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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

Intermittent Users

The intermittent users are motivated to use marihuana for reasons similar to those of the experimenters. They use the drug irregularly and infrequently but generally continue to do so because of its socializing and recreational aspects. For the intermittent user, marihuana often contributes to the establishment and solidification of close social relations among users similarly inclined. The individual has a sense of belonging to an intimate group.

Investigations of behavioral aspects of marihuana smoking clearly demonstrate that marihuana smoking is a social activity, believed by intermittent users to enhance the enjoyment of shared activities, especially music, art, films and food.

In a Commission-sponsored study to determine the effects of repeat doses of marihuana, under free access conditions, the subjects smoked almost exclusively in groups. A certain number of these individuals tended to share much of their leisure time in common activities, and marihuana, smoking was the focal activity around which other types of social interactions revolved, such as conversation, watching TV, listening to music and playing games. The intermittent users studied exhibited an increased sense of well-being, relaxation, and friendliness during these activities. They were more inclined to seek and emphasize the social rather than personal effects of the drug.

Intermittent marihuana users, like the experimenters, are generally conventional in most respects. They are more liberal politically and socially and they tend to stress education for personal improvement rather than for recognition or high grades. Like many non-users, these individuals are likely to be self-expressive, intellectually and culturally oriented, creative, and flexible. Placing a high value on experimentation and responsible, independent decision-making, they often manifest a desire to search for new experiences, resulting in some behaviors which depart from the norms of the larger society. Often accompanying their search is a sense of uncertainty about the future.

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