La Cannabis y el Cerebro

A lo largo y ancho de Estados Unidos (EU) y de Europa hay una marejada de debates acerca de la legalización de la cannabis para uso personal. En efecto, Gran Bretaña ha, en todos sentidos, prácticamente decriminalizado el uso de la mariguana. Como neurocientífico, esos debates me preocupan.

Una justificación usada comunmente para la legalización o decriminalización de la cannabis se centra en la idea de que no involucra a una víctima. Pero por lo menos cuatro reportes en importantes publicaciones médicas (Ramstrom, 1998; Moskowitz, 1985; Chesher, 1995; y Ashton, 2001), muestran lo contrario. En un estudio en el que varios pilotos fumaban sólo un "churro" de moderado tamaño, se encontró diferencia entre un grupo placebo de control y quienes consumían cannabis, hasta 50 horas después de haber consumido la droga. Otros costos para la comunidad son los accidentes en el trabajo o en casa, un bajo rendimiento educacional, un imposibilitado desempeño laboral y costos para el presupuesto de salud.

Otro argumento dado para relajar nuestra actitud ante la cannabis es que no es adictiva. Claro, definir "adicción" es difícil, pero si uno la considera como la incapacidad para dejar de consumir, entonces hay fuerte evidencia de que la cannabis incita dependencia. Hay muchos reportes acerca de usuarios en EU, el Reino Unido y Nueva Zelanda que ahora buscan tratamiento para la dependencia. Otros reportes muestran que 10% de los usuarios quieren detenerse o reducir la cantidad que consumen, pero tienen dificultades para hacerlo, mientras que otro reporte publicado en 1998 dijo que 10-15% de los usuarios se vuelven dependientes.

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