Skip to main content
placeholder image

Cannabis and cognition: short- and long-term effects

Chapter


Download full-text (Open Access)

Abstract


  • Twenty years ago cannabis was generally perceived to

    be a benign drug with few significant adverse effects.

    As outlined elsewhere in this book, evidence has since

    mounted in the scientific literature for a range of harms

    associated with the use of cannabis, including the

    development of dependence and health-related harms

    (see also Hall and Solowij, 1998 ; Hall and Degenhardt,

    2009 ). As the overall theme of this book indicates, an

    association between cannabis use and the development

    of psychotic symptoms or overt psychosis has grown

    to be recognized as a significant potential harm, and

    investigating the mechanisms by which cannabis may

    trigger psychosis is a priority. This includes understanding

    the effects of cannabis on brain structure,

    biology and function. We recently highlighted a similarity

    between the cognitive impairment that has been

    reported in cannabis users and the deficits observed

    in schizophrenia (Solowij and Michie, 2007 ), suggesting

    common underlying neuropathology. Few would

    argue that cognition is not impaired to some degree

    during acute intoxication with cannabis. That impaired

    cognition persists beyond the period of acute intoxication

    is more contentious. Despite objective appraisals

    of the literature in interpreting the evidence, it is inevitable

    that researchers will be influenced by the weight

    of their own data in formulating scientific opinion.

    Accordingly, and on the basis of the accumulating evidence,

    this review will come to some rather different

    conclusions from those made in the first edition of this

    book (Pope and Yurgelun-Todd, 2004 ).

    The goal of this chapter is to update our knowledge

    of the short- and long-term effects of cannabis

    on cognition based on integrating evidence from the

    most recent literature on this topic. We acknowledge

    the weight of evidence from our own studies that must

    inevitably guide us to the conclusions that we draw,

    while also aiming objectively to assess the evidence

    from multiple sources. We consider evidence from

    preclinical research, studies of acute administration

    of cannabinoids to humans, studies of long-term or

    heavy cannabis users tested in the unintoxicated state,

    including adults and adolescents and patients with

    schizophrenia, and we evaluate the evidence for recovery

    of function after prolonged abstinence.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Edition


  • 2

Citation


  • Solowij, N. & Pesa, N. (2012). Cannabis and cognition: short- and long-term effects. In D. Castle, R. Murray & D. Cyril. D'Souza (Eds.), Marijuana and Madness (pp. 91-102). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781107000216

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84863220722

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4067&context=hbspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/hbspapers/3015

Book Title


  • Marijuana and Madness

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 91

End Page


  • 102

Place Of Publication


  • Cambridge

Abstract


  • Twenty years ago cannabis was generally perceived to

    be a benign drug with few significant adverse effects.

    As outlined elsewhere in this book, evidence has since

    mounted in the scientific literature for a range of harms

    associated with the use of cannabis, including the

    development of dependence and health-related harms

    (see also Hall and Solowij, 1998 ; Hall and Degenhardt,

    2009 ). As the overall theme of this book indicates, an

    association between cannabis use and the development

    of psychotic symptoms or overt psychosis has grown

    to be recognized as a significant potential harm, and

    investigating the mechanisms by which cannabis may

    trigger psychosis is a priority. This includes understanding

    the effects of cannabis on brain structure,

    biology and function. We recently highlighted a similarity

    between the cognitive impairment that has been

    reported in cannabis users and the deficits observed

    in schizophrenia (Solowij and Michie, 2007 ), suggesting

    common underlying neuropathology. Few would

    argue that cognition is not impaired to some degree

    during acute intoxication with cannabis. That impaired

    cognition persists beyond the period of acute intoxication

    is more contentious. Despite objective appraisals

    of the literature in interpreting the evidence, it is inevitable

    that researchers will be influenced by the weight

    of their own data in formulating scientific opinion.

    Accordingly, and on the basis of the accumulating evidence,

    this review will come to some rather different

    conclusions from those made in the first edition of this

    book (Pope and Yurgelun-Todd, 2004 ).

    The goal of this chapter is to update our knowledge

    of the short- and long-term effects of cannabis

    on cognition based on integrating evidence from the

    most recent literature on this topic. We acknowledge

    the weight of evidence from our own studies that must

    inevitably guide us to the conclusions that we draw,

    while also aiming objectively to assess the evidence

    from multiple sources. We consider evidence from

    preclinical research, studies of acute administration

    of cannabinoids to humans, studies of long-term or

    heavy cannabis users tested in the unintoxicated state,

    including adults and adolescents and patients with

    schizophrenia, and we evaluate the evidence for recovery

    of function after prolonged abstinence.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Edition


  • 2

Citation


  • Solowij, N. & Pesa, N. (2012). Cannabis and cognition: short- and long-term effects. In D. Castle, R. Murray & D. Cyril. D'Souza (Eds.), Marijuana and Madness (pp. 91-102). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781107000216

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84863220722

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4067&context=hbspapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/hbspapers/3015

Book Title


  • Marijuana and Madness

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 91

End Page


  • 102

Place Of Publication


  • Cambridge