Marijuana and madness



Christopher Tennant

Head, Department of Psychological Medicine, E25 - Royal North Shore Hospital, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia (email:



Editors: David Castle, Robin Murray
Publisher: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England; 2004
ISBN: 0521819407; hardback; 234 pages; price £45.00

This monograph is the professional person's guide to the psychological effects of cannabis use – a sort of everything you need to know about cannabis. It consists of 13 chapters, each written by some of the principal experts in this field. For the most part the chapters are up-to-date reviews although some original data are presented. The chapters on neurochemistry cover the endogenous cannabinoid system and the relation between cannabis and other transmitter systems. These topics are well written and contain minimal redundancy.

The chapters that deal with the more clinical aspects include both the acute and subacute effects of cannabis use, the cognitive effects of cannabis, the "controversial" cannabis psychosis, and importantly a number of excellent reviews of the relationship between cannabis use and the onset and course of schizophrenia. These chapters critically review the latest research in these areas.

Practical issues are dealt with in the chapters that examine the link between cannabis and depression in young people. Importantly there is also an excellent review on what motivates patients with psychosis to continue using cannabis and equally importantly a chapter on addressing this problem in the clinical situation.

All in all, this is an excellent and up-to-date reference text for any professional with an interest in cannabis use and its links to psychopathology. All the chapters are extremely well written, the references are comprehensive and up to date, and it is a credit to the international group of contributors. This is an easy-to-read, evidence-based review of cannabis and is important in view of its increasing consumption especially by young people. This is indeed the informed persons' guide to marijuana use and its adverse sequelae.

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland