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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Charles T. Tart-On Being Stoned-A Psychological Study of Marijuana Intoxication (A)


On Being Stoned
  A Psychological Study of Marijuana Intoxication

    Charles T. Tart, Ph. D.

 

  Contents

          Foreword by Walter N. Pahnke
          A Fable
          Introduction
          A Note to the Non-Scientist Reader

Part I: Studying Marijuana Intoxication
    1.   Marijuana
    2.   The Nature of Drug-Induced
            States of Consciousness
    3.   Method of Study
    4.   One Hundred and Fifty
            Experienced Marijuana Users
    5.   Methods of Analysis

Part II: Phenomenology of Marijuana
  Intoxication
    6.   Vision
    7.   Hearing
    8.   Touch, Temperature, Taste, and Smell
    9.   Space and Time
  10.   Ostensible Paranormal Phenomena (ESP)
  11.   The Body
  12.   Social Interaction
  13.   Sexuality
  14.   Cognitive Processes: Memory
  15.   Cognitive Processes: Thought
  16.   Emotions
  17.   Control
  18.   Identity
  19.   Spiritual Experiences
  20.   Sleep and Dreams
  21.   "Desirable" and "Undesirable" Effects
  22.   Aftereffects
  23.   Miscellaneous Effects

Part III: Relationships
  24.   Levels of Intoxication
  25.   Experience in Using Drugs
  26.   Meditation and Growth
  27.   Age, Sex, and Educational Level
  28.   Alcohol and Marijuana
  29.   More Powerful Psychdelics (LSD) and Marijuana
  30.   Factor Analysis: Dimensions of Intoxication
  31.   Summary

          Appendix A: Effects of More Powerful Psychedelic Drugs
          Appendix B: Questionnaire Used in This Study
          References


On Being Stoned  ©1971 by Science and Behavior Books
Published by Science and Behavior Books, Palo Alto, California
ISBN 0-8314-0027-7
On Being Stoned appears in The Psychedelic Library by permission of the Author
==========================

 Foreword



    THE RESEARCH reported in this book is both innovative and relevant. At a time in our culture when there is a growing concern about drug abuse among the young, and the use of marijuana is increasing more than it ever has in our country's history, it is fortunate that someone has seriously attempted to investigate the psychological and subjective effects of marijuana. This book should prove valuable for the interested layman who is curious about such effects and also for the scientist who may be stimulated to carry the results of this research further.
    It is important for anyone to note before reading this book that the content is a careful study of the personal experience encountered when marijuana is used. This important fact sets this book apart from those primarily dealing with the pharmacology, medical implications, social desirability/undesirability, or the legal problems of marijuana, and is the very reason that Dr. Tart's approach breaks new ground in this controversial area. His method has been quite simple and straightforward, yet it is one which has too long been ignored in modern behavioristic psychology in a misguided attempt to be "scientific" by avoiding subjective experience. Dr. Tart has asked persons who themselves have used marijuana what different kinds of experiences they have had. His instrument has been a carefully constructed questionnaire that has proved to be extremely useful in gathering a very large amount of data from the persons who should know best what the experience is like—those who have actually taken the drug. The personal account of the subject cannot be ignored despite some imprecision in measurement. Each individual person may use his own standards for interpreting the experience or measuring the intensity, but there is no substitute for a report by the person who has been there. Indeed, this experiential aspect of the effect, especially with psychedelic drugs, may in the long run prove to be the most valuable. Far more important than laboratory conditions far removed from the actual social usage of marijuana is what happens to the person in his own consciousness, how he interprets this, and how it influences his actual life.
    Another reason this book is a valuable contribution to our knowledge about marijuana is that it helps to answer a very important question often not even asked by many who are the most concerned about marijuana usage. This question is: Why do so many otherwise law-abiding people risk their freedom and reputation to use this illegal drug? The data in this book show consistent agreement that most of the subjective experiences reported by users—for example, sensory intensification of musical appreciation, gustatory enjoyment, and sexual activity—are extremely pleasurable. Dr. Tart has attempted to establish a subjective scale to help quantify such effects. Because pleasure is the reason most people use the drug, it should certainly be studied and not ignored in research on the effects of marijuana.
    From a strictly scientific point of view, this research has great value by opening up new questions that are researchable. Once it has been established that certain types of subjective experience do in fact occur consistently, psychophysiological correlates can be measured, such as various EEG brain waves, pulse, blood pressure, and skin potential. Some of the positive effects reported might have practical clinical application, such as stimulation of appetite, decrease in depression, enhancement of refreshing sleep, and certain types of problem solving. Hopefully, Dr. Tart's work will stimulate future research to test these hypotheses.
    Dr. Tart's pioneering effort points the way toward the future in other ways as well. This book is a creative step forward in better understanding the range of human consciousness. The method of studying actual subjective experience is an indispensable tool for future research into altered states of consciousness. There are important implications not only for the effects of marijuana, but also for research in hypnosis, sensory isolation, EEG feedback, and the major psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. In the next twenty years there will certainly be a growing interest in altered states of consciousness triggered by all these approaches. It is important to remember that the experience, and not the technique, is what will motivate this interest. Better understanding of the effects of marijuana may lead to other methods, perhaps safer and less objectionable from a legal standpoint, for achieving similar effects.
    This book should make an important contribution to man's seemingly irresistible urge to explore his own consciousness. Twenty years from now its value can be assessed from the perspective of the research that will follow. I would guess that Dr. Tart's work will be judged to have had considerable influence.
Walter N. Pahnke, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of Clinical Sciences
Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

  A Fable



    ONCE UPON A TIME, not so very long ago, there was a rich and powerful Kingdom called Middle America. It was progressive and beautiful, and its people were a contented lot.
    The Kingdom was surrounded on three sides by (almost) impassable mountains, and on the fourth by a broad river perpetually shrouded with dense fog. There were legends that some citizens, called Travelers, had gone to places "outside" the Kingdom, but the solid citizens considered these as tall tales or crazy things; all that one needed was in the Kingdom, so why would anyone want to go "outside," even if such a thing were possible and safe?
    The King and his Government took a more serious view, and long ago made Traveling unlawful because it was Dangerous. Special Constables policed the boundaries of the Kingdom.
    For many years some of the impoverished citizens and outcasts had talked of Traveling to a land called Muggles, which they claimed was on the other side of the Foggy River; but these poor citizens were simply thrown in prison by the Constables, and nobody cared very much about them.
    Then as time went on, more and more citizens talked about the joys of Traveling to the land of Muggles, and these citizens were Merchants, Princes, Solicitors, Tradesmen, and, especially, the Young. More Constables were hired, and the Ministers of the government warned the populace of the menace of Traveling; but still more and more citizens traveled.
    Great outcries arose from the good citizens for something to be done. Some cried out that Traveling to Muggles was a menace that was sapping the strength of the Kingdom. Others cried out that those who traveled were sick in their minds and should be helped, whether they wanted help or not. Some, who claimed to be Travelers, raised their voices and said it was a good thing to travel to the land of Muggles. Some said it was not the King's business whether a citizen traveled to Muggles or not.
    In the midst of the Confusion and Outcry, some thoughtful citizens asked, "What say our Scholars? What can we make of this Traveling? How can we understand those who say it is Good and those who say it is Bad? How can we wisely spend the Kingdom's gold to Do Something when we are confused as to what is happening?"
    The Scholars looked at their books and their papers, and quarreled among themselves. Some books said that Traveling to Muggles was Bad, and the Doctors wrote of sick people they had treated who had been to Muggles at one time or another. Some books said that it was Good, Ineffable, Beautiful, and the Ultimate Truth. Some books about Traveling to Muggles, written by citizens who had been there once or twice, were clearly Confused. Other books were clearly written by crazy people. Artists wrote of the paintings of Muggles. Philosophers wrote of the sublime philosophy of Muggles, but did not mention the paintings. Religious people wrote of the teachings of Muggles, but did not mention the paintings. What could one make of this? Perhaps the Crazies were mainly writing about craziness, the Philosophers mainly about philosophy, the Religious about teachings, and no one was saying much about Muggles at all?
    As the outcry of the citizens rose higher, the King's Ministers dispensed gold to the Scholars, and commanded them to find out the Real Truth about Traveling to Muggles.
    Now as any man knows, there are Scholars and Scholars. Some did one thing with their gold, others did other things.
    The school of Scholars most in power at that time was known as the Externalist School. They knew that men may lie, and so reasoned that what a man says is of little importance, but what he does is Hard Data The means of Traveling to Muggles was to immerse oneself in the Foggy River. As "swimming" was unknown in the Kingdom, this seemed an insane act that might lead to drowning; but the Scholars of the Externalist School set out to study it in their Laboratories. Skilled Craftsmen constructed large tanks, which were filled with water from the Foggy River. Ordinary citizens (those who claimed to have traveled to Muggles were considered too biased to use) were held under the water for various times and their behavior observed. Short immersions had little effect, but longer immersions caused Wild Movements, Increased Respiration, and Strange Sounds. Thus the Externalist Scholars produced the Hard Data on what Traveling to Muggles did to people.
    Some said, "This is certainly true, but why do citizens risk the wrath of the constables for this? Perhaps there is more Truth to be found elsewhere?"
    A few Scholars of other schools used experienced Travelers in their tanks of water and found very different results, but theirs is a minor tale, as there were so few of them.
    This book is the work of a Scholar of Another School who believed that while men could lie, many men would also try to tell the Truth as best they could. He read the books of the Scholars and talked with many experienced Travelers, and asked himself " What could we find out if many experienced Travelers to the land of Muggles were all asked the same questions, instead of letting each talk only of the things he loves?" So he tested many experienced Travelers, and, after eliminating those few who readily told bizarre stories, he found there was Meaningfulness in what they said Now this Scholar has made a Map of the whole land of Muggles, so perhaps new Royal Expeditions and Studies can find their way to the Important Places in Muggles and bring back Knowledge and, perhaps, Riches.


