Study looks at legal medicinal marijuana and suicide rates

Study looks at legal medicinal marijuana and suicide rates »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - The American Journal of Public Health examined suicide rates in 12 states that have laws allowing medical marijuana and found decrimininalization coincides with a decreased risk of suicide. 

These states all legalized marijuana for medical purposes between 1990-2007.  

As a control group, researchers looked at suicide rates in those states that have continued to criminalize marijuana. 

According to the study, men in their 20s and 30s are most positively impacted by using medical marijuana. 

In states that have legalized it, suicides among men in their 20s decreased by 10.8 percent. Suicide rates for men in their 30s were 9.4 percent lower than their counterparts in other places. 

Cheryl Smith, who works at the Compassion Center, has seen the impact marijuana has on those suffering from ailments like physical pain, alcohol abuse, PTSD, anxiety and depression. 

She believes marijuana alleviates many symptoms that are associated with or contribute to suicide.  

Tom Parker, however, of Lines for Life, a non-profit that works to stop substance abuse and suicide, believes the study should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Oregon legalized medical marijuana more than a decade ago and remains one of the states with the highest suicide rates.