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Medical marijuana laws and mental health in the United States

Author

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  • Jörg Kalbfuß
  • Reto Odermatt
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

The consequences of legal access to medical marijuana for individual welfare are a matter of controversy. We contribute to the ongoing discussion by evaluating the impact of the staggered introduction and extension of medical marijuana laws across US states on self-reported mental health. Our main analysis is based on BRFSS survey data from more than six million respondents between 1993 and 2015. On average, we find that medical marijuana laws lead to a reduction in the self-reported number of days with mental health problems. Reductions are largest for individuals with high propensities to consume marijuana for medical purposes and people who are likely to suffer from chronic pain. Moreover, the introduction of prescription drug monitoring programs lead to a reduction in bad mental health days only in states that allow medical marijuana.

Suggested Citation

  • Jörg Kalbfuß & Reto Odermatt & Alois Stutzer, 2018. "Medical marijuana laws and mental health in the United States," CEP Discussion Papers dp1546, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1546
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory Conyers & Ian Ayres, 2020. "A lottery test of the effect of dispensaries on emergency room visits in Arizona," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(8), pages 854-864, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    medical marijuana laws; cannabis regulation; mental health; chronic pain; prescription drug monitoring;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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