INDIA. Delhi: Cannabis (marijuana) consumption is being associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study revealed.
Data gathered from over 280,000 young adults aged between 18 and 35, showed marijuana use is being linked to higher rates of suicidal ideation, suicide planning and suicide attempt.
Another report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) stated, “Young adults with acute use of marijuana have a higher tendency of suicidal thoughts and are at higher risk of attempting suicide.”
Director of NIDA and study author, Nora Volkow said, “Regardless of whether you had a history of depression or not, cannabis significantly increased the risk of suicidal behavior. It wasn’t a small effect. It was a large effect.” “I expected an association, but it just took me aback,” she added.
A case study published in Hindawi Journal reads, “A thirty-two years old man entered the emergency room asking for psychiatric consultation. He had smoked cannabis a few hours before. Soon after, he had experienced hopelessness and the impulse to commit suicide by fall. Pervasive suicide ideation, anxiety, agitation, and fear were present. He reported no recent stressful life events and was astonished by his suicidal thinking. He did not see any plausible reason to wish to die. He had never suffered from any significant medical illness or psychiatric disorder.”
Surge In Marijuana Abuse
According to the World health Organization (WHO), close to 147 million people, i.e. 2.5% of the world population, indulge in marijuana use compared to the 0.2% consuming cocaine and 0.2% taking opiates. In the recent decade, marijuana abuse has shown an exponential growth than cocaine and opiate abuse.
The most rapid surge in marijuana abuse since the 1960s has been in North America, Western Europe and Australia. Marijuana has become a closely linked part of youth culture and the age of initiation is usually lower than that for other drugs. An analysis of cannabis markets shows that low prices coincide with high levels of abuse, and vice versa.
Prolonged Cannabis Use: Health concerns
Cannabis is the most abused psychoactive drug under international control. According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC, 2015), an estimated 181.8 million people aged 15-64 years used cannabis for nonmedical purposes globally (uncertainty estimates 128.5–232.1 million). There has been an alarming increase in the demands of treatment disorders induced by cannabis, like, selective impairment of cognitive functioning, schizophrenia, epithelial injury of the trachea and major bronchi.
The health consequences of cannabis use in mid-income and developing countries are mostly unknown because of limited and non-systematic research. However, there is no reason a priori to expect that biological effects on individuals in these populations would be substantially disparate from what has been found in developed countries. Moreover, people in different countries may have different consequences like cannabis-induced hallucinations, memory impairment, psychosis increased tendencies of suicidal thoughts, given the cultural and social differences.
Elinore McCance-Katz, an American physician, academic, and government official who served as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Mental Health and Substance Use pointed out that hospitalizations more than doubled for serious mental health disorders among 18- to 25-year-olds nationally from 2012 to 2018.
McCance-Katz referred to a study that showed a 77% increase in suicide deaths from 2010 to 2015 among Colorado 10 to 19-year-olds with marijuana in their systems.