   Introduction



    I have long been impressed with the need so many people seem to have of occasionally altering their state of consciousness, of radically changing the way in which their minds function. Alcohol, prayer, meditation, sacred dances, fasting, revivals, hypnosis, drugs—these and many other techniques have all been used by people in various cultures for pleasure and insight, worship and diversion, work and healing. Yet practically all of our science and philosophy is based on what seems sensible to our ordinary state of mind, and the existence of these other states is largely ignored by being relegated to the realms of the abnormal and the illogical. It is only in the last few years that psychologists and other scientists have begun to pay serious attention to altered states of consciousness and to ask questions about what they are like, how they affect behavior, what function they have for the individual and his culture, and how they might supplement traditional methods of gaining knowledge.
    In spite of the attention now starting to be focused on altered states of consciousness, we know very, very little about most of them.
    When I began focusing my researches on altered states of consciousness some years ago, I found myself in a similar position to the scholar of the fable, who wanted to know about the land of Muggles.* It was clear that the mind could indeed function in non-ordinary ways, but beyond that fact things were not so clear. Some "travelers" told consistent stories about some of the states of consciousness they had experienced, and I could feel certain enough about them to plan "expeditions," research projects to investigate some aspect of that state in detail. For other states, the tales were wild and improbable, inconsistent, and clearly reflecting whatever ax the particular traveler had to grind.
    The literature on marijuana was especially confusing. Even when it purported to be medical or scientific literature, much of it was full of propaganda, pro or con. Lurid individual tales of marijuana intoxication contradicted the laboratory studies of its effects. For reasons detailed in Chapter 2, the individual anecdotes were often hopelessly confused by the personalities of the writers, and the conditions of the laboratory studies were so unusual as to have no applicability to the ordinary use of marijuana. How could I profitably explore particular features of this strange country of marijuana intoxication when the overall map of the landscape was so confused and useless? I might expend great effort on what was truly a trivial feature.
    The study described in this book is an attempt to get an overall look at marijuana intoxication as it occurs in the ordinary world (insofar as California and America represent the ordinary world!). What happens to the minds of experienced users when they smoke marijuana? What do they experience? What are the frequent and infrequent, important and unimportant experiences? How do they relate to how "high" or "stoned" the user is? Are they affected by his overall drug experience his educational background, etc.? Knowing these general effects—the overall lay of the land—then we can concentrate our research efforts on the important aspects of marijuana intoxication.
    The study that gathered this information is, as far as I know, unique in its approach. Staying with our analogy, I treated experienced marijuana users as explorers of the marijuana state and then systematically collected, compared, and analyzed their reports. Since it is an initial attempt at this sort of thing, it can be done in an even better fashion a second time around, and, ordinarily, I would like to have repeated the study with improvements before publishing this report.
    But the times are not ordinary, and so I am publishing this without waiting for the replication that would make the figures a little more precise and eliminate an occasional mistake in the effects of some background factors. A certain amount of justifiable technical criticism will result and, hopefully, will help myself or others to carry out an improved version of this study. Because the times are not ordinary, however, I suspect a great deal of a-rational criticism of this book will also occur. Marijuana is not a subject being discussed in intellectual isolation, emotions about its use are heated, both pro and con, to put it mildly. Pressures to change existing laws are very high, and legislators ask for scientific studies of the effects of marijuana to base such changes on, so every study on this subject receives a great deal of partisan criticism or acclamation in addition to the usual scientific scrutiny. To those with a fixed position that marijuana use is harmful and marijuana users are deviates or mentally ill escapists of some sort, this book will be unwelcome. I have not argued for or against the legalization of marijuana, but the effects that experienced users describe are generally very interesting and pleasant. Thus some critics will see the tone of the book as "pro-pot," even though I have attempted to be neutral and simply describe results.
    I am presenting this study, then, because the subject of marijuana intoxication is so important today and because the information contained herein will answer many questions about what it is like to be high on marijuana (and, therefore, why people use it) in a way that no other current studies will. Too, my knowledge of what most of the studies being funded by various agencies are like indicates that there are no studies going on now which will provide better answers to these questions. I regret to say that most of the new studies going on are subject to many of the same criticisms that make the older ones irrelevant to the real world, as discussed in Chapter 2.
    Because of the importance of the subject and the uniqueness of this approach, I think this book will be useful or informative to three different audiences. First, researchers may use these findings as a guide to profitable research. Second, people who are curious about what being stoned on marijuana is like but who do not use it themselves—parents, educators, physicians, legislators—will be able to get a good picture of what it is like and why people use marijuana in spite of the legal penalties. Third, marijuana users themselves will be able to compare their personal experience with that of users in general, with the result, according to many of the users who contributed to this study, that they will be able to experience more effects and acquire more control over their state.**
    Again I stress that this is basically a scientific book; I have attempted to present objectively descriptions of what experienced users feel about marijuana intoxication, without arguing for or against marijuana use or letting my own feelings about marijuana distort the writing. I have feelings, of course. My own survey of the scientific and other literature puts me in agreement with Kaplan (1970) that the known dangers of marijuana use are very small, while the known social cost of the present legal structure—branding millions of Americans criminals, clogging the courts with victimless crimes, creating disrespect for the law among the young, and enforcing the laws at huge expense—is tremendously high. Thus I see some form of legalization-under-control of marijuana as socially desirable. I have, however, attempted to keep these personal feelings completely out of the book.
    A tremendous amount of data is contained in this book. Although I have checked the manuscript against the computer data printouts in several ways to eliminate error and inconsistency, the sheer size of the undertaking makes it inevitable that an occasional error or inconsistency may be apparent to the diligent reader. I would appreciate his writing me about any such inconsistencies, so they may be corrected in a subsequent printing.
    This study could not have been carried out except for the assistance of a number of people in the data collection, analysis, and write-up stages, all of whom I wish to thank; namely, Joan Crawford, Lois Dick, Dee Kindelt, Carl Klein, Arthur Hastings, Wanda Meyer, Mary Moore, Donna Sedgwick, Marlene Shinazy, Penny Smail, and my wife Judy. This research was supported by the United States Public Health Service grant MH16-810. All opinions expressed in this book are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the above people or the Public Health Service.

Footnotes

    *"Muggles" was one of the slang terms for marijuana when it was first introduced into this country in the 1930s.
    **Because readers of these last two types are sometimes put off by numbers and statistics, I have disposed of all these complexities in a page of explanation following this section.




 A Note to the Non-Scientist Reader



    In order to conveniently present exact findings to the researchers who read this book, there are lots of parentheses filled with numbers and simple statistics.
    If you aren't interested in the exact findings, or if numbers and statistics turn you off, there's a simple way to avoid any problem: ignore them. Everything has been written in plain English, and the numbers confined to parentheses for just this reason!
    If, on the other hand, you haven't a formal background in statistics but would like to know what the probability figures in the parentheses (such as "p < .05") mean, it all boils down to this: how do you know when a difference in the way two groups of people answer a question is a meaningful, significant difference, and how do you know when it results only from the random variation you get whenever you deal with people's responses?
    You never know for certain which is which, but a statistical test is an objective way of being reasonably sure, one way or the other. Statistical tests use the known mathematical properties of numbers to let you decide when a difference is probably due to chance, and when a difference is so large that chance seems unlikely. The exact mathematics aren't of interest to the general reader, but only the outcome, the probability figure. If the outcome of a particular test could have happened by chance only five or fewer times in a hundred trials (conventionally expressed in this book as p<.05, probability equal to or less than 5/100),* we begin to doubt that this is chance variation. It probably represents a real difference between the groups. If the probability is even smaller that the outcome is due to chance, say less than one in a hundred (p < .01) or less than one in a thousand (p < .001), we can feel quite certain that we are dealing with real, important differences.**
    Thus in this book the lower the probability figure in parentheses, the greater the difference between the groups being compared.

Footnotes

    *More exactly, the sign should be [less than or equal to] rather than simply <, but this simplification will be used throughout the text.
    **Statistical tables available to me only go up to the .0005 level. When I use the notation p << .0005, the difference is even more significant; when I use p <<< .0005, it issupersignificant. For the technically minded, I use p << .0005 when chi square is greater than or equal to 50, and p <<< .0005 when chi square is greater than or equal to 100, with four degrees of freedom in each case.


   Chapter 1.    Marijuana



    ONE OF THE MOST persistent and unusual aspects of human behavior, observable in all cultures and through all of history, is man's dissatisfaction with his ordinary state of consciousness and the consequent development of innumerable methods for altering it. Our normal pattern of thought and feeling, useful in many ways, never seems to be enough for some people.
    The reasons for this search for better states of consciousness are many, ranging from desires for greater knowledge to religious, hedonistic, and power motives. The belief that our ordinary state of consciousness is of only utilitarian value and not suitable for insights into basic questions about the meaning of life has been one of the most important motives. Some men have been successful in achieving higher states of consciousness; others have failed. Techniques have been innumerable: religious ceremonies, meditation, hypnosis, self-hypnosis, asceticism, fasting, dancing, yoga exercises, and drugs, to name a few. Some of the men who have succeeded in altering their state of consciousness, such as the Buddha, are revered by hundreds of millions of people. Others have been outcasts of society or considered insane because their views were too different from those of their contemporaries. Still others have gone truly insane in the course of their search.
    Our scientific understanding of altered states of consciousness is minuscule in comparison with what we do not know and the importance of these states. (For a survey of the scientific literature on them, see Tart, 1969.)
    Drugs have been an important means of inducing altered states of consciousness throughout history. Cultures have embraced or rejected this means. Proponents have touted it as the shortcut to enlightenment, while critics, both ordinary men and those considered spiritual giants, have called it an escape, a pseudo-enlightenment.
    Our culture today is one of the most drug-oriented cultures in history; we go by the millions to our doctor (or our dealer) for pills to pep us up, calm us down, wake us up, put us to sleep, relax our tensions, make us forget, or enlighten us. As a whole our cultural attitudes toward drugs are irrational to the point of absurdity. We mightily praise some drugs whose detrimental effects are enormous and well known, such as alcohol, and condemn other drugs about which we know very little. Scientific knowledge about drugs has generally been of little consequence in affecting social attitudes and usage.
    This book is an attempt to broaden our knowledge about one of the most widely used and poorly understood drugs in our culture today, marijuana.

THE PLANT

    Marijuana is the term given to preparations of the flowering tops, leaves, seeds, and/or stems of the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis sativa L. The preparation, for eating or smoking, is commonly called marijuana, marihuana, Mary Jane, hemp, pot, grass, shit, and dope, with usage depending on fashions and subcultures.
    Cannabis sativa grows wild all over the world and is a very hardy plant. It is extensively cultivated in many areas, and research of optimal techniques of cultivation has been extensive (Drake, 1970). The plant is desired for its fibers, which are used for rope, as well as for its drug value. Attempts to increase fiber content and decrease drug content of the plant by mutation have succeeded only in increasing the drug content (Warmke & Davidson, 1941-43, 1942-43, 1943-44).
    The drug potency of the plant depends on the particular strain of plant, cultivation techniques, soil, and climate. Different parts of the plant have different concentrations of the drug. Much of the marijuana generally available in the United States today is what is called in India bhang, and is the least potent mixture, made from poor quality plants or from the lower leaves of better plants. Stems and seeds are generally separated out from marijuana by users, as they contain practically none of the desirable ingredients of marijuana. The seeds are also widely reputed to contain substances that induce headaches if smoked.
    A more potent grade of marijuana, termed ganja in India, consists of the flowering tops and upper leaves of carefully bred plants. The most potent marijuana preparation, generally termed hashish or, colloquially, hash (charas in India), consists only of the sticky resin scraped from the tops of mature and carefully bred plants.
    Hashish is often treated as a separate drug, but there is no good scientific evidence to indicate that it is chemically different. By virtue of its containing far more active ingredients by volume, however, the user either can get intoxicated with much less hashish than ordinary marijuana or can get more intoxicated by using an equal amount. Whenever I refer to marijuana effects in this book, I am including those of hashish.

Techniques of Use

    Marijuana is eaten or smoked. Most American users prefer smoking because (1) less marijuana is required for a given degree of intoxication; (2) effects begin within a few minutes after smoking and end within three or four hours, as compared to an hour or more for onset and a duration of six to twelve hours when eaten; (3) more precise control of the level of intoxication is possible, as the user can stop smoking when the desired level is reached; and (4) more aftereffects and unpleasant effects are associated with eating marijuana because of the possibility of overdose. Smoking is done by making a cigarette (commonly called a joint or reefer) or by using a pipe, often a waterpipe to reduce the harshness of the smoke. The smoke is held in the lungs as long as possible to maximize absorption.

Active Ingredient(s)

    Marijuana is a complex substance and has long resisted analysis as to its active ingredients. The reader interested in the chemistry and pharmacology of marijuana should see Mechoulam (1970) and Wolstenholme (1965).
    In the last few years one of the major active ingredients has been identified and named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).[1] Human subjects given synthesized THC under laboratory conditions report many effects similar to those reported for natural marijuana, and a number of workers feel that THC may be the only active ingredient in marijuana. Numerous studies of the effects of synthetic THC on animals and humans are being funded by the federal government. Experienced users, however, insist that different samples of marijuana differ somewhat in qualitative as well as quantitative effects; some marijuana has a much stronger sedative effect, some tends to make people very silly, and so on. This suggests that there are other active ingredients than THC in marijuana, and research should not concentrate too exclusively on THC, in spite of the pharmacological and medical convenience of working with a pure drug instead of a natural mixture (Weil, 1969).

Pharmacology

    Little is understood of the chemical fate of marijuana once it is absorbed into the human body. Older research with marijuana extracts on animals, the usual method of establishing basic pharmacological information, has been fraught with methodological difficulties. Many physiological effects appear in animals that do not appear in humans, species differ markedly from one another, and different individuals of the same species often show opposite effects. It is not known whether the dosages used were really comparable to those used by humans. Ongoing research with synthetic THC may begin to add to our knowledge, but at present we know practically nothing about the pharmacological action of marijuana.

PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS ON HUMANS

    The most striking thing that can be said about the physiological effects of marijuana on humans is that there are practically no observable effects of consequence. Weil, Zinberg, and Nelson (1968) found that marijuana increases heart rate somewhat and causes a dilation of conjunctival blood vessels (somewhat bloodshot-looking eyes). They found no evidence of dilated pupils, even though law enforcement officers typically use this as a test for intoxication.
    Marijuana seems to be a rather unique drug in having such profound psychological effects with virtually no readily observable physiological changes.

Effects on Human Performance

    The performance capabilities of intoxicated users have been investigated in a number of older studies, but because of methodological shortcomings, discussed fully in Chapter 2, they have yielded little reliable information.
    Two recent studies, both methodologically very good, found essentially no measurable changes in performance. Crancer and his colleagues (1969) tested experienced users for performance in a driving simulator. When intoxicated on marijuana, they were not significantly different in overall performance than under control (non-intoxicated) conditions, although there were significantly more speedometer errors. Speedometer errors have not been found to correlate with actual driving performance in normal drivers, however. When the same subjects were intoxicated on alcohol, they made large numbers of errors on almost all aspects of the driving simulation tests.
    Weil and his colleagues (1968) found that experienced marijuana users showed no significant losses in performance on some simple motor and intellectual tasks; indeed, they sometimes showed a slight improvement when intoxicated. Naive subjects who had not smoked marijuana before the laboratory experiment did not get "high," i.e., felt none or few of the experiential effects of marijuana, but showed significant impairments on a variety of tasks.
    I doubt that alterations of simple sensory and motor tasks will be found associated with marijuana intoxication. Subtle alterations may be found by sophisticated analyses, such as Weil and Zinberg (1969) found for speech patterns, but the effects of marijuana seem to be primarily on the more complex intellectual functions, as detailed in this book. These are probably detectable only by asking users about them and/or by administering psychological tests, which are sensitive to complex alterations of mental functioning.

Psychological Effects

    In one sense this entire book is a description of the psychological effects of marijuana intoxication, so no attempt will be made to deal with them in this introduction.

Addiction

    An addicting drug, such as heroin, generally requires the user to continually increase his dosage because of the tolerance he builds up to the drug, produces acute distress if the user does not get his dose at the regular time, and produces extreme distress, which can result in death or severe withdrawal symptoms, if the drug is completely taken away from the user.
    Much nonsense has been promulgated in the past by narcotics agencies and medical groups about the addicting properties of marijuana. There is no evidence of addiction. Emphasis today is laid on the fact that marijuana produces a "psychological dependence." This is a nonsensical use of the English language, for psychological dependence simply means that people tend to repeat enjoyable experiences.
    Experienced users can stop using marijuana at any time with no distress or physiological symptoms. Once they learn how to get intoxicated, they require less, not more, marijuana.
    Occasional users who are mentally ill may use excessive amounts of marijuana or become temporarily dependent on it, but this says something about mental illness rather than marijuana.
    Similarly, no reliable evidence exists that marijuana use causes users to try dangerous narcotics like heroin. Persons predisposed to narcotic addiction become addicted whether or not they have used marijuana. The vast majority of marijuana users never get involved with narcotics, even though the need to deal with pushers, who may also sell narcotics, gives them ample opportunity.

LEGAL STATUS OF MARIJUANA

    The possession of marijuana or its extracts is a serious offense in every state of the United States and its territories. Penalties vary widely from state to state. Although reform movements are under way, the prescribed penalties in many states are still extremely harsh. Years of imprisonment are frequently mandatory for the possession of the smallest detectable amounts of marijuana.
    Penalties for selling or giving away marijuana are even more severe. Since many users also buy marijuana as a favor for their friends, they are generally liable to these higher penalties.
    The actual structure of the laws is exceptionally complex, and some will be changed shortly. By far the best review of existing laws and their social consequences has been made by Kaplan in his recent book, Marijuana, the New Prohibition (1970). Smith's (1970) book also contains excellent discussions of the social issues revolving around marijuana use.

EXTENT OF USE

    In spite of the severe penalties attached to possession and sale of marijuana, use today is very widespread. Given the sorts of pleasurable effects reported later in this book, it seems likely that use will continue to increase.
    No definite survey of incidence of use can be made because there is always a (realistic) tendency of wary users to deny their use. Nevertheless, a large number of surveys of drug use on college campuses have been made (Kaplan, 1970; Pearlman, 1968). It is now a rare college campus that does not have a significant number of marijuana users and on many campuses users themselves estimate over 50 percent of the students use marijuana occasionally, primarily at social events. An unpublished study that I carried out in collaboration with one of my graduate students, Carl Klein, found that from 1967 to 1968 the percentage of students who used marijuana at a conservative West Coast university doubled, and various formal and informal estimates of that population since have confirmed that a majority of the students have tried marijuana. (Further details of this study are presented in Chapter 28.) This seems typical. Drug-education programs sponsored by schools and government agencies are viewed with scorn and amusement by users since their own and friends' experiences with marijuana convince them that the instructors are ignorant or lying. This is an unfortunate effect, as the attitude may be generalized to warnings about drugs that really are dangerous, such as hard narcotics and amphetamines.
    Marijuana use is by no means confined to college campuses. In a survey of young adults (eighteen and over) in San Francisco, Manheimer, Mellinger, and Balter (1969) reported that 13 percent had used marijuana at least once. Conservative estimates in the press usually figure that several million Americans have tried marijuana, although it is not clear how many use it with any regularity.
    Difficult political, moral, and religious problems arise when an act generally condemned and illegal spreads at such a rapid rate. This book is not the place to go into them, but the interested reader will find some good discussions in Aaronson and Osmond (1970), Krippner (1968), and Kaplan (1970).
    Leaving aside considerations of social and political problems, what sort of reliable, scientific knowledge do we have about the effects of marijuana? What do users experience that makes the risk of prison worthwhile?
    The following chapter discusses the nature of marijuana intoxication and explains why previous scientific work has gained very little reliable knowledge about it. The remainder of the book describes the method and results of the present study as an attempt to answer the question of what marijuana smokers experience.

Footnote

    1. Technically this is named 1-delta1-trans-THC. Due to an ambiguity in the system for giving chemical names, it is sometimes referred to as 1-delta9-trans-THC in some literature.



Chapter 2.    The Nature of Drug-Induced States of Consciousness


PEOPLE SELDOM do something without a rationale explicitly or implicitly guiding their actions. Although I have tried to avoid theorizing as much as possible in this book, there was a theoretical rationale that led to the initiation of the present study. The theory presented here is applicable to most altered states of consciousness, although this presentation focuses on marijuana intoxication. Application of this theory to more powerful psychedelics, such as LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin, should take account of the fact that an even greater range of effects is potentially available with these drugs than with marijuana.
    The condition of being under the influence of marijuana—of being in a state of marijuana intoxication—is one of many altered states of consciousness potentially available to man (see Tart, 1969). But what exactly do we mean by a state of consciousness, and more specifically, what do we mean by the particular state of consciousness we call marijuana intoxication?
    A simple answer to this is that marijuana intoxication is a reorganization of mental functioning that comes about from the ingestion of marijuana. For reasons explained in detail later, however, to define a state of consciousness in terms of its obvious initiating procedure, while "objective" and "operational," can be very misleading. Some people, for example, smoke marijuana and experience no discernible effects; are such people in the same state of consciousness as someone who smokes marijuana and says time goes slowly, sounds are more beautiful, and his body is filled with energy?
    A state of consciousness is a hypothetical construct invoked to explain certain observed regularities in behavior and experience. That is, we start out by observing a number of people about whose functioning there is something presumably different. Each of these people reports experiences and exhibits behaviors that are unique, a product of the individual's personality and the particular situations we observe him in. If, however, we can discern a certain common patterning of functioning in all of these people, a common pattern superimposed on their individual uniqueness, we may hypothesize something to explain this common pattern. This hypothesized something might be a common personality trait, belief system, physical attribute, or, in terms of our interest a common state of consciousness. Particularly, if we know that all the observed individuals ingested marijuana just before we began observing them, we will be tempted to say that the common pattern of functioning we observe is the result of their all being in a state of marijuana intoxication.
    Note, however, that it is the empirically observed common pattern of functioning[1] that is the crucial defining operation of the state of consciousness; the fact that they had all ingested marijuana serves secondarily to specify something we think to be a cause of the hypothesized state of consciousness.
    What, then, are the properties of this hypothesized state of consciousness, marijuana intoxication? How do we discover these properties?
    Clearly the way to answer this is to give marijuana to a number of people and observe what is common in their experience and behavior. Unfortunately, the observation process is much more complex and full of pitfalls than we would expect.
    Much of our usual experience with the effects of drugs on consciousness misleads us into expecting fairly simple relationships. If, for example, you give a strong dose of barbiturates or other sedatives to a person, he almost always goes to sleep. Hence we describe the state of consciousness (or lack of it) induced by barbiturates as a barbiturate-induced sleep. There is little variability across subjects, and our observational process is simple.
    With a psychoactive drug like marijuana, on the other hand, the variability across subjects is very high, and the observation process itself may systematically bias what we observe, as will be detailed in the next section. It may even turn out that different people might experience different states of consciousness from using marijuana, that is, the observed patterns of experience and behavior fall into several distinct patterns rather than a single pattern common to all individuals. We generally consider alcohol intoxication, for example, as a single state, yet on a second thought there are clearly some individuals who have very different experiences with alcohol from those the majority of us have. A drug may thus stimulate a reorganization of functioning, but the nature of the new pattern may be determined by factors other than the nature of the drug per se.
    Let us consider in detail the question of why a given individual, taking marijuana (or any other psychoactive drug, for that matter) at a particular time and place, might experience the particular things that he does.

VARIABILITY OF DRUG-INDUCED STATES

    Our common experience with many drugs inclines us to think along the line that "Drug A has effects X, Y. and Z." This is generally adequate for most drugs. Heavy doses of barbiturates make a person drowsy. Penicillin cures certain diseases. Amphetamines stimulate people.
    When it comes to drugs whose effects are primarily psychological, however, the tendency to think that drug A has effects X, Y. and Z can be very misleading and introduces confusion. That type of statement attributes certain sorts of invariant qualities to the chemical effect of the drug on the nervous system. When dealing with psychoactive drugs such as marijuana or LSD, however, both scientific research and the experience of users have made it clear that there are very few "invariant" qualities that are somehow inherent in or "possessed by" the drug itself. Rather, the particular effects of a drug are primarily a function of a particular person taking a particular drug in a particular way under particularconditions at a particular time.

Potential Effects Model

    The conceptual scheme used in this book for understanding the variability of effects with psychoactive drugs may be called the potential effects model. Basically, the observable effects of a psychoactive drug such as marijuana are of three types. First are what might be considered pure drug effects, i.e., effects almost always manifested when a particular drug is taken, regardless of person, place, situation, and time. Such effects are probably due primarily to the chemical nature of the drug as it interacts with common characteristics of human body chemistry. With many psychoactive drugs, pure drug effects are only a small portion of the total effects possible.
    Potential drug effects are effects that are made possible by the ingestion of a particular psychoactive drug but that will not manifest (become noticeable to the user or an observer) unless various non-drug factors operate in the proper manner; i.e., potential effects manifest only under certain conditions. These conditions will be discussed at length below. These potential effects constitute the majority of effects for a drug such as marijuana.
    Insofar as potential effects constitute the bulk of effects for marijuana intoxication, it is misleading to talk about the effects of marijuana per se, as is commonly done. Rather, we must speak of the effects of marijuana on certain types of people under certain types of conditions. (A third category of effects under this model is not, properly speaking, drug effects at all, but placebo effects, or pure psychological effects. These are effects brought about by non-drug factors entirely. If the particular configuration of non-drug factors necessary to produce a particular placebo effect occurs frequently under conditions usually associated with taking a particular drug, the effect will probably be, erroneously, ascribed to the drug.)

