Cannabis Use Is Associated With Suicide Attempts in Adolescents From Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Cannabis use may be associated with suicide among adolescents. To assess this association, researchers used data from 86,254 adolescents from 21 low- and middle-income countries that participated in the Global School-Based Student Health Survey. Associations between either having used cannabis at least once over the past 30 days, and lifetime use of cannabis, and at least one suicide attempt over the past 12 months were assessed, adjusting for age, gender, food insecurity, alcohol use, amphetamine use, smoking, and anxiety-induced insomnia.

  • The mean age was 14 years and 49% of the participants were female.
  • Age- and gender-adjusted prevalence of past 30-day and lifetime cannabis use were 3% and 4%, respectively.
  • The prevalence of any past 12-month suicide attempt was 10%.
  • In the adjusted model, cannabis use was associated with suicide attempts: odds ratios for a suicide attempt over the past 12 months were 2.03 for participants with past 30-day cannabis use and 2.30 for those with lifetime cannabis use.
  • There was no evidence that the associations differed by sex.

Comments: This cross-sectional study showed an association between cannabis use and suicide attempts among adolescents living in low- and middle-income countries. Causality should be assessed in prospective studies and should include not only suicide attempts but also completed suicides.

Nicolas Bertholet, MD, MSc

Reference: Carvalho AF, Stubbs B, Vancampfort D, et al. Cannabis use and suicide attempts among 86,254 adolescents aged 12-15 years from 21 low- and middle-income countries. Eur Psychiatry. 2019;56:8–13.

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