NEW YORK – Despite the booming cannabis industry and increasingly popular medicinal cannabis programs throughout the country, very few people, whether patients or clinicians, understand the complex science of the plant or its effect on the brain and the body. While there have been dozens of books that celebrate cannabis and just as many that denigrate it, there has yet to be one that offers an unbiased and cleareyed look at the science of cannabis and the cannabinoids. By taking an evidence-based approach and avoiding familiar political tropes, Drs. Samoon Ahmad and Kevin P. Hill have finally done just that with their new book: Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook (Wolters Kluwer, September 2020).
Cannabis has been cultivated and used for thousands of years, yet it remains not just enigmatic but deeply polarizing. As they write in the book’s prologue, “It is our hope that we can eliminate unwarranted stigmas that continue to hound this quirky plant and to dispel any notions that cannabis is either a miracle drug or the devil’s weed. If nothing else, we hope to provide our peers in the medical community with some degree of clarity so that they can make decisions based on the best available evidence and pass on accurate information to patients.”
Both authors have extensive clinical experience and academic backgrounds. Dr. Hill is an addiction specialist and currently Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, and author of Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth About the World’s Most Popular Weed. Dr. Ahmad is a practicing physician in New York City, Founder of the Integrative Center for Wellness, and a Professor of Psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. He has also written extensively about PTSD and coauthored multiple books, including the recent edition of Kaplan & Sadock’s Pocket Handbook of Clinical Psychiatry.
“Excellently written,” said Dr. Stephen Ross, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Addictive Disorders and Experimental Therapeutics Research Laboratory at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, “The book provides an enormous amount of concise and clinically relevant information on everything related to medical cannabis including historical and regulatory aspects, the dizzying diversity of the many cannabis constituent components, review of the endocannabinoid system, relevant pharmacology, therapeutic preparations and the existing and potential clinical applications of medical cannabis throughout medicine, psychiatry and neurology.”
Apart from focusing on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating substance in cannabis and typically the focal point of medical marijuana programs, the authors also examine the relevant science on many other cannabinoids found in the plant, especially cannabidiol (CBD). They have also painstakingly researched the local and federal laws governing its use and created a state-by-state guide for clinicians and patients. To ensure this information is current, they have also created a companion website, cannabistextbook.com, that will monitor changes to local, state, and federal regulations as they occur. The site will also publish recent cannabis-related research articles.
The book is organized to allow for easy reference. The initial chapters focus on general information about the plant, including its classification, morphology, history, and constituents. It then moves on to a cultural history of cannabis and marijuana in the United States to provide a context for the regulations and laws currently governing its use. It then describes the body’s endocannabinoid system and the pharmacological profile of CBD and THC before moving on to applications for cannabis in specialty practices such as:
- Internal medicine
Finally, the authors describe the dangers of excessive cannabis use, cannabis use disorder, and potential adverse effects.”Patients will continue to turn to medical cannabis,” Dr. Hill writes in his prologue. “We want to educate health care professionals so that they are in a better position to help patients when this happens.”
Medical Marijuana: A Clinical Handbook
By Samoon Ahmad, M.D., and Kevin P. Hill, M.D., M.H.S.
Publisher: Wolters Kluwer
Publication Date: September 9, 2020
About the Authors
Samoon Ahmad, M.D., is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and serves as Unit Chief of Inpatient Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital Center. A practicing physician for over twenty-five years, Dr. Ahmad has dedicated his professional life to helping individuals find balance in their mental and physical well-being. He founded the Integrative Center for Wellness to execute his innovative vision of incorporating psychiatric treatments with holistic therapies—including nutritional therapy, meditation, and plant-based medicines—to emphasize wellness of the body and the mind. He specializes in treating patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, stuttering and weight management issues.Kevin P. Hill, M.D., M.H.S., is an addiction psychiatrist and Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hill has conducted clinical research and written on a wide variety of topics including medical cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), and addiction to alcohol, cannabis, and opioids. As a leading cannabis expert, he has spoken nationally and appeared often on radio and television on the topics of cannabis policy and treatment, offering a balanced, evidence-based stance on these issues.
“…a powerful asset for any medical professional to add to their arsenal of knowledge as much of the scientific advancement regarding cannabis has been suppressed up until recently.” -Noemi Gonzales, Green Market Report.
“The authors have written an extremely comprehensive book that will give readers a more nuanced appreciation of cannabis. This includes its potential therapeutic value, its effects on the endocannabinoid system, and the part it has played in cultures throughout the world.” -Joyce Cenali, Founding Partner & COO of Big Rock Partners, a strategic advisory firm.
“Drs. Ahmad and Hill have written a very timely, unbiased book that presents the benefits and risks associated with the use of cannabis and that will help bring greater transparency to the debate over cannabis’ legitimacy as a therapeutic drug. Clearly written and very well organized, the book’s second half allows readers the ability to jump between chapters to learn how THC and CBD affect different bodily systems. The first half of the book, meanwhile, provides an in-depth look at the pharmacology of both CBD and THC, examples of how cannabis has been used by numerous cultures for medicinal or ritualistic purposes, and a detailed timeline that follows the history of cannabis regulations in the United States through the 20th century. Though written primarily for healthcare practitioners and clinicians, anyone hoping to gain a greater understanding about cannabis and its therapeutic applications will find this work extremely informative and helpful.” -Marion Mariathasan, CEO of Simplifya, the leading regulatory & compliance software platform serving the cannabis industry.