Factors Controlling Potential Effects

    We shall consider all of the current known classes of factors, which will determine how a particular individual reacts to a psychoactive drug at a particular time, before looking at the problem of variability from one time of drug intoxication to another.Drug factors include the chemical composition of the drug, the quantity used, and the method of administration.
    Marijuana has a very complex chemical composition. Some investigators feel that THC is the only active chemical of importance; others feel there may be other active chemicals or chemicals that, while not active in isolation, may modulate the effect of the THC. For marijuana use outside the laboratory, the possibility of significant adulteration exists. These adulterants may have no effect themselves, simply reducing the potency of the marijuana, or they may modify the intoxicated state as when marijuana has been soaked in opium or LSD. Certain active adulterants are valued by some users, disliked by others. As users generally test samples of marijuana offered for sale, they often have an opportunity to reject marijuana with adulterants that produce undesirable effects.
    Authoritative figures on the extent and type of adulteration of marijuana cannot be obtained, but most users feel it is usually rare for marijuana in the United States to be actively adulterated. [2] The more powerful psychedelics purchased illicitly, on the other hand, are usually significantly adulterated (Cheek, Newell, and Joffe, 1970).
    The quantity of marijuana taken at a given time is important in determining effects, but not as important as we might expect. Experienced users have a great deal of control over the effects (see Chapter 17), and can sometimes increase or decrease their level of intoxication at will.
    An important consideration with respect to quantity and method of administration of the drug used at a particular time is whether the user himself has control of the method and quantity. Marijuana users typically smoke marijuana and control their level of intoxication as desired by the amount they smoke. Many users consider smoking the ideal method of administration for this reason. Eating marijuana usually requires about three times as much marijuana to reach a given level, takes effect more slowly, lasts longer, is more variable in effects, and is much more frequently associated with overdoses and unpleasant effects. For some users, eating marijuana or taking a capsule in the laboratory produces some anxiety in and of itself, because they know they will have less control of the level of intoxication.
Long-term factors affecting a particular period of intoxication include the culture (and subculture) of the user, his particular personality characteristics, his physiological characteristics, and the skills he has learned for controlling his intoxicated state in earlier drug use.
    Cultural background is a very important factor about which little is precisely known. Attitudes toward various drugs vary tremendously from culture to culture, and this prevailing cultural climate may have a strong effect on the user. Classical Islamic culture, for instance, prohibits the use of alcohol but sanctions marijuana use. Our American culture as a whole believes marijuana produces undesirable and dangerous effects, and this knowledge may very well influence an individual user at times, in spite of subcultural support of marijuana smoking. In our culture, feelings of paranoia (e.g., fear that there may be a policeman watching) are frequent and normal, although experienced users generally treat them rather objectively rather than getting concerned about them in a maladaptive fashion.
    Personality affects marijuana reactions. Users commonly believe, for example, that authoritarian people, who are not open to new ways of perceiving and thinking, either get no effects at all from smoking marijuana or have very unpleasant effects. They try to maintain their ordinary way of perceiving and thinking against the drug effects. There is a large psychological literature on the way in which personality factors affect reactions to a wide variety of psychoactive drugs other than marijuana.
    Overall physiological functioning shows very similar patterns in healthy individuals; i.e., their bodily reactions to a given drug are similar enough to not be important. For some drugs and/or for some individuals, however, unique physiological factors might cause special reactions. I know of no solid information on this for marijuana, but it should be kept in mind as a potential source of variability.
    Learned drug skills are particularly important in marijuana intoxication. A neophyte commonly must use marijuana several times before becoming aware of its effects; he must learn to recognize certain subtle effects that indicate he is intoxicated (see, e.g., Becker, 1953). With increasing experience and contact with other marijuana users, the neophyte learns of other effects that he may try to experience himself and of techniques for controlling his intoxication experience (see Chapter 17). He may learn to reproduce many of the usual effects of intoxication without actually using marijuana, as in "contact highs" (feeling intoxicated just by being with intoxicated companions) or "conditioned highs" (feeling intoxicated to some extent by the action of preparing to use marijuana).
Immediate user factors include several factors that assume particular values for hours to days before using a drug, such as mood, expectations as to what will happen, and desires for particular happenings.
    Mood is particularly important with a drug like marijuana, as many users report the intoxicated state amplifies whatever mood they were in before taking the drug (see Chapter 16). If they were happy, they may become very happy; if they were sad, they may become particularly gloomy. An experimental study that picked student subjects just before exams, for example, might find that marijuana depressed people. Mood interacts with expectation, the user's beliefs about what the drug can and will do to him. This, in turn, derives from what he has heard about the drug, the situation he will be in, and his own past experience.
    The user's desires may or may not be congruent with his expectations; he may want to have insights about himself or find a new appreciation of beauty, but he may expect that the drug will not do this, or will make such an experience unlikely, given the circumstances.
The experiment or situation includes the immediate factors surrounding the taking of the drug, such as the physical setting and social interactions. In the experimental situation, both the formal instructions and the implicit demands given a subject can strongly influence the user-subject's reactions.
    The physical setting in which the drug is taken can have important effects. If it is cheerful, warm, esthetically pleasing, it may help create a positive mood in the intoxicated state with consequent effects on a variety of other drug phenomena. If the physical setting is cold, sterile, or ugly, negative emotions may be amplified. Effects that only manifest if the user relaxes his control would not manifest in a setting that makes the user insecure. Experienced drug users may attempt to turn inward and ignore unpleasant aspects of the physical setting, with varying degrees of success.
    Social events include all interactions with companions, experimenters, other subjects, and casual droppers-in. A major way of controlling marijuana intoxication is the direction of attention; interactions with others also direct attention, and this can have a major effect on what the user experiences and how he behaves. Strangers, people the user does not trust, manipulative people, and the like can produce strong negative, paranoid reactions. Warm, cheerful, enthusiastic, interested people have an opposite effect.
    The formal instructions given in an experimental situation ("We are here in order to study X by doing Y") further shape the user-subject's expectations as to what will and should happen, provide norms for behavior, and a goal to be sought. All reports of experiments specify the formal instructions to the subjects; they are indispensable to understanding the results. Unfortunately, most experimental subjects now know that experimenters frequently lie to them or mislead them with instructions, implying that the subjects are dumb, unimportant, or untrustworthy. This does not make for an honest experimenter-subject relationship, and may encourage the subject in turn to lie or mislead the experimenter.
    This brings us to the problem of the implicit demands of the experimenter, what Orne (1959, 1962) has called demand characteristics and Rosenthal (1966) has called the problem of experimenter bias. Briefly, when psychologists and psychiatrists began copying the methods of the physical sciences, they took up the idea of the neutral observer,whose presence did not itself affect the experiment. It is now clear, however, that an experimenter, in addition to his formal instructions, which are available for public assessment, makes all sorts of covert, implicit demands on his subjects to perform in a certain manner. These demands are not open to public examination and so cannot be fully evaluated for their effect on any given experiment. Particularly, the experimenter frequently has an a priori belief or hypothesis as to how an experiment should turn out, and this belief can be covertly communicated to the subjects. Since subjects are there to "help science," they often modify their behavior or experiences—unconsciously, semiconsciously, or consciously—to do the "right" thing (or the "wrong" thing if they are in a negative mood). I believe we shall see a major reformulation of the methods of the social and psychological sciences in the next decade as we realize that experimenters interact with subjects, that they are themselves one of the variables in the experiment, and that science is a human activity. The bases for this change are nicely summarized in Kuhn (1962), Lyons (1971), Maslow (1966), Polanyi (1958), and Rosenthal (1966).
    Most of the scientific literature on LSD demonstrates the effect of experimenter bias. Researchers who believed that LSD was a "psychotomimetic" constantly reported psychotic-like reactions among their subjects. Researchers who believed LSD was mind-expanding or psychedelic saw these beliefs confirmed. Both groups were partially right. What they did not realize was that they had unconsciously acted in ways to make their beliefs come true. They both demonstrated some of the potential effects of LSD, but were mistaken in thinking they had demonstrated pure drug effects or invariant effects.

Selective Amplification, Inhibition, Interaction

    None of the above factors affects the intoxicated state in isolation. Some may be important at one time, others unimportant. Users may choose to concentrate on some of these factors, amplifying their effect, or try to inhibit others, with varying degrees of success. Some of the factors may interact at a given time. A cold and sterile setting, an angry or unfriendly experimenter, and a poor mood on the subject's part can all combine to produce negative effects beyond the subject's ability to control.
    The ranges and combinations of these important factors are enormous, which means that the variety of drug intoxication effects is correspondingly large. We know little about exactly how important some of these are, or how they interact. Some extreme values of these factors, however, do produce known effects.
    For example, suppose we wanted to know how to produce a pleasant marijuana experience or an unpleasant one. Table 2-1 summarizes some extreme values of controlling factors that will maximize the probability of a "good trip" or a "bad trip." If all the controlling factors take one or the other of the extreme values, success in manifesting the potential effects that constitute a "good" or "bad" trip is highly likely. If some factors take on "good trip" values and others "bad trip" values, the outcome is uncertain.

Feedback Modification of Intoxication

    It should be stressed that the user is not a passive object to which a certain configuration of controlling factors can be applied and, as a consequence, certain results will automatically manifest. The user is monitoring his own state of consciousness; he may deliberately seek to intensify the effects of certain factors and diminish those of others in order to obtain effects he considers desirable.
    This applies both to specific effects and the level of intoxication. If a room is depressing, the (free) user will leave it. He may select music that will remind him of (and thereby induce) certain experiences, or he may seek out companions more intoxicated than himself in order to raise his level of intoxication by means of a "contact high" (see Chapter 17). The effects of all controlling factors are constantly subject to modification by the actions of the user.[3]

Variability over Time

    Any or all of the above controlling factors may vary from one period of intoxication to the next, and many are likely to vary considerably over longer time periods. While long-term factors may generally stay relatively constant for a given user, they can change; as when the user associates with a new subculture. For example, many students who have used marijuana extensively get interested in meditation and, once associated with a formal meditative discipline, are often told that the "spiritual" experiences they have had with marijuana are unreal and diversionary, so that they no longer value such sorts of experience.
    The increasing skill in control and wider range of possible effects as a drug user becomes more experienced are particularly important. A given user taking marijuana for the tenth time is, in many ways, a very different person from when he took it for the first time.

