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Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Major depressive disorder
Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Lewy body dementia
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Autism spectrum disorder
Disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders
Fetal alcohol syndrome
Body dysmorphic disorder
Body focused repetitive disorders
Cluster A personality disorders
Cluster B personality disorders
Cluster C personality disorders
Female sexual interest and arousal disorder
Genito-pelvic pain and penetration disorder
Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder
Somatic symptom disorder
Alcohol use disorder
Physical and sexual abuse
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Amnesia, dissociative disorders and delirium: Pathology review
Anxiety disorders, phobias and stress-related disorders: Pathology Review
Childhood and early-onset psychological disorders: Pathology review
Dementia: Pathology review
Developmental and learning disorders: Pathology review
Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Alcohol: Pathology review
Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Hallucinogens: Pathology review
Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Other depressants: Pathology review
Drug misuse, intoxication and withdrawal: Stimulants: Pathology review
Eating disorders: Pathology review
Malingering, factitious disorders and somatoform disorders: Pathology review
Mood disorders: Pathology review
Personality disorders: Pathology review
Psychiatric emergencies: Pathology review
Psychological sleep disorders: Pathology review
Schizophrenia spectrum disorders: Pathology review
Trauma- and stress-related disorders: Pathology review
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Cannabis, or marijuana, is one of the most popular psychoactive substances worldwide, especially among teenagers.
Although the specifics of cannabis’ addictive qualities are still very much under debate, cannabis dependence disorder is officially classified in the DSM-5 and prolonged, heavy use of cannabis has been shown to cause some level of dependency.
Cannabis comes from the flowers of Cannabis sativa plants, which has oils with concentrations of tiny, fat-soluble, psychoactive molecules called cannabinoids.
The three main cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (also called THC), cannabidiol (also called CBD), and cannabinol (also called CBN), are each associated with unique psychoactive effects.
For example, THC is associated with high-grade recreational marijuana, and produces effects, like euphoria, analgesia, mild hallucinations, and an increased appetite.
Cannabidiol on the other hand does not have psychoactive effects and is commonly included in medical marijuana because it has a variety of effects including being analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, appetite stimulating, and anxiety-reducing.
To understand how cannabis works, let’s zoom in on a synapse of the brain to see how a stimulus response is induced generally, without drugs.
Normally, electrical signals, or action potentials, travel down the axon to the axon terminal, triggering the release of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters from synaptic vesicles into the synapse.
The neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptors on the postsynaptic neuron, where they give the cell a message.
After the neurotransmitters have done their job, they unbind from the receptors and can simply diffuse away, be degraded by enzymes, or be picked up by proteins and returned to their release site in a process called reuptake.
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