Pot commercialization tied to self-harm by younger men, study suggests

Author: Tracie White / April 16, 2021 / https://scopeblog.stanford.edu

April 16, 2021

States that legalize recreational marijuana use, and in some cases allow retail sales of the drug, may see more suicide attempts and other self-harm among younger men, a new Stanford Medicine study suggests.

Researchers examined whether rates of self harm injuries — which include suicide attempts and non-suicidal behaviors like cutting — correlate with changing marijuana laws and found an increase among men younger than 40 in states that allow recreational use. The study indicated no such correlation with states that allow only medical marijuana use.

“States that legalize, but still constrain commercialization, may be better positioned to protect populations from unintended harms,” said Keith Humphreys, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Humphreys is the senior author of the study published March 18 in JAMA Network Open. Ellicott Matthay, PhD, a post doctoral scholar at UC-San Francisco, is lead author.

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