THE LEVEL OF INTOXICATION

    In the previous discussion, we have treated marijuana intoxication as something that is simply present or absent; but, in fact, it may be present in various degrees, from the lowest degree possible for a user to recognize that he is intoxicated, up to the maximum level of intoxication he may obtain. Variation in level from time to time constitutes another source of variability, as well as being of interest in its own right.
    In studying drug-induced states of consciousness, it is tempting to assume that the level of intoxication is specified by the dosage of the drug, and this has been done in most laboratory studies. With respect to marijuana (and other psychedelic drugs), however, comments of users indicate that dosage is only an approximate, and sometimes quite fallible, guide to level of intoxication. Neophytes may ingest very large quantities of marijuana without feeling any effect. Experienced users generally report they can become very intoxicated on quantities of marijuana that are small compared to what they originally required. Further, not only will using the same amount of marijuana from the same supply result in different degrees of intoxication for a user at different times, many users have special techniques for raising or lowering their level of intoxication by psychological means.
    Users commonly evaluate the potency of marijuana offered for sale by smoking a fixed quantity of it and rating the level of intoxication thereby attained. In the present study I formalized this procedure by asking users to rate, on the basis of their extensive experience, the minimal level of intoxication necessary to experience various intoxication effects. That is, certain effects may be experienced at all levels of intoxication, others in the moderate and high levels, others only at the high levels. The minimal-level model, then, assumes there is a threshold level of intoxication below which a certain effect cannot usually be experienced and above which it can be experienced (assuming other conditions are right for a potential effect). Once this minimal level is passed, the effect is potentially available at all higher levels. For example, slowing of time is practically never reported at very low levels of intoxication, but is usually reported at moderate and higher levels. This model is further discussed in Chapter 24.
    The theoretical rationale for self-reporting of depth of an altered state of consciousness may be found in detail elsewhere (Tart, in press). Briefly, in the course of his marijuana use, a user finds that certain phenomena become available when using more marijuana and that the progression of phenomena with increasing dose follows a fairly regular sequence through most of the times he has become intoxicated. In the future he can then examine what is happening to him, survey the phenomena he can and can't experience, and estimate his degree of intoxication from this. [4] I have found this kind of self-estimation of level to be extremely useful in the study of hypnosis (Tart, 1970a), and Frankenhaeuser (1963) has found estimates of intoxication correlate very highly with dosage levels for nitrous oxide intoxication. [5]

STUDYING MARIJUANA INTOXICATION

    In spite of all the sources of variability and uniqueness discussed above, we still commonly talk of marijuana intoxication as a state, implying that there is a relatively common pattern superimposed on the varied manifestations that result from using marijuana. Our present information as to what that pattern is, is very poor.
    We presently have two sources [6] of information about marijuana. On the one hand, we have individual anecdotes of marijuana users. These are valuable but cannot be generalized very reliably. We don't know how much of what is reported is a product of marijuana intoxication and how much of the individual writer. On the other hand, we have clinical and laboratory experiments. These are as limited in applicability to the state of marijuana intoxication in general as are the anecdotal accounts, for the reasons detailed in the next section; the laboratory or clinic is an unusual constellation of conditions, which accentuates certain potential effects and inhibits others in a way that is atypical of the general use of marijuana.
    The ideal study of the nature of marijuana intoxication should proceed in a number of stages. First, we must determine the range of effects; i.e., what are all the various effects supposedly associated with marijuana intoxication?
    Second, since it is impractical to study everything at once, we must determine which of these effects in the total range are important. We may determine importance on theoretical grounds, which will vary with our own background and beliefs; or we may, somewhat more objectively, decide to study the frequent effects and let the rarer ones wait.
    Third, we may set up controlled experiments to investigate each important effect in isolation. What causes it? How does it relate to dosage? Do different personality types experience it with important variations? Is it adaptive or nonadaptive for certain individuals?
    Fourth, we may study the relationships between important effects. Must effect X always appear before effect Y? Does B inhibit A? Does investigator M always observe effects N. O. P and investigator Q always observe effects R. S. and T? Why?
    Finally, all this knowledge may be put together for a general theoretical understanding of what marijuana intoxication is. As with any scientific theory, this understanding will then be judged on its informational usefulness (does it "make sense" and order the observations conveniently?) and its ability to predict further observations (i.e., if it orders all presently known facts elegantly and can't handle the next new fact, it's not very good).
    In steps three and four, it is important to remember the restricting effects of the laboratory; i.e., the gain in precision of observation may be offset by the narrowing of the range of potential effects observed and the distortions caused by experimenter bias. However, if we know the range and importance in advance, from steps one and two, we can compensate for the restrictions of the laboratory to a great extent; we will be careful not to overgeneralize and misapply laboratory findings.

THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE ON MARIJUANA

    There is a vast medical and scientific literature on marijuana, dating back over half a century. The reader interested in perusing this should consult Gamage and Zerkins' A comprehensive guide to the English-language literature on cannabis (1969).
    It is traditional in a scientific book for the author to thoroughly review all other scientific literature on the subject. I shall not do this, for this literature represents work that is generally methodologically unsound, so no solid conclusions can be drawn from it.
    Most of this literature rather uniformly attributes almost every human ill imaginable to marijuana intoxication. It is rather reminiscent of the medical literature on masturbation in the last century. As a first methodological warning sign, the intelligent reader might wonder why the practice of marijuana smoking is so widely indulged in if all its effects are negative?
    More formally, let us consider the literature in two categories, the medical literature and the experimental literature.
    The medical literature to date on marijuana consists primarily of clinical observations of patients identified as marijuana smokers by physicians treating them. Because marijuana was used before the patient came to the physician, marijuana is considered the cause of the disease. The logic of this is fallacious. Cause and effect cannot be established simply because one thing precedes another unless all other preceding events can be eliminated as possible causes. For example, various medical disorders prevalent among people of underdeveloped nations where marijuana smoking is widespread are attributed to its use. We could equally well reason that the medical conditions in underdeveloped nations lead to marijuana smoking, or that they have nothing to do with it. Thus practically all the medical literature on marijuana is useless, being moralizing under the guise of medicine.
    This is a particularly regrettable situation. It seems a priori likely that prolonged use of any drug would have some effects on the body (good or bad), and we very much need factual medical knowledge of marijuana's effects.
    The experimental literature on marijuana, with an occasional and notable exception, represents research carried out under a set of circumstances that are almost certain to produce results that have practically no applicability to the normal use of marijuana; i.e., they emphasize certain potential effects that are atypical of our society's normal use of the drug.
    Some of the most notable atypicalities of the experimental research to date are as follows.
    Control of the drug has been in the hands of the experimenter. The subject usually had to take one of a number of unknown substances in an unknown dosage. This can produce a good deal of anxiety and an intensified need for control and defense. As discussed earlier, marijuana users prefer to control their own level of intoxication. (User control of dosage could be allowed, even if it is somewhat less convenient for the experimenter.) Note also that subjects in many laboratory studies of marijuana have been given what are, judging by the effects reported in Chapter 11, overdoses, i.e., dosage levels they would not choose for themselves because of the probability of unpleasant symptoms and loss of control.
    Physical setting has usually been a hospital or laboratory, typically ugly and impersonal. The social sciences generally, in their pursuit of "objectivity," have adopted cold and impersonal settings in order to gain it. In reality this gains a particular set of limiting conditions, not objectivity. Scientists are just beginning to become aware of how physical settings affect people (Sommer, 1969).
    Social setting often paralleled the physical setting. Experimental personnel tended to be impersonal, evasive in answering questions, and manipulative of the subject. There were seldom the sort of people the experienced user would have chosen for companions. They were often typical of our culture in that they considered drug use "bad" or "sick."
    Learned drug skills were typically non-existent in that naive subjects were almost universally used because their reactions were supposedly "uncontaminated." Thus much of subjects' reactions in such experiments represented coping activities of naive people under stress in an unknown situation. The effects of coping may have been much more prominent than many drug effects and may have been mistaken for them. Studying adaptation to drugs is fine and necessary if the experimenter realizes that that is what he is studying, a realization rare in the literature.
    Implicit demands, difficult as they are for a reader of the literature to judge, often seem to have been negative in that "sick" or "maladaptive" reactions were expected. Aside from the unknown degree to which such demands might have been communicated by the verbal interaction of the experimenter with his subjects, such practices as keeping psychiatric attendants nearby, locking the subject in a room and keeping him under surveillance, and having subjects sign legal release forms prior to the experiment, seem sufficient to communicate strong expectations of adverse effects to subjects.
    Orne and Scheibe (1964) carried out a classical study demonstrating that demand characteristics of sensory deprivation experiments might be responsible for many of the effects supposedly resulting from the "drastic" treatment of depriving a person of sensory stimulation for prolonged periods. Because the procedure in so many sensory deprivation experiments parallels that in laboratory studies of marijuana and other psychedelic drugs, it is worth reporting this study in some detail.
    Two groups of normal male college students, naive as to what sensory deprivation was about, took part in the experiment. The experimental group reported individually to the hospital where the experiment was to be held and were greeted by an experimenter dressed as a physician. The experimenter interviewed the subject about his medical history, including dizziness, fainting spells, and so forth. A tray of drugs and medical instruments, labeled "Emergency Tray," was clearly visible in the background. No reference was made to it unless a subject asked about it, in which case he was told that this was one of the precautionary measures taken for the experiment and that he had nothing to worry about.
    Instructions for the four-hour experimental period, termed "sensory deprivation," were given. They included the fact that a physician was always available should anything untoward develop, and pointed out that if the subject couldn't take it, he could push a button, labeled "Emergency Alarm," to summon assistance.
    The subject then had his blood pressure and pulse taken to further reinforce the "medical" atmosphere and was asked to sign a form that released the sponsoring organization, all affiliated organizations, and their personnel from legal consequences of the experiment.
    The actual experimental treatment, spending four hours in a small, well-lighted, comfortably furnished room, had nothing to do with sensory deprivation. Except for the observation window through which the subject could be observed, it was essentially a normal room and all that happened to the subject was that there was no one to talk with for four hours.
    A second group, the control subjects, were greeted by the same experimenter but he wore ordinary business clothes and acted in a less officious manner. There was no "Emergency Tray" in the interview room, nor was a medical history taken. The subject was told he was a control subject for sensory deprivation studies. The procedures typical of such studies were described to him, such as white noise on earphones, translucent goggles to block out all patterned vision, soft beds to reduce touch sensations, and rules prohibiting physical movement. There was no "Emergency Alarm" button in the experimental room.
    Each control subject then spent four hours in the experimental room; experimental conditions were thus the same except for the demands.
    Both groups were interviewed after the experimental period and given various psychological tests.
    The experimental group showed a number of significant changes on the psychological tests typical of those found in sensory deprivation studies. Further, this group reported many more classical sensory deprivation effects than the control group, including more perceptual aberrations, feelings of intellectual dulling, unpleasant emotions, spatial disorientation, and restlessness. Thus many of the effects commonly attributed to a "powerful" treatment, sensory deprivation, can be obtained by the implicit demands in experimental instructions.
    I fear that the reader who is not himself a physician or psychologist (i.e., who accepts such experimental conditions as "normal") will find the above description of experimental conditions rather ludicrous. How can we expect to find anything but unpleasant and unusual reactions under such circumstances? I regret to say that such conditions have been standard for almost all the research that has been done on marijuana intoxication or studies of other psychedelic drugs.
    Indeed, practically all the conditions outlined in Table 2-1 as maximizing the probability of a "bad trip" are standard conditions in laboratory studies of marijuana. This was not a result of deliberate malice on the part of earlier investigators, of course, but stemmed from inadequate knowledge of the importance of non-drug factors and from the pervasive belief in "pure" drug effects.
    Future experimental studies of marijuana intoxication should note the importance of the many controlling factors discussed above and report their values in particular studies. If this is done, we may begin to round out our overall picture of marijuana intoxication. Further, these controlling factors should be systematically varied. Different environments, varying from cold and sterile to warm and esthetically pleasing along various dimensions, can be tried. Experimenters and experimental personnel can be deliberately selected in terms of their personal attitudes toward drug use in order to assess how important this parameter is, and so on.
    On a very practical note, political pressure is now very strong for scientists to produce better knowledge about the effects of marijuana in order to guide changes in legislation. If experimental results are to be socially relevant, priority must be given to studies carried out under conditions comparable to the ordinary use of marijuana today. Overdosing a naive person under very stressful conditions is not very relevant to answering questions about the dangers of marijuana, for an overdose of multitudes of common substances under stressful conditions can produce adverse effects. Experimental research can be both valid and relevant. I hope it will be.
    The previous scientific literature on marijuana intoxication, then, generally represents sets of conditions under which an extremely limited range of potential effects is likely to emerge. This set of potential effects is quite unrepresentative of the effects ordinarily associated with marijuana intoxication. The old research literature can be of some scientific value in detailing the effects of marijuana on people under conditions of high stress.

