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Cannabinoids and the Brain
Parker, Linda A.
MIT Press / Softcover / 2017-03-01 / 0262035790
price: $51.50
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The cannabis plant has been used for recreational and medicinal purposes for more than 4,000 years, but the scientific investigation into its effects has only recently yielded useful results. In this book, Linda Parker offers a review of the scientific evidence on the effects of cannabinoids on brain and behavioral functioning, with an emphasis on potential therapeutic uses.

Parker describes the discovery of tetrahydocannbinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, and the further discovery of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. She explains that the brain produces chemicals similar to THC, which act on the same receptors as THC, and shows that the endocannabinoid system is involved in all aspects of brain functioning. Parker reports that cannabis contains not only the psychoactive compound THC, but also other compounds of potential therapeutic benefit, and that one of them, cannabidiol (CBD), shows promise for the treatment of pain, anxiety, and epilepsy. Parker reviews the evidence on cannabinoids and anxiety, depression, mood, sleep, schizophrenia, learning and memory, addiction, sex, appetite and obesity, chemotherapy-induced nausea, epilepsy, and such neurodegenerative disorders as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. Each chapter also links the scientific evidence to historical and anecdotal reports of the medicinal use of cannabis.

As debate about the medical use of marijuana continues, Parker’s balanced and objective review of the fundamental science and potential therapeutic effects of cannabis is especially timely.


“Linda Parker is recognized by many of her academic peers as an eminent cannabinoid scientist. The book provides a great read both for those who already possess some, or even a lot of scientific and clinical knowledge about the central effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, and for those who are keen to begin gathering such knowledge.”
—Roger Pertwee, Professor, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; cannabinoid pharmacologist; editor of Handbook of Cannabis and Endocannabinoids

“This book, written by a superb scientist with decades of experience in the field of endocannabinoids, is an elegant synthesis of a vast literature that has become a hot topic in medicine. It is written in language that is accessible to all and will be engaging for the curious layperson as well as scientists with background and expertise in the cannabinoid field. When medical schools finally catch on that the endocannabinoid system is a critical part of the human immune and pain defense network, this will also serve as a perfect reference text for medical trainees at all levels.”
—Mary Lynch, Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Pain Management, and Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University

“Parker’s book is a pleasure to behold—a treasure trove of knowledge from a much-admired authority in the field of cannabis research. Parker provides a cornucopia of cannabinoid insights for the novice and expert alike: a compact yet richly detailed account of one of the fastest-moving frontiers in science and medicine. Eleven out of ten!”
—Iain McGregor, Professor of Psychopharmacology, University of Sydney; Director of Preclinical Research, Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics

About the Author:

Linda A. Parker is Professor in the Psychology and Collaborative Neuroscience Program and Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Guelph. She was the 2016 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Cannabinoid Research Society and is currently President of the Canadian Consortium for Investigation of Cannabinoids.

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