US Mental Health Geospatial Dataset
Objectives: Define the role of increasing cannabis availability on population mental health (MH). Methods. Ecological cohort study of National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) geographically-linked substate-shapefiles 2010-2012 and 2014-2016 supplemented by five-year US American Community Survey. Drugs: cigarettes, alcohol abuse, last-month cannabis use and last-year cocaine use. MH: any mental illness, major depressive illness, serious mental illness and suicidal thinking. Data analysis: two-stage and geotemporospatial methods in R. Results: 410,138 NSDUH respondents. Average response rate 76.7%. When all drug exposure, ethnicity and income variables were combined in final geospatiotemporal models tobacco, alcohol cannabis exposure, and various ethnicities were significantly related to all four major mental health outcomes. Cannabis exposure alone was related to any mental illness (β-estimate= -3.315+0.374, P<2.2x10-16), major depressive episode (β-estimate= -3.712+0.454, P=3.0x10-16), serious mental illness (SMI, β-estimate= -3.063+0.504, P=1.2x10-9), suicidal ideation (β-estimate= -3.013+0.436, P=4.8x10-12) and with more significant interactions in each case (from β-estimate= 1.844+0.277, P=3.0x10-11). Geospatial modelling showed a monotonic upward trajectory of SMI which doubled (3.62% to 7.06%) as cannabis use increased. Extrapolated to whole populations cannabis decriminalization (4.35+0.05%, Prevalence Ratio (PR)=1.035(95%C.I. 1.034-1.036), attributable fraction in the exposed (AFE)=3.28%(3.18-3.37%), P<10-300) and legalization (4.66+0.09%, PR=1.155(1.153-1.158), AFE=12.91% (12.72-13.10%), P<10-300) were associated with increased SMI vs. illegal status (4.26+0.04%). Conclusions: Data show all four indices of mental ill-health track cannabis exposure and are robust to multivariable adjustment for ethnicity, socioeconomics and other drug use. MH deteriorated with cannabis legalization. Together with similar international reports and numerous mechanistic studies preventative action to reduce cannabis use-exposure is indicated.