Cannabis-Related Disorders

Matthew Taylor, M.D., Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D.
Cannabis-Related Disorders is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide.

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  • Cannabis refers to a genus of flowering plants, including 3 separate species: C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis.
  • Street names for cannabis are numerous, and include: marijuana, pot, weed, herb, buddha, nugs, grass, trees, Mary Jane.
  • Cannabis is most often consumed by smoking dried plant material, but vaporization and oral administration is also fairly common.
  • The primary psychoactive component is Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol, also called Δ9-THC or simply THC.
  • THC exhibits its psychoactive effects via agonism of the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor.
  • Cannabis intoxication involves disruptive behavioral or psychological changes after cannabis use, with expected physical changes, +/- perceptual disturbances[1].
  • Cannabis withdrawal refers to disruptive signs and symptoms of abstinence, including physical symptoms, that occur in heavy users[1].
  • Cannabis use disorder refers to disruptive overuse of the drug. Besides overuse, elements of cannabis use disorder may include loss of control, wasted time, a strong drive to use, social disruption, dangerous use, use despite problems in various areas, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms[1].

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Last updated: May 2, 2017