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The Science of Marijuana [Paperback]

Leslie L. Iversen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 15 2001 0195151100 978-0195151107 1
After alcohol and nicotine, marijuana is the most commonly used "recreational" drug in Western countries. There has already been a growing debate about the medical applications of marijuana and other cannabis-based preparations and increasing pressure to legalize such use; voters in several States in the US in the 1996 and 1998 elections approved prosals to implement such measures. In The Science of Marijuana the author explains the remarkable advances that have been made in scientific research on cannabis with the discovery of specific receptors and the existence of naturally occurring cannabis-like substances in the brain. The book also gives an objective and up to date assessment of the scientific basis for the medical use of cannabis and what risks this may entail. The recreational use of the drug and how it affects users is described along with some predictions about how attitudes to cannabis use may change in the future. Leslie Iversen is a scientist who has worked both in academia and in the pharmaceutical industry and has specialized in the study of drug actions on the brain. The book is written with a minimum of scientific jargon or technical language for readers who want to know more about the science that underlies the current cannabis debate.

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Review

"Iversen has written an excellent, well-balanced, non-specialist book covering both the biological and social aspects of cannabis. I strongly recommend it" --Nature

"Not only could healthcare professionals, counselors, and researchers utilize this book as an excellent resource, the non-scientific public would find this book highly readable and insightful. With accurate documentation (over 170 references), the author provide readers with sufficient factual information uponwhich to formulate educated opinions on the issues surrounding marijuana as medicine and marijuana in our culture." --Doody's

"This is by far one of the best books that discusses marijuana in terms of its use throughout the world."--AIDS Book Review Journal

"A remarkably well-balanced volume that provides the scientific background for the current debate on marijuana use.... A treasure trove of information about the history of marijuana use and legislation, and it effectively summarizes in lay terms the cannabinoid research that now offers a potential scientific foundation for medical, political, and legal decisions about marijuana." --Science

"Advances in cannabis research, particularly in neuroscience, are admirably described and critically discussed in this book by Leslie Iverson, an eminent pharmacologist with wide experiences both in academia and in industry. He presents the history, biology and medical aspects of cannabis with a critical eye, and superb writing style. Iverson's analysis of the "medical marijuana" issues and of the trend towards legalization is even-handed. He has written a well-balanced, non-specialist book covering both the biological and social aspects of cannabis." - Nature, Vol 407, September 2000

"The 'science' in this text includes history, economics, and some anthropology, as well as the chemistry and pharmacology of marijuana. Of particular interest are sections that discuss the brain's cannabinoid receptor and endogenous cannabinoids, while a review of marijuana's medical uses and possible health risks is very helpful. The book provides a broad, balanced review of this controversial drug and could help bring some light into an area long obscured by entrenched biases." - Guy Lord, MD, Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health, March 2001

