Keep off the grass? Cannabis, cognition and addiction

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2016 May;17(5):293-306. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.28. Epub 2016 Apr 7.


In an increasing number of states and countries, cannabis now stands poised to join alcohol and tobacco as a legal drug. Quantifying the relative adverse and beneficial effects of cannabis and its constituent cannabinoids should therefore be prioritized. Whereas newspaper headlines have focused on links between cannabis and psychosis, less attention has been paid to the much more common problem of cannabis addiction. Certain cognitive changes have also been attributed to cannabis use, although their causality and longevity are fiercely debated. Identifying why some individuals are more vulnerable than others to the adverse effects of cannabis is now of paramount importance to public health. Here, we review the current state of knowledge about such vulnerability factors, the variations in types of cannabis, and the relationship between these and cognition and addiction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / chemically induced*
  • Behavior, Addictive / metabolism
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cannabis / adverse effects*
  • Cannabis / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Marijuana Smoking / metabolism
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism
  • Risk Factors


  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1