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Call for papers: Benefits and risks of cannabis and its compounds

Benefits and risks of cannabis and its compounds

Marijuana research has been growing in importance. Studies on cannabinoids, the active components in marijuana, show medical benefits for pain, nausea, and wasting away syndrome. However, like many psychoactive compounds, research has also found that the cannabinoids are not without risk and dangers. 

The cannabinoid system is complex and manipulation of that system can cause sometimes contradictory effects.  Marijuana contains around 60 cannabinoid compounds which can have opposing effects. THC is the most commonly known psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, but other non-psychoactive compounds such as cannabidiol and cannabinol are also present in the plant. The complexity of both the endogenous system and the marijuana plant can result in both an increase and decrease in anxiety as well as enhancements and impairments of sexual behavior.  Factors such as sex, marijuana use experience, genetic predisposition and especially dose all mediate the psychological impacts of marijuana consumption.

There is growing evidence that cannabinoids can act to induce, potentiate, as well as treat different psychiatric diseases. Research has shown that marijuana has addictive potential and can induce a first psychotic episode in individuals predisposed to schizophrenia.  In contrast, cannabinoids hold potential for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, sexual disorders, and anxiety disorders.

Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana for legal and medicinal use is increasing throughout the world with particular speed in the United States. Easier access to a drug that is still quite stigmatized means that more research is required to fully understand the exact benefits and risks. This thematic series will present the most up to date research on how marijuana and its cannabinoid compounds can impact individuals. This knowledge can then inform the public and the scientific community on how marijuana and cannabinoids can benefit the population while at the same time safely consume them.

Thematic Series

In this context, BMC Psychiatry is launching a special issue focused on the benefits and risks of cannabis and its compounds.  We are welcoming research articles, case reports, debates and reviews dealing with cannabinoids and their relationship to posttraumatic stress disorder, cannabis use disorder, genetics, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, adolescent development, opioid treatment, sexual disorders, dose response, and epidemiology.

Submission deadline

The deadline for submissions to the special issue has been extended until the 1st June 2019.

To submit your manuscript, please use our online submission system:

BMC Psychiatry submission system

Please indicate in your covering letter that you would like the article to be considered for the ‘The Benefits and Risks of Cannabis and Its Compounds’ special issue.  If you would like to inquire about the suitability of a study for consideration, please email a presubmission inquiry to

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Samuel Harris (Editor for BMC Psychiatry)

Carl Hart (Guest Editor, Columbia University)