Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence

Oxford University Press
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Marijuana is the world's most popular illicit drug, with hundreds of millions of regular users worldwide. One in three Americans has smoked pot at least once. The Drug Enforcement Agency estimates that Americans smoke five million pounds of marijuana each year. And yet marijuana remains largely misunderstood by both its advocates and its detractors. To some, marijuana is an insidious "stepping-stone" drug, enticing the inexperienced and paving the way to the inevitable abuse of harder drugs. To others, medical marijuana is an organic means of easing the discomfort or stimulating the appetite of the gravely ill. Others still view marijuana, like alcohol, as a largely harmless indulgence, dangerous only when used immoderately. All sides of the debate have appropriated the scientific evidence on marijuana to satisfy their claims. What then are we to make of these conflicting portrayals of a drug with historical origins dating back to 8,000 B.C.? Understanding Marijuana examines the biological, psychological, and societal impact of this controversial substance. What are the effects, for mind and body, of long-term use? Are smokers of marijuana more likely than non-users to abuse cocaine and heroine? What effect has the increasing potency of marijuana in recent years had on users and on use? Does our current legal policy toward marijuana make sense? Earleywine separates science from opinion to show how marijuana defies easy dichotomies. Tracing the medical and political debates surrounding marijuana in a balanced, objective fashion, this book will be the definitive primer on our most controversial and widely used illicit substance.
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About the author

Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Clinical Science and Director of Clinical Training in Psychology at the University of Southern California. He has received nine teaching awards for his courses on drugs and human behavior and is a leading researcher in psychology and addictions. He is Associate Editor of The Behavior Therapist.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Aug 15, 2002
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Pages
344
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ISBN
9780199881437
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Pharmacology
Medical / Public Health
Psychology / Physiological Psychology
Psychology / Psychopathology / Addiction
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies: Biology, Pharmacology, Diagnosis, and Treatment is the first book to take an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of cannabis use and misuse. Recent worldwide trends toward decriminalizing marijuana for medical use have increased legal use of the drug and recreational use remains high, making cannabis one of the most commonly used drugs.

Cannabis has a wide range of adverse neurological effects, and use and abuse can lead to physical, social, and psychopathological issues that are multifarious and complex. Effective understanding and treatment requires knowledge of the drug’s effects from across scientific disciplines.

This book provides an overview of the biological and pharmacological components of the cannabis plant, outlines its neurological, social, and psychopathological effects, assists in the diagnosis and screening for use and dependency, and aids researchers in developing effective treatments for cannabis-related issues and disorders.

Fully illustrated, with contributions from internationally recognized experts, it is the go-to resource for neuroscientists, pharmacologists, pathologists, public-health workers, and any other researcher who needs an in-depth and cross-disciplinary understanding of cannabis and its effects.

Comprehensive chapters include an abstract, key facts, mini dictionary of terms, and summary pointsPresents illustrations with at least six figures, tables, and diagrams per chapterProvides a one-stop-shopping synopsis of everything to do with cannabis and its related pathology, from chemicals and cells, individuals and communities, and diagnosis and treatmentOffers an integrated and informed synopsis of the complex issues surrounding cannabis as a substance, its use, and its misuse
Marijuana use continues to attract interest and fuel controversy. Big, green pot leaves have adorned the covers of Time, National Review, and Forbes. Almost 100 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once. Groups such as The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana (NORML) and The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) have tens of thousands of members. Polls suggest that 70-80% of Americans support medicinal marijuana. At least 11 U.S. states have experimented with decriminalization and medical marijuana laws, with new initiatives appearing each year. Meanwhile, other groups such as Partnership for a Drug Free America and Mothers Against Drugs protest legalization. Clearly, debate about marijuana policy shows no sign of abating. In his earlier book, Understanding Marijuana, Mitch Earleywine forced researchers, policy makers, and citizens to avoid oversimplification, separate empirical findings from their interpretations, and understand that some things may be neither good nor evil. Pot Politics continues with these same themes, showing multiple perspectives from a variety of experts on an important problem with vast implications. The volume presents ethical, religious, economic, psychological, and political arguments for cannabis policies that range from prohibition to unrestricted legalization. By presenting a unique perspective on overlapping issues, each chapter demonstrates how even recognized experts draw markedly different conclusions from the same data. Some contributors evaluate policy by weighing the costs and benefits of control while others eschew policy by presenting moral arguments against our attempts at control. Pot Politics should be read by everyone interested in the politics of both marijuana use and governmental regulation of our actions.
At least one of every three Americans has used an illicit drug. Drugs attract considerable attention in science, legislation, and the media. Nonetheless, many people develop attitudes about drugs and drug users based on limited information. Researchers often find themselves divided into camps based on the drug they study most often, which limits their ability to benefit from important work done on other drugs. As a result, government policies form without a complete understanding of the intoxication experience. What is the nature of intoxication? At first, this question appears to be simple and straightforward, but upon closer inspection, the dichotomous distinctions between everyday awareness and its alternatives grow fuzzy. An in-depth examination of the subjective effects of drugs and the pursuit of altered states soon leads to age-old questions about free will, heredity, environment, and consciousness. Mind-Altering Drugs is the first book to bring together chapters from leading researchers that present diverse, empirically based insights into the subjective experiences of drugs a nd their links to addictive potential. By avoiding simple depictions of psychoactive chemicals and the people who use them, these recognized experts explain how modern research in many fields reveals a complex interaction between people, situations, and substances. Their work demonstrates that only a multitude of approaches can show the nuances of subjective experience, and that each substance may create a different effect with every administration in each user. Simple references to physiological underpinnings or positive reinforcement fail to explain the diverse responses to drugs. However, research has progressed to reveal broad, repeatable evidence that the subjective effects of substances play an important role in our understanding of drug abuse, and so should inform our decisions about policy. This thorough and accessible review of the subjective effects of drugs and the dominant theories behind those effects will provide a wealth of information about the experience of intoxication for lay readers, and a road map to studies in other disciples for student and professional researchers.
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When word got out that Tiffany Jenkins was withdrawing from opiates on the floor of a jail cell, people in her town were shocked. Not because of the twenty felonies she’d committed, or the nature of her crimes, or even that she’d been captain of the high school cheerleading squad just a few years earlier, but because her boyfriend was a Deputy Sherriff, and his friends—their friends—were the ones who’d arrested her.
 
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