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|Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy|
|LaGuardia Committee Report on Marihuana - Table of Contents|
Subjects Selected for the Study
For the purpose of establishing a uniform plan of procedure to be followed throughout the study, a test group of 5 individuals who had had no previous experience with marihuana was selected. These were volunteers who were paid for their services. They were of a low socio-economic level, but classified as of better than average intelligence. Only one of the group came within the range of what is considered normal personality. They represented the type of person who would readily take to marihuana were the opportunity offered.
The main group, 72 subjects, was drawn from the inmates of the penitentiaries at Riker's and Hart Islands and the House of Detention for Women, all of which are under the supervision of the Department of Correction of New York City. There were two advantages in selecting subjects from this particular group; first, they could be kept under continuous observation throughout the period desired, and second, they constituted an excellent sample of the class in New York City from which the marihuana user comes. The subjects all volunteered for the study after having its purpose and the part they were to take in it fully explained to them.
Race, Sex and Age.
Of the group, 65 were males and 7 were females; 35 were white, 26 were Negroes, and 11 were Puerto Ricans. The ages ranged from 21 to 37 years except for one who was 45 and another who was 43. Of the women, 6 had been opium addicts for a number of years.
Previous Experience with Marihuana.
Forty-eight of the group, including 6 of the women, gave a history of marihuana
smoking. The extent of the usage was variable- for some it was occasional, while others
had indulged in the habit fairly steadily over a period of years. Of the 48 users, those
who were sellers of marihuana were probably the most consistent smokers, as in carrying on
the traffic they would endeavor to keep a stock on hand. But in any instance, the number
of cigarettes smoked during any stated period would vary according to circumstance. Thus
one user stated that he smoked from 2 to 6 marihuana cigarettes a day, another from 10 to
15 a day, another 3 or 4 a week, and another 5 or 6 a month. Those who smoked daily are
here classified as steady users, those who smoked when opportunity was offered but not
daily, as occasional users.
The users had all been deprived of marihuana from the time of their arrest, the shortest period being two weeks, the longest, one year and ten months. They all stated that the habit had often been interrupted voluntarily and the enforced discontinuation of it had caused no discomfort.
The subjects were individually selected by Dr. Allentuck as suitable for the study. A physical and neurological examination at the hospital showed no evidence of disease. However, the Wassermann and Kline tests gave positive results for 6 subjects and the Kline test alone was positive for 2 and doubtful for 2. These figures are consistent with those of the population from which the group was selected. Of the 12,000 inmates of the Riker's Island Penitentiary in 1940 and the 8,000 in 1941, 10 per cent reacted positively to serological tests.
Sixty subjects (40 users and 20 nonusers ) to whom the Bellevue Adult Intelligence Test was given had an average I.Q. of 99.3, range 70 to 124. The average I.Q. of the user group was 96.7, range 70 to 124, while that for the non-user group was 104.5, range 93 to 114.
When analyzed according to racial distribution, the two groups were even better equated
intellectually than the total results indicate. Of the 28 white subjects examined, the
average I.Q. of the 13 users was 106.1, range 77 to 124, and that of the 15 non-users was
106.3, range 96 to 114. The 19 Negro users had an average I.Q. of 92.6, range 70 to 112,
and the 5 Negro non-users averaged 98.8, range 93 to 101. Although in the colored group
the non-users averaged 6.2 points higher than the users, it must be taken into account
that the number of Negro non-users tested was small. The average I.Q. of the 8 Puerto
Rican users was 91.0, range 72 to 100; that is, they were very similar in mental ability
to the Negro users. From the results obtained from the Bellevue Adult Intelligence Test,
one may conclude that neither the users nor the nonusers were inferior in intelligence to
the general population.
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Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Major Studies of Drug and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Licit and Illicit Drugs
Short History of the Marijuana Laws
The Drug Hang-Up
Congressional Transcripts of the Hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Frequently Asked Questions About Drugs
Basic Facts About the Drug War
Charts and Graphs about Drugs
Information on Alcohol
Guide to Heroin - Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin
LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
Drugs and Driving
Children and Drugs
Drug Abuse Treatment Resource List
American Society for Action on Pain
Let Us Pay Taxes
Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
Legal References on Drugs
GAO Documents on Drugs
Response to the Drug Enforcement Agency
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