07:49 GMT25 July 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – An analysis of survey data from more than 280,000 young adults ages 18-35 in the United States showed an association between marijuana use and suicide risk, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said on Tuesday.

    “While we cannot establish that cannabis use caused the increased suicidality we observed in this study, these associations warrant further research, especially given the great burden of suicide on young adults”, the study’s author, NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow said in a press release. “As we better understand the relationship between cannabis use, depression, and suicidality, clinicians will be able to provide better guidance and care to patients”.

    The study, also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed an association between marijuana use and suicidal thoughts, plans to commit suicide and actual suicide attempts, regardless of whether young adults were also experiencing depression, the release said.

    Researchers examined data from 281,650 young adults ages 18 to 35 years — the age range when most substance use and mood disorders emerge — with an almost even number of women and men, the release added.

    About 3 percent of those without a major depressive episode and who did not use marijuana suffered from suicidal thoughts, compared with 9 percent for daily cannabis users and 14 percent for those with cannabis use disorder, according to the release.

    Among people with depression, 35 percent who did not use cannabis had suicidal thoughts compared with 53 percent of daily users and 50 percent of those who had a cannabis use disorder. Similar trends existed for the associations between different levels of marijuana use and suicide plans or attempts, the release said.

    The release cited NIDA data showing a doubling of cannabis use from 22.6 million Americans in 2008 and 45 million in 2019, and a near tripling of daily or near-daily users from 3.6 million to 9.8 million during the same period.

    study, suicide, drugs, US
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