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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7193 p505
13 April 2002

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Science and medical use of marijuana

'The science of marijuana', edited by Leslie L. Iverson. Pp vii+283. Price £15.95. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2001. ISBN 0 19 515110 0


If you want to know about the science and medical use of cannabis, this is the book for you. It is based on evaluated published research, has been carefully constructed and is easy to read. The author has used quotes from published sources to bring his points alive, and this makes it interesting as well as informative.

The introduction gives a balanced view on the current knowledge of the use and abuse of cannabis and explains its history as a commercial crop. The next two chapters give the pharmacology and effects on the central nervous system of cannabinoids and their synthetic counterparts. It is noted that only one synthetic cannabinoid is currently used for medical purposes.

The most interesting chapter is on medical uses. It gives an excellent historical perspective leading to an explanation of the modern revival of cannabis-based medicines and explains why cannabis is a relatively safe drug.

Good quality scientific clinical trials are stated to be essential for governments to allow the medical use of cannabis based products and the author mentions the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's involvement in getting these established.

There are about 150 references for those who wish to know more about the subject.

Tony Moffat

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Professor Tony Moffat is chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society


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