Cannabis beyond psychosis
Regular cannabis use has been associated with several negative effects on health. Besides the negative impact of cannabis use on the onset and outcome of psychotic disorders, there are other relevant health aspects that gather much less attention. There is evidence that cannabis use impacts somatic, mental and physical health in several ways, even though there is often no consensus regarding causality and duration of those negative effects. The aim of this round table discussion proposal is first of all, to examine the factors that are associated with the negative effects of cannabis use on several health dimensions, including somatic health and physical injury harms; secondly, discuss the reasons why some individuals might be more vulnerable to the negative effects of cannabis use; and finally, present the possibility of using biomarkers of cerebral function by health professionals for monitoring severity, treatment and rehabilitation of cannabis use disorders.
More specifically, the first presentation will be a review of the existing evidence about the effects of regular cannabis use on body systems other than the central nervous system. We will focus on the respiratory and cardiovascular function, risk of cancer (especially testicular tumors), and gastrointestinal effects. The second presentation will examine the intentional and unintentional lesions that are associated with cannabis use, including traffic accidents, suicidal behavior and violent aggressions. The third presentation will aim to identify the factors associated with increased vulnerability to the negative effects of regular cannabis use (e.g. age of onset, potency, duration of use), with special emphasis on cognitive deficits. The forth presentation, will talk about the role that the cerebellum plays in cannabis addiction and the behavioral tests that are representative of cerebellar function and might be useful in a clinical setting for monitoring treatment and rehabilitation of cannabis use disorders. Finally, the discussant will summarize the main topics exposed by the speakers and lead the discussion.