M. Molina-Alarcón1, M.C. Ruiz-Grao1, R. Morote-Martínez2, M. García-Moreno1, M.L. Amo-Saus1, A. Hernández-Martínez1

1Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) (SPAIN)
2Servicio Madrileño de Salud (SERMAS) (SPAIN)
Cannabis Sativa, constituted by hashish and marijuana, is currently the most widely used drug in Europe and worldwide. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse data, 40% of youths older than 12 years and 22% of the adult population have used Cannabis sometime in their lives.
Cannabis contains more than 400 substances, and the structure of 60 is similar to its most important active principle, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The use of this substance in young people is very high and can cause schizophrenia. This disease very frequently appears in the youths who habitually use it. In Spain it is estimated that 400,000 people suffer schizophrenia caused by using this substance, with some 21 million people worldwide. Other more or less dangerous alterations may take place, such as learning difficulties, problems in personal relationships, indecision, aggressive conducts, etc. These changes play a key role in maintaining addiction, and also in their university studies. Moreover, cannabis use doubles the risk of developing severe schizophrenia in the future, and 8% of schizophrenic patients can be prevented by them abandoning this drug.
Youth, mainly adolescents, are unaware of the danger of taking this drug and become cannabis addicts before realising it. The likelihood of this population becoming addicts is high as this age group’s characteristics make them more vulnerable; e.g., lack of maturity, strong social influence, stigmas, being socially accepted in groups of friends, neuronal immaturity, seeking new forms of entertainment, being curious about a new world. To prevent possible cannabis addiction among youths, it is fundamental that they are aware of the danger that this drug may cause them.

Knowing university students’ knowledge of cannabis and their attitude.

An observational, descriptive cross-sectional study. Convenience sampling will be done with university students from Albacete (Spain). We devised a survey, which was passed to a group of Business Administration and Management and Economics students from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, which provided us with information about their knowledge on the drugs theme, their attitudes, the consequences of drug use for their studies, the most usual personality traits among youths, and their behaviour in their social-family lives related to cannabis use.

Half the subjects had little or no knowledge about this drug, while the rest believed it involved important risks. Cannabis use affected attention in 64%, memory in 80% and concentration in 74%. A little over 50% mentioned changes in their family and personal relationships (p<0.05).

The influence of friends is very important when starting to use cannabis, and youths are more influenced by not knowing its harmful effects. The functions most widely affected by using cannabis are attention, concentration and memory. Most youths consider that cannabis is harmful and do not recommend it.