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Journal Article

Citation

Anderson DM, Rees DI, Sabia JJ. Am. J. Public Health 2014; 104(12): 2369-2376.

Affiliation

D. Mark Anderson is with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Department of Economics, Montana State University, Bozeman. Daniel I. Rees is with the Department of Economics, University of Colorado Denver. Joseph J. Sabia is with the Department of Economics, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2014, American Public Health Association)

DOI

10.2105/AJPH.2013.301612

PMID

24432945

Abstract

Objectives. We estimated the association between legalizing medical marijuana and suicides. Methods. We obtained state-level suicide data from the National Vital Statistics System's Mortality Detail Files for 1990-2007. We used regression analysis to examine the association between medical marijuana legalization and suicides per 100 000 population. Results. After adjustment for economic conditions, state policies, and state-specific linear time trends, the association between legalizing medical marijuana and suicides was not statistically significant at the .05 level. However, legalization was associated with a 10.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = -17.1%, -3.7%) and 9.4% (95% CI = -16.1%, -2.4%) reduction in the suicide rate of men aged 20 through 29 years and 30 through 39 years, respectively. Estimates for females were less precise and sensitive to model specification. Conclusions. Suicides among men aged 20 through 39 years fell after medical marijuana legalization compared with those in states that did not legalize. 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. However, this relationship may be explained by alcohol consumption. The mechanism through which legalizing medical marijuana reduces suicides among young men remains a topic for future study. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print January 16, 2014: e1-e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301612).


Language: en

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