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|Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy|
|Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - Table of Contents|
Factors Influencing Psychopharmacological Effect
Smith and Mehl's (1970) clinical observations of many marihuana smokers suggest a
J-shaped time curve of tolerance to marihuana. A novice marihuana smoker often reports
feeling no high or requiring considerably more drug to get high on his first few trials
with the drug than after he obtains more experience with the drug. This phenomenon has
been called "reverse tolerance." These clinicians believed this represented
"learning to get high" or acquiring the ability to appreciate or become
sensitive to the subtle aspects of the intoxication.
Goode (1971) found that more frequent and term marihuana smokers tend to require fewer "joints" to get high but differences were not statistically significant.
Weil et al. (1968) reported that experienced users of marihuana achieved a "high" after being given the same dose as naive (non-users) persons who did not experience a high but did demonstrate objective physiologic and psychomotor drug effects.
Meyer et al. (1971) found that heavy marihuana, users (daily for three years) were most sensitive to the "high" and required less marihuana to achieve a social high than infrequent intermittent users (use one to four times per month for less than two years).
Phillips et al. (1971) reported an increase in severity of symptoms after repeated administration of THC to rats. This "sensitization" may be a correlate of reverse tolerance.
Lemberger et al. (1971) supplied additional evidence for reverse tolerance based on the intravenous administration of 0.5 mg of THC to experimental subjects. Naive subjects experienced no effect from this small dose. However, daily marihuana users, who were told they were receiving a non-pharmacologically active dose of THC, reported a "marihuana high," which lasted up to 90 minutes.
Lemberger et al. (1971, 1972) and Mechoulam (1970) suggested the possibility that enzymes necessary to convert THC to a more active compound require prior use of marihuana.
Reverse tolerance appears to be a complex phenomenon. Jones (1971) presented evidence which stressed the importance of expectation, setting and prior drug experience on learning to get "high." As the user gains more experience with marihuana, the more the individual's mind is able to respond to the expectation of the "high" by actually becoming high when given an inert material which smells and looks like marihuana.
Weil (1971) believes that the capacity to get "high" is an inherent characteristic of each individual's mind. He, believes that marihuana facilitates the user's abilitv to achieve this altered state of consciousness, that is, learn how to get high.
Mendelson et al. (1972) did not find evidence for reverse tolerance. In fact, the daily
users were more likely than the intermittent users to smoke two cigarettes per occasion.
Both groups had had an average of five years of marihuana use. Several other investigators
did not obtain any evidence of reverse tolerance after repetitive daily use in experienced
subjects (Hollister, 1971; Schuster and Renault, 1971; Fink et al., 1971).
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Major Studies of Drug and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Licit and Illicit Drugs
Short History of the Marijuana Laws
The Drug Hang-Up
Congressional Transcripts of the Hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Frequently Asked Questions About Drugs
Basic Facts About the Drug War
Charts and Graphs about Drugs
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Guide to Heroin - Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin
LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
Drugs and Driving
Children and Drugs
Drug Abuse Treatment Resource List
American Society for Action on Pain
Let Us Pay Taxes
Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
Legal References on Drugs
GAO Documents on Drugs
Response to the Drug Enforcement Agency
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