Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Marihuana Use and Its Effects - Patterns of Use

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.

Chapter II

marihuana use and its effects

Patterns of Use

The drug effect of marihuana can be realistically discussed only within the context of who the user is, how long he has used marihuana, how much and how frequently he uses it, and the, social setting of his use.

In general, for virtually any drug, the heavier the pattern of use, the greater the risk of either direct or indirect damage. For purposes of this discussion, the patterns of use developed in the first section of this chapter will be utilized. Because frequency of use is presently the, primary determinant of use patterns in this country, we employ similar designations:

(1) The experimenter who uses marihuana, at most a few times over a short term and then generally ceases to use it, or uses once a month or less;

(2) The intermittent user who uses marihuana, infrequently, that is more than once monthly but less than several times a week;

(3) The moderate user who uses it from several times a week to once daily, generally over a long term;

(4) The heavy user who uses it several times a day over a long term and;

(5) The very heavy user who is constantly intoxicated with high tetrahydrocannabinol content preparations, usually hashish, over a very long term.

Again, these classifications are not intended to be rigid but are designed to facilitate a discussion of the many usage patterns.

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