Discussion Paper Details

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Title: The Effects of Cannabis Use on Physical and Mental Health

Author(s): Jan C. van Ours and Jenny Williams

Publication Date: August 2011

Keyword(s): Cannabis use, Duration models, Mental health and Physical health

Programme Area(s): Public Economics

Abstract: 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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Bibliographic Reference

van Ours, J and Williams, J. 2011. 'The Effects of Cannabis Use on Physical and Mental Health '. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.