Psychotropic Agents: Part III: Alcohol and Psychotomimetics, Psychotropic Effects of Central Acting Drugs

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The description of the pharmacology of psychotomimetics, cannabis, and alcohol in this third volume concludes the discussion on psychotropic agents. As psychomotor stimulants these groups of psychotropic agents are of little or no therapeutic relevance, but since they are used in a nonmedical manner, or are even considered by some groups of the population as social commodities, their behavioral effects and psychopharmacological properties are not the concern of the pharmacol- ogist alone. The same is true of psychotomimetics, as well as cannabis and its components. Psychotomimetics have a social history going back many hundreds of years and are among the most potent psychotropic agents known to man. The closing description of psychopharmacology also deals with the psychotropic effects of a number of drugs not primarily considered to be psychotropic. Their psychotropic effects are either an inherent constituent of their therapeutic profile, as is the case with opiates, hypnotics, and caffeine, or they may occur indirectly as side effects or accompanying effects during therapy. This applies to p-adrenoreceptor antagonists and anticholinergics. The editors are also aware that a description of psychotropic agents would not have been complete without discussing the medical, ethical, and legal aspects of the development, clinical testing, and use of such drugs.