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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
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

Profiles and Dynamics

The personality profile of the heavy marihuana user discussed earlier includes elements propelling him toward heavy involvement in the multiple-drug-using-subculture. Heavy drug use by these individuals may reflect and aggravate a total alienation and disaffiliation from American society and its institutions. This group hopes to find in drug use more than simple, fun or relief from boredom. The heavy use of drugs represents a shift into the drug subculture and an adoption of a totally new life style. Some observers feel that this shift provides a new identity which allows the individual to counteract his apathy and search for meaning in a society he views as unloving, lonely, and meaningless. He seeks to become involved with what he describes as the exciting, relevant, "real" experience of life. Additionally, he believes drug use provides new feelings and awareness needed to overcome barriers between himself, others, and the natural world.

The drug culture as a community also helps to meet the needs of the individual. It provides a ready supply of drugs, unites common experiences and secrets that enhance the drug experience, and protects the individual against undesired experiences and against "the outside world." Most important, the culture instills self-confidence by reassuring the individual that he has been wise in choosing this new identity.

Frequently, these are individuals who express feelings of loneliness, isolation and over-protection from their home and family. One frequent pattern involves an intimate, dominating mother and a distant, unemotional father. In some cases, the drug-use ritual and the, sense of community closeness offered by the drug subculture appear to satisfy certain personal needs. Additionally, joining the subculture provides a release from sheltered life, a test of competence, an opportunity to participate, and a chance to express anger. When the anger is turned inward instead of directed at society and family, drug use becomes a form of passive, self-destructiveness.




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