Marijuana use favors cases of schizophrenia


A new scientific study carried out by Danish researchers and published in the prestigious American medical journal JAMA Network specializing in psychiatry has shown that marijuana use favors cases of schizophrenia. The finding makes it clear that the use of this drug is not harmless to health, and may have consequences for the legalization or not of marijuana.

In the research, by the scientists Carsten Hjorthøj, Christine Merrild Posselt, and Merete Nordentoft, it is observed how the proportion of schizophrenia cases related to the problematic use of marijuana has increased significantly in the Scandinavian country in the last 25 years.

According to the figures detailed in the study, in 1995, 2% of schizophrenia diagnoses in the country were related to cannabis use disorder. In 2000, the number rose to around 4%. And, since 2010, at 8%.

Spain, the leading EU country in marijuana use

Tens of millions of people use cannabis around the world, and Europe is no exception. In fact, cannabis is the most widely used illegal substance in the European Union (EU). Up to 27.2% of Europeans say they have tried it, according to 2019 data from the statistics website Statista and the European Center for Drug and Addiction Control (EMCDDA, in English).

What's more: Spain, at the same level as France, leads the list of EU countries in its consumption.

According to the researchers, cannabis use and cannabis use disorder have increased in Denmark, but it is a pattern that is also seen globally. Recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Denmark but allowed for medicinal purposes.

Occasional or problematic consumer

The new study was based on data from the Danish national health registry and included all Danish nationals born before December 31, 2000, who were 16 years of age or older at some time from January 1, 1972, to December 31, 2016.

Health authorities warn that the vast majority of cannabis users are experimental or occasional users. However, in a significant number of cases, cannabis use carries a risk of developing dependency, school failure, and social and health problems. The consequences in terms of services and public health of these forms of consumption could be significant today and in the medium term.

Thus, the study differentiates between occasional use and problematic use of this drug. There is currently no agreed definition of what would be problematic use. The Spanish Ministry of Health indicates as such "when we refer to that consumption that is generating problems for the consumer himself or his environment, within these problems we would include: physical and mental health problems, social problems and even risky behaviors that can put into endangers the life or health of the consumer.

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