The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Medical marijuana improves mental health

According to a Basel study, the liberalization of marijuana in the USA has had little impact on the mental health of the general population. However, the researchers found an improvement in the mental health of people who use marijuana for medical reasons as a result of liberalization.

"Overall, our results show that the legislation on medical cannabis in the USA benefits the people for whom it is intended without harming other groups," said study leader Alois Stutzer, summarizing the study results in a press release issued by the University of Basel on Thursday.

Access to marijuana has been made easier in most states in the USA since the mid-1990s. However, according to the researchers, there is still controversy as to whether this relaxation of the law has really improved the situation for sick people or whether mental health actually worsens as a result of addiction.

Further investigations required

With their study, which was published in the journal "Health Economics, Policy and Law", the researchers wanted to contribute to this discussion, as they wrote. For their analysis, they combined two large data sets: Data from almost eight million people who took part in telephone surveys between 1993 and 2018 as part of the "Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System" and data from the "National Survey on Drug Use and Health". Mental health was recorded using a self-assessment in which the respondents indicated the number of days on which they had experienced mental health problems in the previous month.

The statistical analyses showed that people who use marijuana for medical reasons spend 0.3 fewer days per month in poor mental health. According to the study, liberalization had no effect on the mental health of recreational users or on younger population groups. "However, whether the results are transferable to further liberalization requires further investigation," the researchers emphasized in the study.

©Keystone/SDA

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