Neuroimaging in drug and substance abuse part I: cocaine, cannabis, and ecstasy

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2005 Jun;16(3):231-8. doi: 10.1097/01.rmr.0000192156.46492.24.


Multiple neurological complications of cocaine abuse have been described including both ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebrovascular events, atrophy in the case of chronic abuse, and an increase in incidence of congenital malformations in the setting of maternal use. The abuse of cannabis may cause a number of neurovascular changes that, in turn, may result in ischemic events, however, a direct connection between these has not been fully established. The use of MDMA (ecstasy), a popular recreational drug, has been related to ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebrovascular events, as well as atrophy. Neuroimaging studies are vital in the assessment of the extent of neurologic damage in these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / complications
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Hallucinogens / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / toxicity*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Marijuana Abuse / complications
  • Marijuana Abuse / diagnosis*
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy


  • Hallucinogens
  • Illicit Drugs
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine