The serious consequences of young people having such a low perception of the risk of cannabis




Rafael Maldonado, Professor of Pharmacology at Pompeu Fabra University, has warned that society has a very low perception of risk regarding cannabis use. “We are not explaining to young people that consumption has a significant risk. It is a matter of brain development, “he warned.

Cannabis affects the cannabinoid system of the brain, an area that is responsible, among other issues, of regulating emotions. The expert has pointed out that when its consumption is carried out in adolescence the consequences may be worse, since the brain is in full development and is probably making a series of synaptic connections that will remain throughout the person’s life. The appearance of mental disorders may be one of the consequences of this early consumption.

There are other consequences: at the performance level, there will be poor learning, an impairment on cognition and memory and therefore poor academic and work performance. At the level of prefrontal involvement, there is a consequence on the inhibitory structure of the brain, which is responsible for the rational control of impulses. At the response / reaction level: the risk of a car accident triples, you drive slower, your reaction time is reduced and attention is divided and disturbed. And abusive use can end up developing dependency (negative consequences when consumption stops) and / or mental illness (scientific evidence has linked consumption to the development of psychosis).

Cannabis is the third most consumed substance in Spain, after alcohol and tobacco, according to the 2017 EDADES survey. Some experts have highlighted the need to regulate their use, although there are conflicting positions. On the one hand, the evidence is still scarce for very specific diseases of the therapeutic application. And, on the other, the protection of public health by treating a substance that is not risk-free or harmless after consumption, which has also suffered variation in terms of its content in smoked form.

According to the deputy director general of Drug addictions of the Generalitat de Calatunya, Joan Colom, “the dominant policy model so far, the prohibition of recreational use” of cannabis, has proven to be ineffective and, as a consequence, many countries have begun to implement policies that include the full legalization of its use and supply.

Colom argues that there is evidence on the effectiveness of these strategies in reducing problems associated with cannabis, especially: avoiding the early start of its use, choosing low potency tetrahydrocannabinol or products with a balanced ratio of THC to cannabidiol, refraining from using cannabinoids synthetics, avoid inhalation of this fumed substance and give preference to methods of use other than smoking, avoid deep inhalation or other risky practices, avoid frequent consumption.

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