Leo Sher, M.D.
A research report, “Cannabis use disorder and suicide attempts in Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans” has recently been published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research (1). VA researchers from North Carolina studied a relation between the use of cannabis (marijuana) and suicidal behavior. The authors examined the association between a lifetime history of cannabis use disorder, current suicidal ideation, and a lifetime history of suicide attempts in a big sample of Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans. 3233 Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans (2577 men and 655 women) were included in the study.
The authors found that cannabis use disorder was associated with both current suicidal ideation and lifetime suicide attempts, even after accounting for the effects of sex, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, alcohol use disorder, non-cannabis drug use disorder, history of childhood sexual abuse, and combat exposure. Researchers suggest that cannabis use disorder may be a unique predictor of suicide attempts among Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans. The authors also suggest that additional studies of the multifaceted relationships between cannabis use disorder, other psychiatric issues, and suicidal behavior are needed.
- Kimbrel NA, Newins AR, Dedert EA, Van Voorhees EE, Elbogen EB, Naylor JC, Ryan Wagner H, Brancu M; VA Mid-Atlantic MIRECC Workgroup, Beckham JC, Calhoun PS. Cannabis use disorder and suicide attempts in Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans. J Psychiatr Res 2017 Jun;89:1-5.