Cannabis use is associated with a substantial reduction in premature deaths in the United States.
Clark, Thomas M.
Keywords: Cannabis, marijuana, medical marijuana, mortality rate, prohibition, public health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, liver disease, lung disease, suicide, TBI, opioid overdose, driving fatalities, systematic review, meta-analysis.; Premature death; Marijuana--Law and legislation; Marijuana--Therapeutic use; Cannabis--Therapeutic use
Publisher: Indiana University South Bend
Adverse effects of moderate Cannabis use on physical health are subtle and rarely fatal, while Cannabis use is associated with decreased rates of obesity, diabetes mellitus, mortality from traumatic brain injury, use of alcohol and prescription drugs, driving fatalities, and opioid overdose deaths. These data suggest that Cannabis use may decrease premature deaths. To date, no studies have attempted to estimate impacts of Cannabis use on premature death that include both adverse and beneficial effects on physical health. Marijuana use is estimated to reduce premature deaths from diabetes mellitus, cancer, and traumatic brain injury by 989 to 2,511 deaths for each 1% of the population using Cannabis. The analysis predicts an estimated 23,500 to 47,500 deaths prevented annually if medical marijuana were legal nationwide. A number of other potential causes of reduced mortality due to Cannabis use were revealed, but were excluded from the analysis because quantitative data were lacking. These estimates thus substantially underestimate the actual impact of Cannabis use on premature death.
Overall, prohibition is estimated to lead to similar numbers of premature deaths as drunk driving, homicide, or fatal opioid overdose.
Cannabis use prevents thousands of premature deaths each year, and Cannabis prohibition is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S.