Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding

Marihuana Use and Its Effects - EFFECTS RELATED TO PATTERN 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


Set out below is a brief summary of effects of marihuana, related to frequency and duration of use. The remainder of the Chapter discusses the effects of immediate, short-term, long-term and very long-term use of the drug.

Experimenters and

intermittent users ------ Little or no psychological dependence.

Influence on behavior related largely to

conditioning to drug use and its social

value to the user.

No organ injury demonstrable.

Moderate users ------------ Moderate psychological dependence in-

creasing with duration of use.

Behavioral effects minimal in stable per-

sonalities, greater in those with emo-

tional instability.

Probably little if any organ injury.

Duration of use increases probability of

escalation of all effects including shift

from moderate to heavy use.

Heavy users -------------- American "pot head."

Strong psychological dependence.

Detectable behavior changes.

Possible organ injury (chronic diminution of pulmonary function).

Effects more easily demonstrable with long-term use.

Very heavy users ---------- Users in countries where the use of cannabis has been indigenous for centuries.

Very strong psychological dependence to point of compulsive drug seeking and use.

Clear-cut behavioral changes.

Greater incidence of associated organ injury.

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