Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Marihuana Use and Its Effects - Intermittent Users

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

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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