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Dr. Kai MacDonald, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSD, recently wrote a paper for the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience titled “Why Not Pot? A Review of the Brain-Based Risks of Cannabis.” MacDonald writes that marijuana is addictive, though far less so than nicotine or heroin, and use of marijuana by those with schizophrenia may lead to an increase in symptoms. READ ARTICLE
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A Review of the Brain- based Risks of Cannabis
by KAI MACDONALD, MD, and KATHERINE PAPPAS, BA
Dr. MacDonald and Ms. Pappas are with UC San Diego Psychiatry, San Diego, CA, USA Innov Clin Neurosci. 2016;13(3–4):13–22
In this review, we provide a historical perspective on marijuana, and survey contemporary research investigating its potential negative effects on the brain. We discuss the evidence regarding cannabis dependence, driving under the influence of cannabis, underachievement, inducing (or worsening) certain psychiatric conditions, and the potential for progression to use of more dangerous drugs—summarized by the acronym DDUMB, a cognitive tool that may help healthcare providers in their risk/benefit discussions with patients who use cannabis. We also review and discuss the impact of marijuana use on target populations, including adolescents (who are at increased risk of harm); heavy users; and people suffering from—or at high risk of— mental illness.
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