Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 178, 101-6

Pharmacology and Effects of Cannabis: A Brief Review

Affiliations
Review

Pharmacology and Effects of Cannabis: A Brief Review

C H Ashton. Br J Psychiatry.

Abstract

Background: Increasing prevalence of recreational cannabis use among the young population has stimulated debate on the possible effects of acute and longterm use.

Aims: To highlight recent knowledge of mechanisms of action, effects on psychomotor and cognitive performance, and health risks associated with cannabis consumption.

Method: A brief review of recent literature on the prevalence of recreational cannabis use, the potency of modern cannabis preparations and the pharmacological actions of cannabis.

Results: Cannabinoids derived from herbal cannabis interact with endogenous cannabinoid systems in the body. Actions on specific brain receptors cause dose-related impairments of psychomotor performance with implications for car and train driving, aeroplane piloting and academic performance. Other constituents of cannabis smoke carry respiratory and cardiovascular health risks similar to those of tobacco smoke.

Conclusions: Cannabis is not, as widely perceived, a harmless drug but poses risks to the individual and to society.

Comment in

Similar articles

  • [Cannabis and Cannabinoids as Drugs]
    HZ Khiabani et al. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 127 (5), 579-82. PMID 17332810. - Review
    It has been demonstrated that mammalian tissues express cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2 and most probably CB3) and endogenous ligands for these. Knowledge of these recept …
  • Acute and Chronic Effects of Cannabinoids on Human Cognition-A Systematic Review
    SJ Broyd et al. Biol Psychiatry 79 (7), 557-67. PMID 26858214. - Review
    Cannabis use has been associated with impaired cognition during acute intoxication as well as in the unintoxicated state in long-term users. However, the evidence has bee …
  • Psychiatric Effects of Cannabis
    A Johns. Br J Psychiatry 178, 116-22. PMID 11157424. - Review
    A wide-ranging review of the topics related to these issues. Results and conclusions An appreciable proportion of cannabis users report short-lived adverse effects, inclu …
  • Spice/K2 Drugs--More Than Innocent Substitutes for Marijuana
    JB Zawilska et al. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 17 (3), 509-25. PMID 24169044. - Review
    Smokeable herbal mixtures containing synthetic agonists of cannabinoid receptors, known under brand names such as Spice, K2 and Kronic, represent a relatively new type of …
  • Marijuana: Modern Medical Chimaera
    RJ Lamarine. J Drug Educ 42 (1), 1-11. PMID 22873011. - Review
    Marijuana has been used medically since antiquity. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in medical applications of various cannabis preparations. These …
See all similar articles

Cited by 126 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback