Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Social Impact of Marihuana Use - Dropping Down

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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National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Chapter III

Social Impact of marihuana use

Dropping Down

Apart from the concern over youthful dropping out and idleness, there is also widespread concern about "dropping down" or underachieving.

Parents frequently express fear that marihuana will undermine or interfere with academic and vocational career development and achievement by focusing youthful interests on the drug and those associated with the drug subculture. Some parents make considerable sacrifices for their children to go to school, and the fears that marihuana might undermine the academic, emotional and vocational development of their young are quite understandable.

The Commission reviewed a number of studies related to marihuana use by high school and college youth. No conclusive evidence was found demonstrating that marihuana by itself is responsible for academic or vocational failure or "dropping down," although it could be one of many contributory reasons. Many studies reported that the majority of young people who have used marihuana received average or above-average grades in school.

In part, underachievement is related to a view of what one individual judges to be the achievement capacity of another. This judgment is often made without concern for what the individual himself feels about his potential, his interests and his goals. Perceptions about achievement also frequently fail to take into consideration the individual feelings about the goals of his peers and the values of the larger society, including the relative prestige and status attached to various academic programs, occupations and professions.

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