding suicidal behavior, gender, and cannabis influence.  Previous studies, like that published in 2012 in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design, found through empirical longitudinal studies that cannabis use was a relevant risk factor associated with suicide attempts and behaviors in patients with psychotic and non-psychotic conditions.  This particular paper was focused on a younger age demographic than that of the current research from McMaster University.  Another study, published in 2017 in Lancet Psychiatry, evaluated the use of cannabis and development of major depressive disorder which included suicidal thought considerations.  The authors of that study utilized twin studies to compare changes in behavior and disorder progression based on cannabis use at various levels.  Genetics are a contributing factor in suicidal tendencies, so the design of this study was valuable in a number of contexts.  The study participants came from Australia and had a broader age range than that from 2012.  Of interest in their findings, they speculated that, “…familial factors may play a more important role in the relationship between depression and heavy cannabis use than for suicidal ideation…”.  Ultimately, the group found that heritable, environmental, and neurobiological factors all contribute to presence or development of suicidal ideation.  In addition, with more areas having legalized marijuana, there are better mental health outcomes because of lowered use of alcohol and other more dangerous drugs which contribute to violent crime and suicide rates more frequently than does cannabis use. 

More studies are needed; there are gaps in our understanding of the connections between cannabis, human physiology and psyche, and the multitude of factors that contribute to suicidal behaviors. 

Sources: Journal of Biological and Sex Differences, Lancet Psychiatry, Current Pharmaceutical Design,

 

 

About the Author
  • Mauri S. Brueggeman is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and Educator with a background in Cytogenetics and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the clinical laboratory, taught at the University of Minnesota, and been in post secondary healthcare education administration. She is passionate about advances and leadership in science, medicine, and education.
You May Also Like
JUL 08, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
CBD Helps Dogs With Osteoarthritis Stay More Active
JUL 08, 2020
CBD Helps Dogs With Osteoarthritis Stay More Active
It’s estimated that up to a fifth of dogs above the age of one are afflicted with osteoarthritis, which causes inf ...
SEP 10, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Legalizing Cannabis Does Not Lead to Teenage Substance Abuse
SEP 10, 2020
Legalizing Cannabis Does Not Lead to Teenage Substance Abuse
Some say that decriminalizing cannabis may lead to an uptick in young people abusing the substance. Countering this fear ...
OCT 22, 2020
Health & Medicine
Vaping of Nicotine and Cannabis Mirror Each Other in Young People
OCT 22, 2020
Vaping of Nicotine and Cannabis Mirror Each Other in Young People
A new study has looked at whether nicotine and cannabis vaping follow similar trajectories from adolescence through to y ...
OCT 24, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Researchers Identify Two DNA Regions Behind Cannabis Abuse
OCT 24, 2020
Researchers Identify Two DNA Regions Behind Cannabis Abuse
Researchers at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified two regions in our DNA that seem to contri ...
NOV 14, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
New Genetic Test Identifies Cannabis THC Levels from Seeds
NOV 14, 2020
New Genetic Test Identifies Cannabis THC Levels from Seeds
Researchers from the University of Minnesota have developed a genetic test that can predict how much cannabidiol (CBD) o ...
NOV 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Increased Deaths in Older Patients with COPD
NOV 22, 2020
Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Increased Deaths in Older Patients with COPD
Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto have found that two synthetic cannabinoids available on prescri ...
Loading Comments...