Subjective Benefits and Drawbacks of Marihuana and Alcohol
How can the broader spectrum of drug action be assessed in a way to determine the valence of effects of these agents from the standpoint of the user? We report here findings from a questionnaire that enumerated some of the reputed benefits and drawbacks of marihuana and alcohol and asked users which of these they agreed with, based on their own experience. This method is extremely naive in a sense, since behaviorists and psychoanalysts alike agree that it is futile to ask people why they do things. One reason is that what they say in different situations is often inconsistent. For example, there is evidence that people report their moods as more positive when they know the experimenter is trying to evaluate the effects of marihuana cigarettes smoked half an hour before (Mendelson, Rossi and Meyer, 1974), as compared to mood reports when the subject is unaware of the experimenter’s purpose. Even if people could give an accurate account of why they like things while unintoxicated, both marihuana (Darley, Tinklenberg, Roth, Hollister and Atkinson, 1973) and alcohol (Overton, 1972) distort the memory of what happened during intoxication. For example, alcoholics persist in saying that they expect alcohol to relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, while both of these moods are actually increased during experimental intoxication of alcoholics (Mello, 1972).
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Brady, J. P. Systematic desensitization. In W. S. Agras (Ed.), Behavioral modification: Principles and clinical applications. Boston: Little, Brown, 1972, 127–150.Google Scholar
- Chopra, I.C., & Chopra, R.N. The use of cannabis drugs in India. U.N. Bulletin on Narcotics, 1957, 9, 4–29.Google Scholar
- Evans, M.A., Martz, R., Brown, D.J., Rodda, B.E., Kiplinger, G.F., Lemberger, L., & Forney, R.B. Impairment of performance with low doses of marihuana. Clin, Pharmacol. Ther., 1973, 14, 936–940.Google Scholar
- Hollister, L. E. Chemical psychoses: LSD and related drugs. Springfield: C. Thomas, 1968.Google Scholar
- Mello, N.K. Behavioral studies of alcoholism. In B. Kissin & H. Begleiter (Eds.), The biology of alcoholism, Vol. 2: Physiology and behavior, New York: Plenum Press, 1972, 219–291.Google Scholar
- Mendelson, J.H., Rossi, A.M., & Meyer, R.E. The use of marihuana: A psychological and physiological inquiry. New York: Plenum Press, 1974.Google Scholar
- Naranjo, C. The healing journey: New approaches to consciousness. New York: Ballantine Books, 1973.Google Scholar
- Overton, D.A. State-dependent learning produced by alcohol and its relevance to alcoholism. In B. Kissin & H. Begleiter (Eds.), The biology of alcoholism, Vol. 2: Physiology and behavior. New York: Plenum Press, 1972, 193–217.Google Scholar
- Rouse, B.A., & Ewing, J.A. Marihuana and other drug use by graduate and professional students. Amer. J. Psychiatry, 1972, 129, 415–420.Google Scholar
- Rouse, B. A., & Ewing, J.A. Marihuana and other drug use by women college students. Amer. J. Psychiatry, 1973, 130, 486–491.Google Scholar
- Rubin, V., & Comitas, L. Ganja in Jamaica: A medical anthropological study of chronic marihuana use. The Hague: Mouton, 1975.Google Scholar
- Tart, C.T. On being stoned: A psychological study of marijuana intoxication. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books, 1971.Google Scholar
- Weil, A.T. The natural mind. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972.Google Scholar