Jan 15 2010

Medical marijuana and suicide

Posted by J. Craig Canada in Examiner.com, law, psychiatric, ptsd, research

Reuters today published an article announcing "Marijuana Use Unlikely to Boost Suicide Risk".  The article, which is a report on a study published in the December Issue of The British Journal of Psychology turns out to be less positive than the headline when it notes that the 10% of the study group that admitted to using marijuana were 62% more likely to commit suicide.

This negative spin is enforced by the announcement that after adjusting for contributing factors they concluded those who admitted to using marijuana were no more likely to commit suicide than those who didn’t admit to using marijuana.

True, the article does state the study group was drafted into the Swedish Military and that at the time of induction, when the question about marijuana use was asked, most were 18-20 years old.  But when it lists the confounding factors which reduced the 62% greater incidence of suicide (after 33 years) of those that admitted to using marijuana when they were drafted, it talks about "behavior problems in childhood, psychological adjustment, psychiatric diagnoses, drinking, smoking, and parental drug use", but fails to mention PTSD.

It appears a conscious effort was made to blame the victims of Sweden’s zero tolerance policies, and to impugn marijuana as medicine.  Marijuana could have been the only thing keeping many of them alive, and it could be that many of them chose suicide rather than live as a criminal, outcast and ostracized, fearing jail and forced treatment for using the only thing that worked.  The government of Sweden has committed itself to a "drug free society".

Of course, the drugs they’re committed to being free of is a very short list, and pharmaceuticals are not what they had in mind..

One wonders how many of these Swedish soldiers were coerced by their government into giving up the only thing that worked, marijuana, and taking instead Prozac, or Paxil, and killed themselves as a result.

Too bad they didn’t study Prozac and Paxil and the other SSRIs and SNRIs to this extent before they foisted them on the general public.  While it’s still legal to advertise these so-called anti-depressants, which recent studies conclude work no better than a sugar pill now, the United States requires advertisements to mention that this happy pill could cause you to off yourself – and perhaps a whole schoolyard in the process.

Pharmaceuticals, as prescribed, are the 4th leading cause of death in this country.  About 10% of America is on some kind of SSRI, and estimates are that 5% of them will develop manic psychosis as a result.

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