El presente estudio, realizado en Gran Bretaña, demuestra que el consumo de cannabis (marihuana,Maria, yerba o como lo designen camellos y/o drogatas) es perjudicial para sujetos vulnerables. Resulta un hallazgo interesante por lo extendida idea de que la marihuana es una droga benéfica que propicia el buen rollito paz, amor etc, etc. Los gloriosos Beatles se pegaban unos colocones de allí te espero. "Help", esa película tan mala, se filmó con el personal enmarihunado a tope.
He conversado con una psiquiatra de la seguridad social española a la que le mostré el presente artículo antes de publicarlo. Me comentó que le parecía bien que lo hiciera. "Las personas que siguen tratamientos con psicofármacos deberían abstenerse de consumir cualquier tipo de droga, entre ellas el alcohol, que es una droga socialmente bien considerada.
Pues eso, que la María según la constitución de la persona, puede provocar lo que los médicos llaman "brote", un estado patológico que lejos de ser grato, produce enorme sufrimiento al paciente. "A veces llega al cuerpo de guardia alguien que ha consumido alguna droga y está aterrorizado por lo que experimenta", señala la psiquiatra.
“I would not feel so alone,” sang Bob Dylan back in 1966, “everybody must get stoned.” It would seem lots of people have obliged: cannabis is now far and away the world’s favourite illicit drug, with approximately 180 million people having taken it in the past year. In England and Walesabout 13.5% of 16 to 24 years olds have used cannabis in the past year, and almost one in three people will try it at least once during their lifetime. Of the 6.4% of adults aged 16-59 who reported using cannabis in the past year, over 40% said they used it at least once a month.
Given that a significant chunk of the population are consuming the stuff, it is perhaps not surprising that most people believe the risks involved in getting stoned are more or less equivalent to the risks from getting drunk. US president Barack Obama seems to be one of them: “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life," he explained to the New Yorker. "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."
Certainly many people use cannabis without adverse effects, and indeed with plenty of very pleasant ones. Moreover, there is evidence that cannabis can bring real medical benefits, for example in alleviating chronic pain. But there is also known to be a link between cannabis and paranoid thoughts.
“Paranoid” in this context means the unfounded or excessive fear that other people are trying to harm us. It’s a feeling that is far more common than previously thought. That is understandable given that we are all constantly compelled to interpret social situations, weighing up the attitudes and intentions of the people we meet. Because it is impossible to know for sure what other people are thinking, there is ample scope for our anxiety to get the better of us.
Like most psychological experiences, there is a spectrum of paranoia within the population: many people have a few, relatively mild paranoid thoughts, while for a few people those thoughts are numerous, persistent, and profoundly unsettling. Cannabis users are more likely to be at the problematic end of that spectrum. For instance, our study of the population of England found that the belief that people are deliberately trying to harm you is three times as common among cannabis users as it is among non-users. The belief that people are trying to cause you serious injury or harm is five times as common among cannabis users.
However, what we see here is an association between cannabis and paranoia. Experts generally agree that regular use of cannabis starting from an early age is an accurate predictor of later severe mental health problems, but what hasn’t been established is whether the drug causesparanoid thoughts. Maybe people suffering from paranoia are more likely to start taking cannabis; or perhaps the drug use and the suspicious thoughts are independent consequences of another factor entirely.
This question of the tangled interrelationship of paranoia and cannabis use was at the heart of a study we conducted with colleagues from the University of Oxford, the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, and the University of Manchester, published on Wednesday in Schizophrenia Bulletin. Why did we focus on paranoia rather than mental health in general? Other studies tend to lump all such problems together under the heading of “psychosis” or “schizophrenia”, but as we’ve argued previously on this blog such experiences frequently occur independently: having paranoid thoughts doesn’t mean, for example, that someone will also hear imaginary voices.
To discover whether cannabis really does cause paranoia in vulnerable individuals, we carried out the largest ever study of the effects of THC (∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the drug’s principal psychoactive ingredient). We recruited 121 volunteers, all of whom had taken cannabis at least once before, and all of whom reported having experienced paranoid thoughts in the previous month (which is typical of half the population). None had been diagnosed with a mental illness. The volunteers were randomly chosen to receive an intravenous 1.5mg dose of either THC (the equivalent of a strong joint) or a placebo (saline). To track the effects of these substances, we used the most extensive form of assessment yet deployed to test paranoia, including a virtual-reality scenario, a real-life social situation, self-administered questionnaires, and expert interviewer assessments.