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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


Our attempt to classify marihuana users is primarily for descriptive purposes. It does not imply that all individuals who resemble any of the categories are necessarily marihuana users. Nor is it implied that all marihuana users fit neatly or precisely into these slots. There is no "typical" marihuana user, just as their is no typical American. The most notable statement that can be made about the vast majority of marihuana users-experimenters and intermittent users-is that they are essentially indistinguishable from their non-marihuana using peers by any fundamental criterion other than their marihuana use.

But if most users and non-users of marihuana essentially are indistinguishable, why have some people chosen to use the drug and others not, and why have some people continued to use it and others not? An important part of the explanation is that use of marihuana, like all human behavior, occurs within specific social and cultural settings. The individual's biological characteristics and personality probably play an important role in determining the pattern his use will take. However, the cultural and social setting play a larger role in determining whether be will use it at all.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the young person who chooses to use marihuana differs in some important sociological respects from his peer who does not choose to do so. These differences relate to his willingness to experiment with a drug, especially a forbidden one. in short, the process of becoming a marihuana user is not a " seduction of the, innocent" as is often portrayed. Based on interrelated familial, social and cultural factors, persons, especially young persons, who may choose to use marihuana can be predicted statistically.




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