The Health and Psychological Consequences of Cannabis Use

THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN RESCINDED: National Drug Strategy Monograph Series No. 25.

Page last updated: 1994

Please note the information in this publication may no longer be current but is retained on our website for historical or research purposes.

Date Published 1994

Wayne Hall, Nadia Solowij and Jim Lemon, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Prepared for the National Task Force on Cannabis


Executive summary
1. Summary of report
2. Introduction
3. Evidential principles
3.1 Issues in appraising health hazards
3.2 Evidential desiderata
4. Cannabis the drug
4.1 Cannabis the drug
4.2 The cannabinoid receptor
4.3 Forms of cannabis
4.4 Routes of administration
4.5 Dosage
4.6 Patterns of use
4.7 Metabolism of cannabinoids
4.8 Detection of cannabinoids in body fluids
4.9 Intoxication and levels of cannabinoids
4.10 Passive inhalation
5. The accute effects of cannabis intoxication
5.1 Psychological and physical effects
5.2 Toxic dose levels
5.3 Tolerance to acute effects
5.4 Psychomotor effects
5.5 Interactions between cannabis and other drugs
6. The chronic effects of cannabis use on health
6.1 Mutagenicity and carcinogenicity
6.2 Immunological effects
6.3 Cardiovascular effects
6.4 Effects on the respiratory system
6.5 Reproductive effects of cannabis
7. The psychological effects of chronic cannabis use
7.1 Effects on adolescent development
7.2 Psychological adjustment in adults
7.3 Is there a cannabis dependence syndrome?
7.4 Effects of chronic cannabis use on cognitive functioning
7.5 Chronic cannabis use and brain damage
7.6 Does cannabis use cause psychotic disorders?
8. The therapeutic effects of cannabinoids
8.1 Historical background
8.2 Cannabinoids as anti-emetic agents
8.3 Cannabinoids as anti-glaucoma agents
8.4 Cannabinoids and neurological disorders
8.5 Cannabinoids as anti-asthmatic agents
8.6 Cannabinoids as analgesics
8.7 Other possible therapeutic uses
8.8 Cannabis and AIDS
8.9 The limitations of anecdotal evidence
8.10 The politics of therapeutic cannabinoid use
8.11 Conclusions
9. An overall appraisal of the health and psychological effects of cannabis
9.1 Summary
9.2 Two special concerns
9.3 A comparative appraisal of health risks: alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use
9.4 Implications for harm reduction