Cannabis News: Study By Washington State University Shows That Cannabis Exposures In Suspected Suicide Attempts Are On The Rise
: A recent Washington State University-led study analyzing US poison center data from 2009 to 2021 has found a significant increase in suspected suicidal cannabis exposures, particularly among children and women during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, shows that these exposures have increased by 17% annually over the 12-year period.
While the vast majority of cases (over 92%) involved other substances in addition to cannabis, and the data cannot demonstrate a direct causal link between cannabis and suicide attempts, the findings are still concerning.
Study co-author Tracy Klein, a WSU associate professor of nursing, notes that while there isn't evidence that cannabis alone was the primary driver of a suicide attempt, it is known that cannabis can worsen certain mental health conditions and increase impulsivity.
The researchers identified 18,698 cases of intentional, suspected suicide cannabis exposures reported to US poison centers during the study period. Of these cases, 9.6% resulted in death or major outcomes such as permanent disability. While more of these exposures involved younger people, severe consequences occurred more often among people aged 65 and older.
Accidental cannabis poisonings have been on the rise since the legalization of cannabis in many states. Policies such as packaging guidelines for edible cannabis products can help prevent unintentional cases. However, intentional cannabis poisonings have not been well studied, prompting the researchers to undertake this analysis. Their findings highlight the need for increased mental health services.
"We have a significant shortage of mental health and primary care providers in the United States," Klein said. "We know that mental health needs not only changed but became even more acute during the COVID-19 emergency. Cannabis is one part of that."
Other research has shown that cannabis use is associated with depression and anxiety in youth and that it may interfere with brain development.
Recent studies have also suggested a link between suicidal ideation and cannabis use in young people. Given this evidence, it is particularly important to limit youth access to cannabis, according to Janessa Graves, first author and a WSU nursing associate professor.
"Children and adolescents shouldn't be able to purchase or access cannabis," Graves Told Cannabis News
reporters from TMN, "We also need to educate kids and parents around the risks of cannabis. I think many people just aren't aware the impacts cannabis can have on brain development, and on behavioral and mental health, especially in adolescents and young adults."
While a causal association between cannabis use and a suicide attempt could not be identified, the associations between cannabis use and mental health, particularly among younger users, have been well documented.
With the continued increase in cannabis use and its legalization in more US states, it is essential for policymakers, public health officials, and healthcare providers to be proactive in addressing th
e potential risks associated with cannabis use. As the study highlights, there is a need for greater mental health support and primary care services to cope with the changing landscape of mental health issues during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education and awareness campaigns targeting both parents and young people are crucial in conveying the risks associated with cannabis use, particularly in terms of brain development, behavior, and mental health. These campaigns should focus on providing accurate information and resources to help individuals make informed decisions about cannabis use and its potential consequences.
Regulations and policies regarding access to cannabis for minors should be enforced, and efforts to prevent the illegal sale and distribution of cannabis to young people must be strengthened. Additionally, age-restricted sales and stricter packaging requirements for cannabis products can help reduce the likelihood of unintentional exposures and poisonings.
Healthcare providers should be trained to screen for cannabis use in patients presenting with mental health concerns, particularly those with a history of suicidal ideation or attempts. Early intervention and appropriate referrals to mental health services can help mitigate the potential risks associated with cannabis use and prevent further harm.
It is also essential to invest in further research to better understand the complex relationship between cannabis use and mental health, particularly in the context of suicidal behaviors. Longitudinal studies and research examining the individual, environmental, and contextual factors associated with suicidal ideation can help shed light on the underlying mechanisms and inform prevention strategies.
In conclusion, the increase in suspected suicidal cannabis exposures reported to US poison centers underscores the need for a multifaceted approach to address the potential risks associated with cannabis use. This includes increased mental health support, education and awareness campaigns, strict regulations and policies, healthcare provider training, and further research. By taking these steps, it may be possible to mitigate the risks associated with cannabis use and improve overall public health and well-being.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: JAMA Network Open.
Thailand, where Cannabis was legalized as a result of certain garbage and also due to lobbying by certain unscrupulous and greedy Thai businessmen with criminal past and close ties to certain garbage should take measures to revoke the legalization of cannabis as it serves no benefits to local Thais.. even the farmers as most Cannabis products sold in the country are either legally or illegally procured from overseas coupled by the fact that most of the cannabis dispensaries and shops are either controlled directly or indirectly by mainly foreigners or by garbage Thai Punjabi Indians who are also into many other illicit activities such as illegal money lending, money laundering, football gambling and running of illegal card gambling ‘residences’, illegal crypto exchanges etc or by Thai criminals. Thailand need not end up looking like some of the dysfunctional communities that can be seen in various American cities that legalized cannabis!
It should also be pointed out that despite whatever that can be said or even if unscruplous politicians are legalizing cannabis, all cannabis 'entrepreneurs' are basically drug dealers and should never be accorded any respect or coverages in any decent society and we can only hope that bad karma and bad things will befall them and their families!
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