¿Existe la locura del porro?

LONDRES – ¿Es el cannabis dañino para la salud mental? Por muchos años, esta pregunta suscitó un intenso debate, que a menudo fue más acalorado que esclarecedor. La situación actual es esta: la comunidad científica coincide, en general, en que la mayor parte de las personas que usan cannabis no desarrollará problemas significativos de salud mental. Sin embargo, algunos individuos son más susceptibles a los efectos negativos de su uso.

Por mucho tiempo se pensó que el cannabis era una droga relativamente inocua, y que los temores por su consumo eran exagerados. Algunos psiquiatras señalan que el uso excesivo puede conducir a un estado psicótico que incluye alucinaciones, delirios y alteración del pensamiento. Pero el primer indicio significativo de una conexión entre el uso de cannabis y la psicosis no se encontró hasta 1987, con la realización de un gran estudio en Suecia en el que se siguió a más de 50.000 sujetos a lo largo de 15 años. Aquellos que informaron ser usuarios de cannabis al principio del estudio mostraron una mayor probabilidad de que se les diagnosticara esquizofrenia en los 15 años siguientes, probabilidad tanto mayor cuanto mayor fuera el uso.

Curiosamente, este hallazgo no despertó mucho interés, y no se conocen estudios similares hasta 2002. Pero desde entonces se han hecho muchos estudios para explorar la asociación entre el uso de cannabis y la psicosis. Una compilación de los mejores, publicada en 2007, concluye que el uso frecuente (diario) de cannabis duplica el riesgo de trastornos psicóticos. Como la prevalencia de enfermedades psicóticas es tal que aproximadamente el 1% de la población desarrolla un trastorno de esta clase a lo largo de su vida, el uso diario de cannabis aumentaría el riesgo a 2%.

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