THE PRESENT STUDY

    The present study is intended to begin to provide answers to the first, second, and fourth questions discussed earlier under the general question of how do we scientifically study marijuana intoxication. That is, it is intended to investigate: (1) the range of effects associated with marijuana intoxication under its usual conditions of use; (2) the importance of such effects in terms of which effects are frequent and which infrequent; and (3) the relationships of these effects to level of intoxication, to some important background factors, such as education, and the relationships of some of the effects to each other.
    By asking experienced users to report on various intoxication effects in the course of their last six months' marijuana experience, all the various controlling factors, which determine potential effects, will have obtained most possible values many times, so the range can be determined.
    By knowing these sorts of things about the ordinary use of marijuana, we may then estimate whether a given experimental study's results may be generalized to non-laboratory conditions, and, more importantly, we may plan future experimental studies from this base to be relevant to normal marijuana use.
    Also, because of the lack of scientific information about the entire range of marijuana effects, the data of the present study provide a unique kind of information about the experiential effects of marijuana intoxication that cannot be obtained elsewhere. They are of considerable interest to the reader who simply wants to know "What do people experience when they use marijuana?" and to the marijuana user who would like to compare his experiences with those of others.
    It should again be emphasized that the present study is itself limited; the marijuana users studied were mostly young college students or rather well-educated older users, and the results should not be glibly generalized beyond such groups. I hope that this study will serve as a stimulus to better and broader studies that will supersede it, both general studies and intensive laboratory research.

SUMMARY

    Most psychological effects of psychoactive drugs such as marijuana are primarily potential effects; i.e., the drug action makes certain experiences and actions possible if and only if various non-drug factors are just right.
    This means there is a tremendous range of experiences possible with marijuana, depending on conditions.
    Previous experimental and medical studies of marijuana have been carried out under such an unusual and restrictive range of conditions that their results have little applicability to the ordinary use of marijuana in our culture today.
    The present study, by inquiring about intoxication experiences of many experienced users over a long period, provides information on nearly the total range of potential effects, because the many controlling factors have varied over most possible configurations in that time.
    This study thus provides basic data on the range of intoxication experiences, their relative frequency or rarity, their relationship to level of intoxication, and the effects of various background factors on them. This information provides an answer to the question "What is it like to be high on marijuana?" and provides experimental and psychological guidelines for making future experimental research more relevant and profitable.
    Note that the method of the present study can provide valuable data on the general effects of marijuana intoxication in experienced users, but it is not suited to investigate questions about individual differences among users. Some users, for example, might experience primarily cognitive alterations while others might experience primarily sensory enhancements. Individual differences are an important topic for future study.

Footnotes

    1. Note that a pattern of functioning is not the same thing as the observed effects per se. Different restructurings of mental functioning may lead to the same overt effect in some cases, the report that one event followed rapidly after another could stem either from a change in experienced time rate or from falling asleep between events. Relationships between observed effects determine the overall patern. (back)
    2. Ironically, users generally feel that increased government crackdowns on marijuana usually result in more adulteration as dealers attempt to pass off the poor quality marijuana then available as higher quality material. (back)
    3. The great importance of the user's modification of his effects was strikingly (and humorously) demonstrated to me some years ago when, as a graduate student, I participated in an experimental study in which psilocybin (a psychedelic drug similar to LSD) was administered. I had to take a "symptom check list" type of test, sort a bunch of cards into true and false piles. Each card had a phenomenon on it, such as "I feel dizzy." As I started to sort these, it became clear that, by reading the card several times, I could make the effect manifest. So if I read a card that said, "My palms are sweating green sweat," I would decide that that would be interesting to experience, and, sure enough, in a few seconds I could see green sweat on my palms! If I read a negative effect, such as "I feel anxious and afraid," I would immediately toss that card in the false pile, and the effect wouldn't happen.(back)
    4. For example, one of my informants, an engineer, reports that he can scale his level of intoxication on a ten-point scale by whether or not certain phenomena are available. He uses zero as non-intoxicated; one as a level where he feels a little different but nothing is clear enough for him to be sure he is intoxicated; two as the lowest degree of clear intoxication manifested by a full feeling in his head, clearer and more beautiful sounds, and calmness; five for the level where he first experiences time slowing down; eight for clear shortening of the memory span; and ten for the maximum level of intoxication, where he has large visual distortions and may begin to feel ill. (back)
    5. A simplifying assumption underlying the present study is that there is one state of consciousness, marijuana intoxication, common to all users and that it vanes in a continuous fashion. It is possible that there are several states across individuals and/or that there may be qualitative alterations in patterns large enough to be called a different state of consciousness for a given individual (Tart, in press). The latter possibility cannot be properly investigated with the present data. (back)
    6. The user has a third source of information, his own experiences, and may consider our other two sources quite secondary to this. If he is interested in understanding the nature of marijuana intoxication in a general sense, however, he should realize that his own experience is limited just as the other two sources are; namely, it is a selection from the total range of potential effects determined by his own personality characteristics and life situation. (back)

Table

TABLE 2-1
VALUES OF VARIABLES FOR MAXIMIZING PROBABILITY OF "GOOD" OR "BAD TRIP"

(back to text) (second instance)
VARIABLESGOOD TRIP LIKELYBAD TRIP LIKELY
DrugQualityPure, known.Unknown drug or unknown degree
 of (harmful) adulterants.
QuantityKnown accurately, adjusted
 to individual's desire.
Unknown, beyond individual's control.
Long-term
factors
CultureAcceptance, belief in benefits.Rejection, belief in detrimental effects.
PersonalityStable, open, secure.Unstable, rigid, neurotic, or psychotic.
PhysiologyHealthy.Specific adverse vulnerability to drug.
Learned drug skillsWide experience gained
 under supportive conditions.
Little or no experience or preparation,
 unpleasant past experience.
Immediate
user
factors
MoodHappy, calm, relaxed, or euphoric.Depressed, overexcited, repressing
 significant emotions.
ExpectationsPleasure, insight, known
 eventualities.
Danger, harm, manipulation,
 unknown eventualities.
DesiresGeneral pleasure, specific
 user-accepted goals.
Aimlessness, (repressed) desires to harm
 or degrade self for secondary gains.
Experiment
or
situation
Physical settingPleasant and esthetically interesting
 by user's standards.
Cold, impersonal, "medical," "psychiatric,"
 "hospital," "scientific."
Social eventsFriendly, non-manipulative
 interactions overall.
Depersonalization or manipulation of
 the user, hostility overall.
Formal instructionsClear, understandable, creating
 trust and purpose.
Ambiguous, dishonest, creating mistrust.
Implicit demandsCongruent with explicit
 communications, supportive.
Contradict explicit communications and/or
 reinforce other negative variables.


Chapter 3.    Method of the Study


THE PRESENT STUDY had a variety of origins, all centered around my long term interest in altered states of consciousness. For several years I had read many anecdotal accounts of what it was like to be intoxicated on marijuana,[1] talked with many students and acquaintances (hereafter referred to as pilot subjects and informants) about what being intoxicated was like, and tried to do some theorizing that would make some sense and order out of the many phenomena reported. What little sense I have been able to make out of things in terms of theorizing has been presented in Chapter 2. This theorizing also made it clear that a systematic look at the overall phenomenology of altered states of consciousness was vital. The present study is an initial systematic look for one state of consciousness, marijuana intoxication.
    For several years I took systematic notes on various phenomena reported for marijuana intoxication, and, based on these, a large questionnaire was made up. The questionnaire used the current language of marijuana users ("heads") as much as possible. It was distributed with a covering letter that was intended to be friendly and to induce cooperation among users both in filling out the questionnaire and in passing questionnaires along to other users. The text of the letter is given below.

To:    ANYONE WHO HAS SMOKED MARIJUANA
        MORE THAN A DOZEN TIMES
    I usually start a letter with "Dear So-and-so," but somehow greetings like "Dear Marijuana Smoker," "Dear Head," "To whom it may concern," or anything else like that sound pretty bad, so I'm skipping the greeting and getting right down to the point.
    One of my main research interests as a psychologist is the area of altered states of consciousness. I am particularly interested in investigating the psychological effects of marijuana, both for their intrinsic interest and for comparison with other altered states of consciousness. Reading the (scant) scientific literature on marijuana is disappointing, for most everything is on the order of, "Gee whiz, I smoked (or ate) grass, and I saw all sorts of pretty pictures which can't be described, and gee whiz, etc., etc., etc." That's very nice for a start, but not very specific!
    From preliminary talks with people who smoke marijuana, it is obvious that there are many and varied effects, and that it would be of great psychological interest to know what they are. Scientists, as a whole, know practically nothing about the experience of smoking marijuana. You do. The ideal way to expand our knowledge about these effects would be to have people smoke it under a variety of conditions, with known amounts and qualities of grass, and then report on it. Even a rudimentary knowledge of the legal situation, though, tells you genuine laboratory research on marijuana is virtually impossible.
    So I'd like to enlist your help as an expert; you've been there and, I hope, you would like to see us really know something about marijuana experiences on a scientific level, instead of just an anecdotal level. Enclosed is a questionnaire. It has a few basic questions about how much you've used marijuana, other drug experiences, and so on, to get a little background. Then the main part consists of over two hundred statements about possible experiences during the marijuana high that have been selected from preliminary surveys. I would like you to fill out the questionnaire and rate each of the described experiences in terms of how frequently it happens to you and how stoned you have to be to experience it. This is explained more fully in the questionnaire.
    If you will help by carefully filling in this questionnaire and by passing more of these questionnaires on to other heads, what will you accomplish? The following kinds of questions can be answered from analyzing this data. What sorts of experiences occur when stoned, with what frequency? How are they related to how stoned you are? What kinds of differences are there between individuals? Are there several different patterns of going up, or does everybody go up the same way? How is the marijuana experience related to experience with other drugs? How is it related to how long people have been smoking? Are there certain more basic factors that account for a lot of the specific experiences? And many other things.
    O.K., I'm going to learn a lot, and so will the scientific community when the results are published. What will you learn? The same thing. I don't like the kind of research (of which there is too much today) where the all-knowing scientist manipulates his stupid subjects. You're acting as the expert, the explorer, and you should be able to learn a lot for your trouble in helping me. Now, I can't get your name and mail you anything (that would run the paranoia level too high!), but it is common practice in science to send reprints of research results to anyone who requests them. If you will drop me a card in about a year (it takes that long to analyze everything and get it published), I will send you a copy of the results. No need to be paranoid on that, as I will get lots of reprint requests from people who have nothing to do with this study.
    While we're on the subject of paranoia: you are able to help in this study on the basis of your past experience. I am not advocating that anyone smoke marijuana or do anything illegal in order to be able to fill out this questionnaire, but naturally you don't want to put your name on it! Note also that it is not illegal to fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire comes with a stamped, return envelope so you can return it to me anonymously. The data from the questionnaires will be punched on IBM cards, and the original questionnaires destroyed as soon as possible.
    The way these questionnaires are being distributed also insures your anonymity. I don't know any marijuana smokers by name, so I am simply putting these questionnaires out in places where marijuana smokers may have a chance to pick them up, and just handing them to people who might or might not know smokers, until this finally reaches you, with me having no idea of the route. In turn, please take as many questionnaires from whatever source you get this as you think you can pass on to other marijuana smokers. The more returns I can get, the more revealing this research will be.
    I'm asking for about an hour or two of your time. In return, you will eventually know a lot more about the psychological effects of marijuana, and the scientific community will learn even more (considering the starting level); hopefully this knowledge will eventually result in more rational attitudes toward marijuana use.
    If you can't fill this out, through lack of time or experience, please pass this material and any other sets of it you have along to someone who can.
    Many thanks!
                                Sincerely yours,
                                CHARLES T. TART, PH.D.
    Because most users experience a variety of intoxication phenomena by the third or fourth time they use marijuana, I selected the cutoff of a dozen uses to define an "experienced" user. As noted in Chapter 4, all the users who returned the questionnaire were far above this minimal cutoff.

