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Weed Science - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128181744, 9780128181751

Weed Science

1st Edition

Cannabis Controversies and Challenges

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Author: Godfrey Pearlson
Paperback ISBN: 9780128181744
eBook ISBN: 9780128181751
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 14th July 2020
Page Count: 326
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WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MARIJUANA AND HOW DO WE KNOW IT? Marijuana is the most frequently consumed illicit drug worldwide, with over 158.8 million users, according to the UN. Responding to public pressure, the US federal government is likely to legalize recreational marijuana within the next few years. With increasing numbers of people using cannabis both medically and recreationally there are many looming questions that only science can answer. These include:

  • What's likely to happen, both good and bad, if the US legalizes marijuana?
  • What are some simple, science-based rules to separate fact from fiction and to help guide policy in the highly contentious marijuana debate?
  • Exactly what is cannabis doing in the brain that gets us high? A journey through THC neuroscience
  • Does cannabis really have medical benefits - what's the evidence?
  • To what extent does cannabis impair driving?
  • Can smoking marijuana in adolescence affect IQ or risk for developing schizophrenia?
  • Is marijuana safe to use during pregnancy?

Key Features

  • Reviews the endocannabinoid system and why our bodies are full of "weed receptors"
  • Introduces readers to the various forms of marijuana: flower, dabs, hash, edibles, shatter, vapes, tinctures, oils and synthetics, THC, CBD and terpenes.
  • Demonstrates how and why cannabis affects different people very differently. Discusses how MRI and PET scans can help show the effects of marijuana on the brain.
  • Discusses long-term effects of adolescent and adult cannabis use.
  • Examines the evidence for cannabis’s role in increasing the risk for schizophrenia-like illnesses.


Popular science readers, everybody who lived through the 60s, stoners, parents, young adults, physicians and healthcare professionals, college counselors, social workers, educators, legislators, scientists of all types and public policy professionals

Table of Contents

1. Introduction - how the author became acquainted with cannabis
2. Good Science and Bad Science - how science helps us think about contentious social issues
3. Holi - what an ancient Hindu festival can teach us about safe marijuana use
4. Archaeology and Ethnobotany - the long historical relationship humans have with cannabis
5. Neuroscience - the endocannabinoid system, how it evolved and what it does
6. Psychology + Human Behavior - what is it like to be stoned and what goes on in our brains when we are?
7. Epidemiology - what can population studies tell us about cannabis risks?
8. Toxicology - cannabis’ side effects and how they occur. Synthetic cannabinoids
9. Chemical Analysis and Extraction - the eternal quest for a higher high
10. Medical Marijuana and Clinical Trials - what’s the evidence for marijuana as a medicine?
11. Economic/Business -who stands to gain and to lose, if cannabis is legalized in the US?
12. Summary/Conclusion - harm reduction; lessons from ending alcohol prohibition and from what’s going on in Canada


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2020
14th July 2020
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Godfrey Pearlson

Godfrey Pearlson, award-winning physician and researcher, completed his medical degree at Newcastle University in the UK and a graduate philosophy degree at Columbia University in NYC. He trained in psychiatry and was subsequently a psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Yale University and directs a brain research center at the Institute of Living in Connecticut. He has published over 700 peer-reviewed scientific articles and his marijuana research is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Dr. Pearlson is an expert in the fields of marijuana and of psychosis. He believes that any political platforms regarding cannabis should be based on scientific facts rather than emotion.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Yale University, New Haven, CT and Director, Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center, Institute of Living, Hartford, CT, USA


"…the great surprise about Weed Science is the writing. Most readers, myself among them, struggle to slog through the numbing jargon of journal articles - they can often be as dry as that old bag of marijuana that was stashed in the garage three years ago and forgotten. Dr. Pearlson is a fine writer with a well-honed sense of humor that adds some sheen to material that could otherwise come off as dutifully academic. Even though he takes science seriously he also makes it enjoyable - no easy feat." --Joe Dolce, author, Brave New Weed: Adventures into the Uncharted World of Cannabis

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