Background Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia.
Regular use has been associated with increased risk
for a range of harms, including the development and
exacerbation of mental disorders.
Objective This article reviews current evidence relating to the
neuropharmacology of cannabis and its impact on mental
health, as well as strategies related to the assessment
and management of cannabis and co-occurring mental
disorders within the primary care setting.
Discussion Early and heavy use of cannabis has been associated with
the onset of psychosis and depression, while chronic use
results in poorer treatment outcomes among those with
co-occurring mental disorders. Effective management
involves the development of therapeutic engagement and
an ongoing relationship, with monitoring of cannabis use
and mental health problems. Standard pharmacotherapeutic
treatment of the mental disorder may be associated
with a reduction in cannabis use, although adjunctive
psychological intervention is also likely to be required.
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