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Salud mental

Print version ISSN 0185-3325


RODRIGUEZ CARRANZA, Rodolfo. Cannabis sativa products: current status and perspectives in medicine. Salud Ment [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.3, pp.247-256. ISSN 0185-3325.

Psychoactive preparations of Cannabis sativa, such as marijuana and hashish, have been used for centuries for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes. Today marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug worldwide, particularly among teenagers and young adults. Adolescence is a critical phase in Central Nervous System development, characterized by neuronal maturation and rearrangement processes. Marijuana is very complex in its chemistry due to the large number of active constituents capable of interacting with each other. With inhaled marihuana, subjects experience euphoria, a feeling of relaxation, and intensification of ordinary sensory experiences. Chronic consumption results in tolerance, dependence, withdrawal syndrome, cognitive deterioration, and increased risk of psychiatric illnesses. The discovery of an endogenous cannabinoid system renewed the medical interest in marijuana and data from the last 20 years have shown that, in the postnatal brain, endocannabinoids regulate the function of many synapses and play an important role in brain development; also, that chronic consumption of marijuana early in life negatively affects Central Nervous System development. Recently, interest on marijuana has centered on its medicinal properties, and a good number of controlled clinical studies support its use in certain medical conditions; however, safety and efficacy of marijuana remains controversial. In this article we analyze the pharmacological knowledge on marijuana, the risks of its consumption, data on its medicinal properties and, based on the available evidence, we conclude that its legalization should be discouraged. Finally, we postulate that marijuana in its herbal form, by the enteral route, could be of a great value in mitigating suffering in patients with terminal illness.

Keywords : Cannabis sativa; marijuana; endocannabinoid system.

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