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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

Anxiety States

"Novice anxiety reactions" or feelings of panic account for a majority of unpleasant reactions to marihuana. When the distortion of self image and time is recognized by the individual as drug-induced and temporary, the experience is viewed as pleasurable. Anxiety -and panic result when these changes cause the individual to fear that the loss of his identity and self-control may not end, and that he is dying or "losing his mind." These anxiety and panic reactions are transient and usually disappear over a few hours as the drug's effects wear off, or more quickly with gentle friendly reassurance.

The large majority of these, anxiety reactions occur in individuals who are experimenting with marihuana. Most often these individuals have an intense underlying anxiety surrounding marihuana use, such as fears of arrest, disruption of family and occupational relations, and possible bodily or mental harm. Often they are older and have relatively rigid personalities with less desire for new and different experiences.

The incidence of these anxiety reactions may have decreased as marihuana use has become acceptable to wider populations, as the fears of its effects have lessened and as users have developed experience in management of these reactions.


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