Drug Law

Study Debunks Marijuana-Suicide Myth

| by Marijuana Policy Project

By Mitch Earleywine

Yet another myth about marijuana takes a beating thanks to some splendid research out of Scandinavia. Although it’s no surprise to MPP’s fans, marijuana use has no link to suicide. A thorough study of Swedish military men confirms that those who use marijuana are no more likely to take their own lives than those who don’t. Prohibitionists often grab results like these and squeal “the sample is too small to mean much,” but this research focused on more than 50,000 people. If you can’t get marijuana to link to suicide in 50,000 people, you can’t get marijuana to link to suicide.

Prohibitionists also often shout “Well, you didn’t follow them up long enough. They would have killed themselves eventually.” This study followed the participants for 33 years. If you can’t link marijuana to suicide after 33 years, you can’t link marijuana to suicide.  If there’s no smoke, there’s no fire. This study also showed markedly smaller links between marijuana and depression than folks thought.

Clearly, the biggest bummer about marijuana doesn’t stem from its use; it’s from arrests. At 800,000 per year, our current rate,  we’d have 26,400,000 more arrests for the next 33-year follow-up. Let’s not let that happen. It’s just too depressing.

Dr. Mitch Earleywine is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he teaches drugs and human behavior, substance abuse treatment and clinical research methods. He is the author of more than 100 publications on drug use and abuse, including “Understanding Marijuana” and “The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana.” He is the only person to publish with both Oxford University and High Times.