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Cannabis and suicide: longitudinal study

  • Ceri Price (a1), Tomas Hemmingsson (a2), Glyn Lewis (a3), Stanley Zammit (a4) and Peter Allebeck (a2)...
Abstract
Background

Some studies suggest that cannabis use is associated with suicidal ideation, but no detailed longitudinal study has examined suicide as an outcome.

Aims

To examine the association between cannabis use and completed suicide.

Method

A longitudinal study investigated 50 087 men conscripted for Swedish military service, with cannabis use measured non-anonymously at conscription. Suicides during 33 years of follow-up were identified by linkage with the National Cause of Death Register.

Results

There were 600 (1.2% of cohort) suicides or deaths from undetermined causes. Cannabis use was associated with an increased risk of suicide (crude OR for ‘ever use’ 1.62, 95% CI 1.28–2.07), but this association was eliminated after adjustment for confounding (adjusted OR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.65–1.20).

Conclusions

Although there was a strong association between cannabis use and suicide, this was explained by markers of psychological and behavioural problems. These results suggest that cannabis use is unlikely to have a strong effect on risk of completed suicide, either directly or as a consequence of mental health problems secondary to its use.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Stanley Zammit, Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK. Email: zammits@cardiff.ac.uk
Footnotes
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S.Z. is funded through a Clinician Scientist Award funded by the National Assembly for Wales.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Cannabis and suicide: longitudinal study

  • Ceri Price (a1), Tomas Hemmingsson (a2), Glyn Lewis (a3), Stanley Zammit (a4) and Peter Allebeck (a2)...
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