Cannabis consists of psychoactive chemicals known as cannabinoids that affect the central nervous system. In simple words, these chemicals are responsible for the intoxication and euphoria after smoking marijuana. In recent years, scientists found several health benefits of cannabis and many states in the US legalized the use of CBD products. However, there are some downsides to using this drug, as revealed in a recent study.
According to the study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there can be a link between the use of cannabis and increased suicidal thoughts. The findings of the study hint that the young individuals who smoke marijuana are more inclined towards suicidal ideas, plans, and even attempt to do the act.
This study appeared recently in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The researchers conducting this study mentioned that they observed this behavior irrespective of the level and frequency of cannabis use. Moreover, the suicidality remained consistent in these individuals despite their mental health history.
According to the data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the number of Americans who use cannabis one way or another doubled over the past decade. During this period, the number of young adults with mental health issues also increased at a significant rate. Also, they reported an increase in suicidal behavior and depression among these adults.
This study included nearly 280,000 participants from the US aged between 18 to 35 years. The findings of this study are in accordance with the previous studies showing the link between cannabis use and mental health problems. Moreover, the study found that this pattern is more significant among young women.
According to the data obtained from this study, women are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. This comparison is between men and women who use cannabis in different forms and doses. The researchers also suggested that some people who experience depressive episodes can resort to using cannabis as a remedy. Since cannabis has many therapeutic benefits, most people use it to relieve stress and anxiety.
The findings of this study also show that this association between cannabis use and suicidality is more common among ethnic men and women. This higher rate might be due to the lack of access to healthcare and mental health facilities. Also, the lack of information about opioid use can lead to these results. The research also found that those individuals who come from low-income families have a more tendency of suicidal acts. Meanwhile, those from high-income backgrounds showed less inclination towards suicide plans, ideas, and attempts.
The study also found that unemployed individuals or those doing part-time jobs had a higher rate of suicidality. On the contrary, those with full-time jobs and a good income reported fewer instances of suicidal thoughts and actions.
This study highlights many racial and social disparities in society. In addition, the economic condition of an individual and the family has a significant impact on mental health. Hence, cannabis use may only act as a trigger factor for those struggling with a mental health condition or living in adverse life situations.