THE QUESTIONNAIRE

    The questionnaire consisted of three parts: (1) instructions; (2) background information questions (reported on in Chapters 4 and 5) covering such things as age, sex, occupation, education, history of drug use, and so forth; and (3) 220 descriptions of effects the users might have experienced. (The questionnaire is reproduced in full in Appendix B.)

Instructions for Filling Out the Questionnaire

    The following instructions were attached to each questionnaire:
    Do not put your name on this questionnaire or otherwise identify yourself.
    The first two pages of the questionnaire are self-explanatory questions about your background, how much you've used pot, and your experiences with other drugs.
    The rest of the questionnaire consists of statements describing a wide variety of experiences people have reported having while stoned. These descriptive statements have been taken from a wide variety of different people's accounts and it is unlikely that any single person has experienced all of the things described.
    The statements are grouped into categories, such as Vision Effects, Hearing Effects, changes in Space-Time Perception, and so on. Some descriptive statements are relevant to more than one such category, but they are only listed under one, in order to keep this questionnaire as short as possible.
    Each statement describes a particular kind of experience, for example, "I can see more subtle shades of color." The sense of each statement is that whatever effect is described, it is considerably stronger or somehow different when stoned than if you were experiencing it straight. That is, some of the things described can be experienced to some degree when straight but are reported to be much more intense or different when stoned. Even if the statement does not include the phrase "than when straight," this comparison is implicit in all the statements.
    For each descriptive statement, you are to make two ratings.
    The first is how frequently you have experienced that particular effect when stoned, judging against all the times you have been stoned in the last six months.[2]Circle the answer category that most closely describes how often you experience that effect. The categories, reproduced under each description, are:
    Never = you have never experienced this effect.
    Rarely = you've experienced it at least once, but it's not at all frequent.
    Sometimes = you experience it between about 10 percent and 40 percent of the time.
    Very Often = you experience it more than about 40 percent of the time.
    Usually = if you experience it practically every time you get stoned.
    These rating categories are approximate, so while you should use your best Judgment you need not try to count over all your experiences!
    The second rating to make for each descriptive statement is one of how stoned you have to be to experience it (if you have experienced it at all; if you haven't, don't rate this for that statement). That is, there is an assumption that some sorts of things can be experienced if you're just a little stoned, while other things can't be experienced unless you're very stoned. There is a minimal degree of "stonedness" that you have to be at to experience a particular effect. The "How Stoned?" scale under each descriptive statement runs from Just, which is the smallest degree to which you could be stoned and know that you were stoned, to Maximum, which is the most stoned you've ever been after smoking a lot of high quality pot.
    It is possible to think about the "How Stoned" rating as relating to the amount of pot you smoke (or eat), but this is only a rough parallel because of the variations in the quality of pot. Thus this rating scale is defined in terms of your own perception of how stoned you have to be to experience the described effect, and you are asked to make five discriminations of your degree of stonedness, with Just and Maximum at the low and high ends of the scale, and Fairly, Strongly, and Very Strongly as intermediate points.
    To take an example, the first descriptive statement is, "I can see new colors or more subtle shades of color than when I'm straight." You might have this happen to you about half the times you get stoned (ignoring for the moment how stoned you are over all these times in the last six months), so you would circle the Very Often category. Then, thinking about how stoned you have to be to experience it, you might feel that it doesn't happen to you unless you're very stoned, so you'd circle the Very Strongly category. Thus you would be saying that you can't experience (or haven't experienced) this when you've been just stoned, or fairly stoned, or even when strongly stoned; but when you're very strongly stoned or maximally stoned you can experience the change in color perception.
    It may be that you've experienced a particular effect at several degrees of "stonedness," but what you're rating here is the minimal level of stonedness you must be to experience it.
    There is one other category on the "How Stoned" scale, marked LSD. You are to circle this category only if you have experienced that effect after having taken one of the very powerful psychedelic drugs like LSD, DMT, DET, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, or STP. Thus there will probably be a number of things described that you've never experienced with pot but have with one of the more powerful psychedelics (if you've had any of the more powerful psychedelics).
    There are a few questions where the two scales "Frequency" and "How Stoned" don't apply, and space is left for a descriptive answer.
    There are a number of experiences that occur when stoned for which the opposite also occurs frequently; e.g., sometimes colors may be more intense and sometimes they may be duller. A bracket has been put in the left-hand margin whenever two questions are linked this way. Thus, you might find colors get brighter sometimes at a minimal degree of Very Stoned, and also that colors get duller frequently at a minimal degree of Just.
    Finally, space has been left at the end for you to describe any effects you get from being stoned that haven't been mentioned in this questionnaire. In making up this questionnaire it was attempted to mention everything that people may have written about as happening while stoned, but some things have undoubtedly been missed, so this is your chance to complete the list!
    Please rate the statements as accurately as you can. Whenever you feel that the way the statement is phrased doesn't quite fit your experiences, feel free to write in an explanation. If a statement makes no sense at all to you, put a ? beside it and skip it. It is understood that many of the experiences of being stoned are difficult to express in words!
    Answer this questionnaire while straight, and when it is complete, seal it in the attached return envelope (do not put a return address on it!) and mail.
    The envelope is already addressed and stamped.
    It is so commonplace and trite on psychological questionnaires to say "Thank you" that I hesitate to say it, but l really do appreciate your filling this out!

Possible Effect Descriptions

    Figure 3-1 shows part of the first page of the actual questionnaire. Each possible effect statement (referred to simply as "question" or "item" from now on) was presented in this way, with a few exceptions, described later.[3]
FIGURE 3-1. FORMAT OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE
VISION SENSE:
1. I can see new colors or more subtle shades of color than when I'm straight.
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD
2. Colors get duller, not as vivid.
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD
3. There is a sensual quality to vision, as if I were somehow "touching" the
    objects or people I am looking at.
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD
4. When I look at pictures they may acquire an element of visual depth, a third
    dimensional aspect that they don't have when straight.
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD
5. The world looks flat; it lacks the third dimension of depth.
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD
6. I see fringes of colored light around people (not objects), what people
    have called the "aura."
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD
7. I see fringes of colored light around objects (not people), what people
    have called the "aura."
Frequency?    Never    Rarely    Sometimes    Very Often    Usually
How Stoned?    Just    Fairly    Strongly    Vy Strongly    Maximum    LSD

VALIDITY PROBLEMS

    For the present study to produce valid, accurate information about the nature of marijuana intoxication, we must feel reasonably certain that the possible effect descriptions mean what they seem to mean and that the respondents answered without bias or error, i.e., that they were careful in giving their answers and did not deliberately distort their answers in any fashion.
    In wording the possible effect descriptions, I compromised between using standard English and drug-culture argot. I used the latter only when it was clear, as "stoned" or "high" for intoxicated. I avoided other argot terms like "far out," which have come to be used so ambiguously as to be worthless for communication. Thus the possible effect descriptions generally seem clear as to what they mean. For those few which may be unfamiliar to non-drug users, I have included brief explanations and/or references at appropriate places in the text.
    A second language difficulty is that there are a variety of effects that users insist cannot be put into words, even approximately. These have necessarily been left out of the present study.
    What about careless answering, or deliberate bias in answering designed to create an overly favorable picture of intoxication?
    Three steps were taken to reduce this problem. First, the sympathetic tone of the covering letter and instructions hopefully reduced the need for the users' justifying themselves. Second, my promise to get results back to them made accurate reporting favor the users' self-interest. Third, a validity scale, described in the next section, was used to eliminate overly careless or bizarre questionnaires from the analysis.
    While eventual replication of the present results by others is the final test of validity, the above steps, plus my knowledge of marijuana intoxication acquired from pilot subjects and informants, gives me confidence that the present results are reasonably accurate.

Validity Scale

    Fourteen of the 220 items constituted a validity scale. These were descriptions, scattered randomly through the questionnaire, of "possible effects" which I had never heard of or had heard of only extremely rarely, which seemed extremely unlikely to occur, and (one) which had been used in studies of hypnosis as a validity item (Orne, 1959).
    No single improbable answer can necessarily disqualify a questionnaire, because the respondent may actually have experienced an improbable effect. The a priori decision was made to disqualify any questionnaire with six or more positive responses on the validity scale, as this would be an extremely improbable occurrence, warranting suspicion.
    The 14 items of the validity scale, together with the percentages of the 150 final respondents[4] rating each frequency category, are shown in Table 3-1. The a priori rules for counting an answer as a point on the validity scale are indicated by the boxes around certain response categories for each item. For example, if a user answered item 26 by circling Very Often, it would count a point on the validity scale, but not if he circled Never, Rarely, or Sometimes.
    For the 150 questionnaires used for analysis, the mean validity scale score was only 1.5, so the final group of users did not show a bizarre patterning of answers on this scale, and we may presume they were careful in filling out their questionnaires.

DISTRIBUTION OF QUESTIONNAIRES

    Because of the severe legal penalties attached to the possession, use, or sale of marijuana it was important to assure the users' anonymity in order to get any returned questionnaires. The distribution technique consisted of my handing large stacks of questionnaires to students and acquaintances whom I thought might be marijuana smokers and/or who might have friends who were marijuana smokers, and asking them to keep passing them on to other users. This worked very well. Many times students walked into my office and asked for more to pass out. In this way I had no names of anyone and could not even tell if the people I thought were smokers actually filled out a questionnaire. Users who completed the questionnaire simply put it in the attached, stamped return envelope and mailed it to me.

Data Reduction

    All properly filled out and acceptable questionnaires returned by a cut-off date several months after distribution were coded onto IBM cards and magnetic tape for later processing at the computer centers of the University of California at Davis and at Berkeley.

SUMMARY

    A large questionnaire was constructed on the basis of readings and informal interviews with marijuana users. It was distributed, along with a sympathetic covering letter, in a fashion that ensured anonymity of the respondents. Only experienced marijuana users were asked to fill out and return the questionnaire.
    For each of more than two hundred possible intoxication effects, the user was asked to rate how frequently he had experienced that effect in the last six months of use and the minimal degree of intoxication necessary to experience it.
TABLE 3-1
VALIDITY SCALE ITEMS

(back to text)
PERCENTAGE OF USERS ANSWERING: (a)
Q NO.ITEMNvrRlySmtVyOUly

26I have difficulty hearing things clearly, sounds are blurry and indistinct.61%23%13%1%1%
42I salivate quite a lot when stoned.44%30%13%5%5%
54Objects seem to tilt toward the left.80%10%3%1%1%
57The force of gravity seems to alternate between pushing me up and pushing me down.56%14%17%5%5%
72When there is any trembling in my body, the upper half of my body trembles much more than the lower half.69%7%10%5%3%
87My scalp itches a lot if I have smoked too much grass.80%13%6%1%1%
97My non-dominant hand (left if you're right-handed and vice versa) becomes partially paralyzed, unusable.86%9%2%1%0%
102I tremble a lot in my hands for a while after having been stoned.71%20%7%0%1%
104Smoking grass makes me cough hard while inhaling and holding my breath.14%42%32%9%2%
132My mind goes completely blank for long periods (15 minutes or more) even though I'm not asleep...56%27%13%2%0%
166I almost invariably feel bad when I turn on, regardless of how I felt before I turned on.47%36%9%1%1%
180I have lost control and been "taken over" by an outside force or will, which is hostile or evil in intent, for a while.79%14%4%0%0%
181I have lost control and been "taken over" by an outside force or will, which is good or divine, for a while.63%16%9%5%1%
187When stoned I lose most of my sense of ego identity and usually take on the identity of my like-sexed parent (father for males, mother for females).79%10%7%0%1%

(a) A given row may not add to exactly 100% because of users'
skipping that item and/or rounding errors. The scored direction
for counting on the validity scale is given in bold-face responses.

