Summary Of Adverse Effects

1. Symptoms of intoxication are very variable but include initial adrenergic-like effects, followed by merriment, disinhibition, increased sensory perception and time distortions.

2. Negative psychotropic effects during acute intoxication include emotional lability, dysphoria, anxiety, confusion and panic attacks. Hallucinations are rare, as are flashbacks.

3. Cannabis can cause short-lived, psychotic reactions and also exacerbation of pre-existing schizophrenia. It has not been proven that cannabis can cause chronic psychosis.

4. During acute intoxication, cannabis can cause reduced co-ordination, impaired judgement and ataxia.

5. Common sense leads one to believe that cannabis will impair driving ability, but this has not been proven.

6. Cannabis can impair short-term memory and ability to concentrate, which may be a persistent effect lasting several weeks or more. But the relevance of laboratory measured parameters to everyday living is not clear. A link with amotivation has not been demonstrated.

7. Cannabis does not cause cerebral atrophy.

8. Cannabis is not likely to cause convulsions in humans, but there is some evidence that it might have an anticonvulsant action.

9. Cannabis can cause sinus tachycardia, which could be detrimental to those suffering from angina. Reported association with myocardial infarction should be regarded as coincidental based on present evidence.

10. The drug can cause vasodilatation, giving rise to orthostatic hypotension, reddening of the eyes, dizziness and facial flushing.

11. Cannabis does not cause reduced plasma levels of testosterone in humans, in most studies. Where decreased levels have been reported, these are within the normal human range.

12. Reports of gynaecomastia and decreased human sperm count are small in number and so a link to cannabis cannot be regarded as proven. Decreased sperm count has not been associated with infertility.

13. The effects of cannabis upon human female fertility are not clear.

14. Cannabis does not have significant effects upon human plasma levels of LH, FSH, thyroxine, glucose, or glucocorticosteroids.

15. Cannabis is not associated with frank adverse effects upon human renal or hepatic function, although one study suggested that raised values for liver function tests could occur.

16. The regular smoking of cannabis causes chest infections, bronchitis, pharyngitis, wheeze, expectoration, cough and increased airways resistance.

17. Cannabis smoking deposits larger amounts of tar in the lungs than tobacco smoking. It is associated with histopathological and DNA damage that could be pre-cancerous.

18. Spores of Aspergillus spp. in cannabis can cause infection in the immunocompromised.

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