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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

Set and Setting

An important variable in discussing the effect of marihuana on the user is the social and emotional environment; that is, the individual's "set" and "setting."

"Set" refers to a combination of factors that create the "internal environment" of the individual, including personality, life style, and philosophy, past drug experiences, personal expectations of drug effect, and mood at the time of the drug experience.

"Setting" refers to the external environment and social context in which the individual takes the drug. These factors are most influential when drugs are taken at low dosages and, like marihuana, produce minimal physical and subtle subjective mental effects. The effect of marihuana generally will be quite different for an intermittent social adult smoker from that of a youth deeply involved in the youthful drug subculture. These factors partially account for the belief of a marihuana user that he is experiencing a "high" in certain experiments even when he is given a non-marihuana substance (placebo) but is told it is marihuana.


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