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Marijuana (cannabis) is among the most widely used of all psychoactive drugs. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book but the Dummit review is bunk.. Dec 10 2003
Format:Paperback
This is an interesting read about the science of marijuana. It has lots of information for anybody who is interested in the science of cannabis and the medical issues surrounding it. The scientific evidence in terms of medical value is now extremely abundant, so much so that Canada recently legalized it for medical use and recreational use although this is still the subject of some minor controversy. Who can deny people medicine? Well the US government has been doing that simply to prevent cross-border marijuana trade with South America for years. South America has the best climate for marijuana production and could certainly output it cheaply. This is a massive economic fear for the current US government. The bottom line remains the same. Children should not do drugs. The one thing that is very interesting is that regardless of cannabis prohibition some children still use cannabis, so prohibition is pretty much useless in curbing that problem. Cannabis does not have a physical habit forming potential but possibly a psychological one. We know that the physical habit forming ideologies are not valid because the FDA has always rejected cannabis-dependence treatment pills that some pharmaceutical giants have tried to push onto the market. This is because the pharmaceutical giants have not been adequately able to prove the existence of physical cannabis dependence. The Gateway drug theory is also invalid which is why it is not brought up here. The EU drug commission simply does not refer to it anymore. The US government does use it but it is as incorrect as saying - people who ride bicycles will grow up to ride motorbikes. There is also the negative gateway effect. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only for the sensible July 23 2000
Format:Hardcover
This is a highly readable volume that delivers a superb overview of the history, pharmacology and sociology of marijuana. Although the non-scientist may find it tough going in a few places, Iversen does an admirable job of presenting the technical issues with clarity. More importantly, the objectivity is unassailable. If you are looking for the book to tell you that marijuana smoking is perfectly safe you will be disappointed. Equally, if you seek justification of hysterical anti-drug rhetoric you will be unfulfilled. But, if you want to be educated and informed so that you can make your own judgement this is a great place to start. Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice of Reason July 20 2000
Format:Hardcover
A superb, accessible, scientific assessment of the pharmacology. medicinal uses, health consequences, and recreational effects of the most popular illicit drug in the world. Iversen stays as objective as possible in his discussions of this highly volatile and political topic. He puts nails in the coffins of many marijuana myths, including those related to alleged chromosomal damage and dramatic increases in THC content. He offers keen historical perspectives, and depicts difficult scientific ideas with ease.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
First off as a pro-legalization person i must say this is not a book written by a "hippy" or Drug Prohibitionist; Leslie L. Iversen is Professor of Pharmacology at University of Oxford, he is the right person to be talking about THE SCIENCE OF MARIJUANA. This book helped me understand how Cannabis (a.k.a. Marijuana, Hemp, etc.) affects the mind based on the research & studies of the past. The book speaks of what is known about the interactions of the substance on the body & mind while not determining the effects of most of the long term health effects which are not known well enoft for Dr. Iversen to conclude. A main reason for the lack of research on Cannabis is because of, yes the U.S. government and others who would not allow any unbaised research after Pres. Nixion had the Schaffer report (which recommend full legalization of Marijuana) blew up in his face. This book gets into the technical working of Thc and is quite fascinating at times. Althought I would not reccomend it to those who can't handle a long books. So it might not be the best book to educate your teenager about the harms of drugs (even though i read it at 17). The book does leave you well informed on the medical aspects of Cannabis. I would say that this would be good to read if you want to take a stand of either side of the drug debate, cause if all the info you go by is form the anti-drug campain or NORML then you are uninformed and should shut-up if dont atleast take the time to find out the half of the whole story that surrounds Cannabis.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an almost balanced scientific review Aug. 30 2001
Format:Hardcover
As a child psychiatrist who treats adolescents with substance dependence disorders, I was very pleased to read this well written scientific review from Dr. Iversen, a pharmacologist. It really does appear to be reasonably unbiased on the question of whether cannabis has medicinal value, and attempts to review the scientific evidence in a rational way. However, the scientific evidence so far is nowhere near the level of proof of safety and efficacy required to get new medications approved for use by the FDA, and Dr. Iversen conveniently ignores this vital issue.
Additionally, he glosses over the very real and known physical and mental health risks associated with heavy chronic marijuana smoking. ... His perspective is that of scientist concerned with the effects of THC, rather than mine, as a physician concerned with the mental and physical health of children who seek my help. I generally agree with his conclusions, that cannabis may have some potential for therapeutic use if we can find a way to dissociate its adverse effects and its habit-forming potential from its therapeutic effects. However, the current science is far from achieving such a goal. It concerns me that Dr. Iversen has left a very vital branch of biomedical science out of his review, namely, the epidemiology, comorbidity, and health consequences of cannabis abuse and dependence. While it is true that most people who smoke pot occasionally are probably not going to become addicted or escalate use into more dangerous drugs, it remains the major "gateway drug" by which adolescents are introduced into the addictive downward spiral that can destroy their lives, if they are one of the unfortunate who are biologically predisposed to addiction. The failure to review the science of cannabis dependence and the substantial scientific literature on the psychobiology of addictive behavior is the only major shortcoming of an otherwise fascinating book.
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