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The Effects of Cannabis Use on Physical and Mental Health

  • van Ours, Jan C
  • Williams, Jenny

This paper investigates whether cannabis use affects physical and mental health. To do so, information on prime aged individuals living in Amsterdam in 1994 is used. Dutch data offer a clear advantage in estimating the health impacts of cannabis use because the legal status of cannabis in the Netherlands ensures that estimates are free from confounding with the physical and psychological effects of engaging in a criminal activity. Accounting for selection into cannabis use and shared frailties in mental and physical health, the results suggest that cannabis use reduces the mental wellbeing of men and women and the physical wellbeing of men. Although statistically significant, the magnitude of the effect of using cannabis on mental and physical health is found to be small.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8499.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8499
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  1. Jan C. van Ours & Jenny Williams, 2011. "Cannabis use and mental health problems," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(7), pages 1137-1156, November.
  2. Stephen Pudney, 2010. "Drugs policy: what should we do about cannabis?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 165-211, 01.
  3. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  4. Jenny Williams & Christopher Skeels, 2006. "The Impact of Cannabis Use on Health," De Economist, Springer, vol. 154(4), pages 517-546, December.
  5. Jan C. van Ours, 2006. "Dynamics in the use of drugs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(12), pages 1283-1294.
  6. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2009. "Why parents worry: Initiation into cannabis use by youth and their educational attainment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 132-142, January.
  7. van Ours, J.C. & Williams, J., 2007. "Why Parents Worry : Initiation into Cannabis use by Youth and their Educational Attainment," Discussion Paper 2007-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. van Ours, Jan C. & Williams, Jenny, 2007. "Cannabis prices and dynamics of cannabis use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 578-596, May.
  9. Mroz, Thomas A., 1999. "Discrete factor approximations in simultaneous equation models: Estimating the impact of a dummy endogenous variable on a continuous outcome," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 233-274, October.
  10. Orphanides, Athanasios & Zervos, David, 1995. "Rational Addiction with Learning and Regret," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 739-58, August.
  11. van Ours, Jan C & Williams, Jenny, 2009. "Cannabis Use and Mental Health Problems," CEPR Discussion Papers 7384, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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