The effects of smoking marijuana on cognition and brain function were assessed with PET using H2(15)O. Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured in five recreational users before and after smoking a marijuana cigarette, as they repeatedly performed an auditory attention task. Blood flow increased following smoking in a number of paralimbic brain regions (e.g. orbital frontal lobes, insula, temporal poles) and in anterior cingulate and cerebellum. Large reductions in rCBF were observed in temporal lobe regions that are sensitive to auditory attention effects. Brain regions showing increased rCBF may mediate the intoxicating and mood-related effects of smoking marijuana, whereas reduction of task-related rCBF in temporal lobe cortices may account for the impaired cognitive functions associated with acute intoxication.