Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Marihuana and the Problem of Marihuana - Cultural Perspective

US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Table of Contents
I. Marihuana and the Problem of Marihuana
Origins of the Marihuana Problem
The Need for Perspective
Formulating Marihuana Policy
The Report
II. Marihuana Use and Its Effects
The Marihuana User
Profiles of Users
Becoming a Marihuana User
Becoming a Multidrug User
Effects of Marihuana on the User
Effects Related to Pattern Use
Immediate Drug Effects
ShortTerm Effects
Long Term Effects
Very Long Term Effects
III. Social Impact of Marihuana Use
IV. Social Response to Marihuana Use
V. Marihuana and Social Policy
Drugs in a Free Society
A Social Control Policy for Marihuana
Implementing the Discouragement Policy
A Final Comment
Ancillary Recommendations
Legal and Law Enforcement Recommendations
Medical Recommendations
Other Recommendations
Letter of Transmittal
Members and Staff
History of Marihuana Use: Medical and Intoxicant
II. Biological Effects of Marihuana
Botanical and Chemical Considerations
Factors Influencing Psychopharmacological Effect
Acute Effects of Marihuana (Delta 9 THC)
Effects of Short-Term or Subacute Use
Effects of Long-Term Cannabis Use
Investigations of Very Heavy Very Long-Term Cannabis Users
III. Marihuana and Public Safety
Marihuana and Crime
Marihuana and Driving
Marihuana - Public Health and Welfare
Assessment of Perceived Risks
Preventive Public Health Concerns
Marihuana and the Dominant Social Order
The World of Youth
Why Society Feels Threatened
The Changing Social Scene
Problems in Assessing the Effects of Marihuana
Marihuana and Violence
Marihuana and (Non-Violent) Crime
Summary and Conclusions: Marihuana and Crime
Marihuana and Driving
History of Marihuana Legislation
History of Alcohol Prohibition
History of Tobacco Regulation
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The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

I -- marihuana and the problem of marihuana



Realizing the importance of social change in understanding the issues surrounding the use of marihuana and other drugs, the Commission decided early that an objective appraisal of cultural trends was vital for the, development of policy recommendations. Since neither the increase in marihuana use nor its attendant controversy is an isolated phenomenon, we sought a wider cultural perspective. To this end, the Commission sponsored a wide-ranging seminar on "Central Influences on American Life." With the cooperation of the Council for Biology in Human Affairs of the Salk Institute, we elicited a three-day conversation among 13 exceptionally thoughtful and perceptive observers of American life.*

*The participants included Jacques Barzun, as moderator, Mary Bingham, Claude T. Bissell, Kenneth Boulding, Robert R. Bowie, Theodore Caplow, Jay W. Forrester, T. George Harris. Rollo May, Jay Saunders Redding, Jonas Salk, Ernest van den Haag, and Leroy S. Wehrle.

It is well beyond both our mandate and our competence to attempt a definitive presentation of the status of the American ethical system However, we shall try to suggest some of the more salient influence in our changing society, recognizing that only against the backdrop of society's fears, aspirations and values can a rational response to marihuana be formulated. Although we are not prepared to identify specific causal connections between these social trends and marihuana use, we do believe that some of the major points raised in the discussion of cultural change provide essential background in understanding the marihuana problem.

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