Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Marihuana Use and Its Effects - The Marihuana User

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

The Marihuana User

Cannabis has been used widely for many centuries in nonindustrialized countries of Asia and Africa. Today, as in earlier years, use of drug is concentrated primarily among lower socioeconomic groups. in these countries, the practice is estimated to be confined to a tenth of the lower socioeconomic, male population. Although such use of the drug is well-established, it offers little direct comparison with the American experience.

Although the commercial, industrial and therapeutic value of the hemp plant was widely recognized and exploited in the United States from the earliest days of its history, knowledge and use of its intoxicating and psychoactive properties remained largely unknown until about 1900.

At that time, the custom of smoking marihuana was generally limited to groups of Mexican itinerant workers in the border states of the Southwest. By 1910, marihuana use began to emerge in other southern states and cities, particularly New Orleans, and in the port cities along the Mississippi River. In time, these cities became distribution centers for enterprising sailors. From there, marihuana use spread cross-country to other urban centers, mining camps, railroad construction sites, farm labor camps, "bohemian" communities of artists and jazz musicians, and various other groups outside the mainstream of American society.

Recently, of course, use of the drug has spread to young, white, middle class groups and especially to high school and college populations.


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