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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Acute Effects of Marihuana

(Delta 9 THC)


THE INTOXICATED MENTAL STATE

Several investigators have suggested that shortterm memory is the mental function most significantly affected by marihuana and contributes to the subtle alterations of mental functioning noted. Generally an impairment of recent or short term memory is demonstrated (Abel, 1970,1971; Dornbush et al., 1971; Menges, 1970-71; Tinklenberg, 1970; Clark et al., 1970; Weil et al., 1968). Thus, mental tasks requiring immediate information acquisition (Abel, 1971) and/or retrieval (Weil et al., 1968) are effected.

Abel (1971) recently showed that marihuana blocks the acquisition process involved in the storage of new interferes with the retrieval of already stored information. Decrements are produced in decisions requiring recent memory or sustained alertness (Clark et al., 1970) ; conversation (Well et al., 1968) ; calculations, or reading which requires retention, coordinating and indexing sequential information termed temporal disintegration (Melges et al., 1970, 1971).

Melges eta]. (1970, 1971) theorizes that episodic impairment of immediate memory produces voids which are filled with perceptions and thoughts extraneous to the organized mental processes. He suggests that this leads to temporal disintegration producing a fragmented and disorganized temporal experience in which past and future time frames are blurred and the present is experienced as prolonged or boundless. Thus, depersonalization occurs as the individual experiences himself temporally in a strange and unreal manner during marihuana intoxication.


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