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Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents

The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Marihuana - A Signal of Misunderstanding.

Chapter II

marihuana use and its effects

Situational Factors and Behavioral Correlates

All studies of the ever user, including the Commission-sponsored National Survey, have established that marihuana smoking is significantly correlated with a number of demographic variables. Males, college students, and residents of metropolitan areas, especially in the Northeast and West, are generally overrepresented in proportion to their percentage of the total population.

Among the behaviors statistically correlated with marihuana, use are radical politics, visits to psychiatrists, sexual freedom, and separate residences from parents. The most significant behavior seems to be use of legal drugs, especially alcohol and tobacco. Young people who choose to experiment with marihuana are fundamentally the same people, socially and psychologically, as those who use alcohol and tobacco. For example, in a study of high school youngsters, only 3% of all the nonsmokers in the sample had ever tried marihuana, compared with 50% of all the current cigarette smokers. Similarly, for alcohol drinking outside the family setting, only 2% of all the nondrinkers had tried marihuana, as compared to 27% of the drinkers. The National Survey tends to confirm the close association between marihuana use and cigarette smoking and alcohol use. Among all the adults sampled in the Survey, 71% had smoked cigarettes and 39% are current smokers. Similarly, of adult non-marihuana users, 70% have smoked cigarettes and 38% are current smokers. These percentages increase somewhat for marihuana users: 87 have smoked cigarettes and 54% are current cigarette smokers.

In regard to alcohol consumption, 40% of all the adults sampled indicated that they had not consumed beer or bard liquor in the 30 days prior to the survey. Marihuana users tended to have consumed alcohol more often than non-marihuana users (Table, 2).


1-4 5-10 11 or No

0 days days days more answer


Percent of nonmarihuana users. . 45 19 6 7 21

Percent of marihuana users...... 26 30 12 8 24


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