Cultural Psychology

On the Responsible Use of Cannabis

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With recent events in Colorado, it seems likely that the trend to liberalization of cannabis laws will continue, and perhaps at a rapid pace.

Advocates of cannabis decriminalization have, understandably, tended to minimize the genuine danger of cannabis abuse.  While not physically addictive, clearly cannabis has the potential to create psychological dependence — that is, for people to use it excessively as a crutch or escape, etc.

When I visited the Dutch ‘coffeeshops’, one thing that impressed me is that with each sale of cannabis they distributed a small brochure containing Tips for Sensible Use of marijuana and hashish.  The idea of getting vendors involved in preventing abuse or misuse of cannabis seems particularly sound: the more the cannabis community regulates itself, the less need there is for laws and external regulation.

These brochures were produced by the Dutch Trimbos Institute. The following are 10 rules for sensible based on these brochures.


Tips:  Marijuana and Hashish

What You Know | What You Don’t Know!

For centuries, throughout the world people from various cultures have used marijuana and hashish. But just like other substances, usage is not without risk. Here are some tips for sensible use.

Both marijuana and hashish are derived from the cannabis plant. The main active substance is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Its effects last for from 2 to 4 hours. Cannabis usually makes people feel relaxed. Some people become talkative under its influence, others more withdrawn. Some become more active, others calmer. Cannabis also contains cannabidiol (CBD), which  is experienced as producing relaxation, and many other cannabinoids.  Effects of cannabis vary from one strain to another.

1. Different kinds of marijuana and hashish can vary considerably in potency. Make sure you are well informed about this by cannabis shop staff.

2. Never sell the cannabis you buy, and especially not to minors under the age of 18. Among other things, this could lead to the closure of “your” cannabis shop.

3. Recreational cannabis is meant to be enjoyed and not to remove stress or make you feel more sure of yourself. You won’t solve problems by smoking a joint.

4. Cannabis and hashish can negatively affect your memory and powers of concentration. Don’t use them before school or going to work.

5. Cannabis can affect your reaction speed, so you should not drive. You will have a greater risk of accident and pose a potential hazard to yourself and others.

6. Alcohol in combination with cannabis or hashish is a poor choice.

7. When a joint is smoked, harmful substances are released, such as tar and carbon monoxide. It is therefore not a good idea to inhale deeply or for long periods. In fact, you won’t need to, because the active substances in cannabis are rapidly absorbed by the lungs.

8. Don’t smoke cannabis during pregnancy or if you have mental health problems. If you use other medications, consult your physician.

9. Cannabis can sometimes make you feel bad. You might feel nauseous, anxious, or paranoid. If this happens, don’t panic: find a quiet spot and eat or drink something sweet. The worst will be over in an hour.

10. There’s more to life than pot!  It’s better not to use recreational cannabis every day.  To avoid psychological dependence, don’t use for seven days in a row.


Written by John Uebersax

January 14, 2014 at 4:26 pm

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