Author, Andrew Johns, in his journal, “Psychiatric Effects of Cannabis,” analyzes the dangers of the drug to human beings. John’s aims to find out the effects of the drug to its users, the rehabilitation process for addicts, and the subsequent damages caused by addiction. He adopts a resilient tone to encourage determination in fighting addiction and use of cannabis to his readers.
Depression, anxiety, and psychosis are just a few of the adverse effects that may result from what is often considered a relatively innocuous drug: marijuana. The British forensic psychiatrist Andrew Johns, in his journal “Psychiatric Effects of Cannabis,” investigates the potential psychological damage the drug can cause (Johns 2001). He is particularly interested in the effects that heavy or prolonged usage can have on vulnerable populations – specifically youths and those with pre-existing psychiatric issues – and what the clinical implications are. Johns approaches the subject with a meta-analysis, relying on the weight of numerous prior studies to prove his points. His paper effectively reveals the potentially harmful and wide-ranging effects of cannabis use, as it is related to mental illness, dependence, and underlying vulnerabilities. However, because of the exceptionally wide scope of the literature surveyed and the brevity of his research summaries, Johns does not succeed in a convincing demonstration of any of the individual effects addressed. The variance in the purpose and scope of the studies summarized, their divergent approaches, and the diverse populations they sample makes it difficult to accept Johns’ summary conclusions without further investigation.
Johns organizes his paper into three major topics: psychological responses to cannabis use, cannabis dependency, and vulnerabilities that may increase the risk factor of one or both of these. Each of the three topics is further divided into a number of subcategories. For example, the section on psychological responses is divided into “cannabis and mood change,” “cannabis and psychosis,” “cannabis and toxic psychosis,” “cannabis and acute functional psychosis,” “cannabis and chronic psychosis,” “cannabis and a motivational syndrome,” and “cannabis as a risk-factor for serious mental illness.” Some of these are even further subdivided. This might be a reasonable scope for an extended literature review or meta-analysis, but Johns’ paper is only five pages. It is impossible to do anything more than the most cursory presentation of the various findings in such a limited amount of space. He is relying entirely on the authority of other experts in the field, asking the reader to take their results at face value, without any added analysis.
In this journal, Johns cites thirty-seven separate studies. This may have been presented more affectively as an annotated bibliography, rather than attempting to put it into narrative form. The author appears rushed at many points, and the flow of the argument is not always...