Cannabis and Cannabinoid Intoxication and Toxicity

  • Ziva D. CooperEmail author
  • Arthur Robin Williams


Adverse effects related to cannabis are an emerging health risk exemplified by reliable increases in calls to poison control centers and emergency department visits due to both unintentional and abuse-related exposures. Toxicity as a consequence of synthetic cannabinoid use (i.e., Spice, K2) has also become an apparent clinical issue with sometimes severe adverse consequences. This chapter will describe the prevalence of over-intoxication, or toxicity by cannabis, cannabis-derived products, and synthetic cannabinoids, with attention to understanding populations most at risk. The constellation of physiological and psychiatric symptoms of intoxication and severe adverse reactions according to cannabis, cannabis-derived products, and synthetic cannabinoids will be described. While there is currently no standard course of action to treat cannabis and cannabinoid exposures, the current treatments reported in the literature will be summarized. As cannabis availability grows and strength of products increases, clinician awareness of the signs and symptoms of cannabis toxicity is critical for undertaking the optimal course of patient treatment. Additionally, knowledge of the risks associated with synthetic cannabinoid use and most frequent treatment approaches will also prepare clinicians for the most effective strategies to addressing their physiological and psychiatric adverse effects.


Cannabis Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol Synthetic cannabinoids Toxicity Intoxication 

Technical Terms/Abbreviations




Synthetic cannabinoids


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division on Substance Use Disorders, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of PsychiatryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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