Footnotes


    1. Well-written anecdotal accounts may be found in Andrews and Vinkenoog (1967), Anonymous (1969), Bloomquist (1968), de Ropp (1967), Ebin (1961), Goode (1969), Hollander (1967), Rosevear (1967), Simmons (1967), and Solomon (1966).
    2. The experience of the last six months is used rather than all your experience to cut down inaccuracies due to memories' fading. It may be that there are changes in how frequently you experience various things as you get more experience in being stoned, but this can be analyzed for in comparing the responses of new heads and old heads. If, however, you haven't been stoned very much in the past six months, use all your experiences for estimating frequencies.
    3. In retrospect, I believe I should have used a 7- or 10-point scale for frequency and intoxication levels, as I had forgotten the tendency of people to avoid extreme categories on any scale.
    4. A number of returned questionnaires were rejected because of high validity scale scores or other reasons, as discussed in Chapter 4. Validity score data on rejected users are not included in Table 3-1.
 


Chapter 4.    One Hundred and Fifty Experienced Marijuana Users


APPROXlMATELY 750 QUESTIONNAIRES were sent out. Of those returned by the cutoff date several months later, three were rejected because of high scores on the validity scale, as explained earlier, and several others were rejected because the respondent indicated that he had been intoxicated with marijuana while he was filling out the questionnaire. A number of partially completed questionnaires were also returned with notes that they were just too long for the user to complete. Verbal comments by students around campus also indicated that the primary reason they had not completed the questionnaire was its length. One hundred and fifty usable questionnaires were left. Thus the 150 respondent users are a verbal lot, sufficiently motivated to help science that they would fill out a lengthy questionnaire.
    As the data below will indicate, this is primarily a young, student population. How representative it is of any other specific population is unknown.[1] As the primary purpose of the present study was to discover the major experiential effects of marijuana intoxication, to study the effects of some important background variables, and to specify the range of phenomena, rather than produce exact figures for a specified population, this lack of knowledge about the generality of the present sample is not a serious drawback. Again, however, the reader should be cautioned against overgeneralizing the exact figures presented later.
    Some further comments should be made about generalization of the effects in this study to other populations. In terms of the model for drug intoxication effects presented earlier, it is clear that the intellectual level, social learnings and expectations, and values of a given population may strongly affect what they will experience during marijuana intoxication. The present sample is highly educated (in college or already graduated) and intelligent, is coping successfully with modern American culture (by virtue of most being in college or holding down a Job), and thus may be fairly representative of what Americans who have made a fair adaptation to the Establishment may experience when intoxicated with marijuana. It probably is poorly representative of what happens when slum dwellers, depressed minority groups, or people in different cultures use marijuana, or what happens when the mentally ill use marijuana. Remember, too, this is an experienced group, so the effects reported are not applicable to those who are just beginning to use marijuana.

IMPORTANT BACKGROUND VARIABLES

Area of Residence
    The residential area of the users was determined by inspection of the postmark on the returned questionnaire. The users were from California for the most part (67 percent), some from the East Coast of the United States (11 percent), and the remainder from various miscellaneous or undetermined locations.

Age

    Age was distributed as shown in Table 4-1. The vast majority of the users were in the 19-30 age range.
TABLE 4-1
AGE DISTRIBUTION
AGE RANGEPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    16 or younger1%
    17-1810%
    19-2023%
    21-2222%
    23-2416%
    25-3015%
    31-407%
    41-505%
    51 and older1%


Occupation

    Occupation was classified into six categories, shown in Table 4-2. The majority (67 percent) of the users were students, with academics and mental health professionals being the next largest classifications.
TABLE 4-2
OCCUPATION
OCCUPATIONPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    Students67 %
    Academics, Teachers7 %
    Mental Health Professionals6%
    Professionals, other5 %
    Non-professional15%
    Unclassifiable1 %

Note—The percentages in this table do not add up to
exactly 100% due to rounding errors and/or some
users' skipping the question.

Sex, Marriage, Offspring

    It was possible to identify 49 percent of the respondents as men and 27 percent as women. However, on a number of questionnaires in the first distributions, the blank for sex of the respondent had been inadvertently left off, so 23 percent of the users could not be classified. Of the whole group, 71 percent were single, 19 percent were married or living with a semi-permanent mate, 8 percent were divorced, and I percent were widowed. Most (81 percent) had no children.

Educational Level

    Table 4-3 shows the educational level of the users. This is a highly educated group, the vast majority having at least some college training and 21 percent having some graduate education.

Political Affiliations

    Table 4-4 presents the political affiliations of the users. Most indicated no affiliation or Democrat.
TABLE 4-3
EDUCATIONAL LEVEL
EDUCATIONAL LEVELPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    High school6%
    College, 2 years or less35%
    College, 4 years or less37%
    MA degree or some graduate training13 %
    PhD, EdD, or MD degree or graduate training
      beyond the MA level
8%
    Unclassifiable1 %


TABLE 4-4
POLITICAL AFFILIATION
POLITICAL AFFILIATIONPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    Democrat24%
    Republican5%
    Left-wing5%
    Right-wing0%
    Miscellaneous23%
    No political affiliation indicated43%


Religious Affiliation

    Religious affiliation is presented in Table 4-5. Most users did not give any affiliation. Of those who did, the psychedelic churches (i.e., those advocating the use of psychedelic drugs as part of their sacraments) such as Timothy Leary's League for Spiritual Discovery, and various Oriental religions, such as Subud, were almost as frequent as traditional affiliations.
TABLE 4-5
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATIONPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    Protestant11 %
    Catholic4%
    Jewish11 %
    Oriental, mystical5%
    Psychedelic churches7 %
    No affiliation60%


Arrests

    One question asked whether the users had ever been arrested and, if so, for what and whether they were convicted. Twenty-five users (17 percent) indicated they had been arrested, and the various offenses are summarized in Table 4-6.
TABLE 4-6
ENCOUNTERS WITH THE LAW
NUMBER OF USERS
TYPE OF OFFENSEARRESTEDCONVICTED

    Political and Nuisance Offenses63
    Traffic Violations & Parking Tickets54
    Drunkenness or Illegal Possession of Alcohol33
    Miscellaneous Misdemeanors41
    Third-degree Burglary10
    Possession of Marijuana52
    Selling Marijuana11

The category "Political and Nuisance Offenses" includes being arrested for participating in civil rights demonstrations, loitering, and trespassing.
    Five of the users had been arrested for possession of marijuana, and one for selling marijuana.
    All in all, the users are a generally law-abiding lot except for their use of marijuana.

Personal Growth

    The users were asked, "Do you regularly practice any sort of meditation or other non-drug discipline for spiritual or personal growth? If so, what?" The responses are tabulated in Table 4-7. Irregular or non-disciplined practices labeled "meditation" or "contemplation" by the users were put in the "informal meditation" category here.
TABLE 4-7
GROWTH PRACTICES
DISCIPLINEPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    Informal meditation16%
    Formal meditation, oriental form13%
    Formal meditation, occidental form3%
    Conventional psychotherapy2%
    New therapies (encounter, Gestalt, etc.)5%
    Other disciplines5%
    None57%

Note.—The percentages in this table do not add up to
exactly 100% due to rounding errors and/or some
users' skipping the question.

Marijuana Use

    A number of questions dealt with the overall use of marijuana by the group. Responses to "How long have you been smoking pot or hash?" are presented in the first column of Table 4-8. Most of the users have smoked marijuana from one to two years, but some have used it for more than eleven years. If we take the midpoint of each category (assume fifteen years for the eleven-plus category), this group of users represents a total of 421 years of marijuana use.
    The users were asked their average frequency of use in all the time they had used marijuana. Users with less than six months' experience were Instructed to skip this question. Monthly or Weekly use are the modal patterns in this group, as shown in Table 4-9. By an approximation, described fully in Chapter 5, these figures may be combined with length-of-use figures to give an estimate that this group of 150 users has used marijuana approximately 37,000 times altogether.
    Asked for their frequency of use in the preceding six months (the time base over which effects were to be rated), the users replied as shown in the second column of Table 4-9, with Monthly and Weekly use still being the modal responses. The Total and Last Six Month frequencies of use do not differ significantly from each other. The respondents use marijuana about as often now as they ever did.
TABLE 4-8
USE OF MARIJUANA AND ALCOHOL
LENGTH OF USEMARIJUANA
PERCENTAGE OF USERS
ALCOHOL
PERCENTAGE OF USERS(a)

    </=6 months[b]3%3%
    </=1year21%2%
    </=2 years34%7%
    </=3 years19%14%
    </=4years6%11%
    </=5 years4%10%
    6 to 10 years5%17%
    11 years or longer6%21%
    Never used alcohol13%
    No response2%3%

(a) The percentages in this column do not add up to exactly 100%
due to rounding errors and/or some users' skipping the question(s).
(b) </= means less than or equal to.

TABLE 4-9
FREQUENCY OF USE OF MARIJUANA AND ALCOHOL
MARIJUANAALCOHOL
FREQUENCY OF USETOTAL
PERCENTAGE
OF USERS
LAST 6 MOS.
PERCENTAGE
OF USERS
TOTAL
PERCENTAGE
OF USERS
LAST 6 MOS.
PERCENTAGE
OF USERS

    Occasionally7%11%33%40%
    Once/month or more35%28%34%26%
    Once/week or more40%42%21%12%
    Almost every day or more16%19%2%7%
    No response3%1%11%15%

Note.—The percentages in some columns of this table do not add up to
exactly 100% due to rounding errors and/or some users' skipping the question(s).

Other Drugs

    The users were asked how often they had used various major psychedelic drugs before starting to use marijuana, after starting to use marijuana, and during the last six months. Table 4-10 presents this data. The category "psychedelics" was presented on the questionnaire as including LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and DET (diethyltryptamine). Other drugs are listed separately.
TABLE 4-10
FREQUENCY OF USE OF OTHER DRUGS
BEFORE USING
MARIJUANA
AFTER USING
MARIJUANA
IN LAST SIX
MONTHS



TIMES USEDTIMES USEDTIMES USED
DRUG  0 1-56+  0 1-56+  0 1-56+

Psychedelics76%15%3%27%38%31%51%33%11%
Exotic Psychedelics:
    STP (DOM)49%3%0%45%7%0%45%7%0%
    MDA49%3%0%46%5%1%45%7%0%
    PEACE48%3%0%46%4%1%44%6%1%
Amphetamines or Methedrine
    (orally)58%8%6%35%22%15%42%15%15%
    (injection)51%3%0%47%4%3%50%3%0%
Hard Narcotics30%1%1%25%5%3%25%7%0%

Note.—The percentages in this table do not add up to exactly 100% due
to rounding errors and/or some users' skipping the question(s).

    With chi-square analyses of the distributions, the respondents have used major psychedelic drugs and oral amphetamines[2] more frequently since starting to use marijuana (p < .001 for each comparison). Contrary to popular myth, use of hard narcotics is quite low and does not show a statistically significant increase from before to after marijuana use.

Psychedelic Drugs and Marijuana

    The users were asked, "Do you think your experiences (if any) with any of these other psychedelic drugs have affected or changed the quality of your experiences with pot? If yes, how?" Twenty-eight percent of the users replied that there had been no change in their marijuana experiences as a result of taking other drugs, 26 percent that normal marijuana phenomena were more vivid or could be experienced more easily, 12 percent that new experiences were possible on marijuana that were not available before, and 3 percent that their marijuana experiences were not as satisfactory or enjoyable any longer. Differences in marijuana effects between users and non-users of psychedelic drugs will be investigated in detail in later chapters.

Marijuana and Alcohol

    The 150 users were asked, for comparison purposes, "How long have you been drinking alcoholic beverages in sufficient quantity to change your consciousness (i.e., drinking to get 'tipsy' or drunk rather than just having a little wine or beer with meals for the taste)?" The second column of Table 4-8 presents their replies. The respondents have clearly been using alcohol to alter their state of consciousness much longer than marijuana (p < .001), a difference that may represent desirability, but more likely represents the easier availability of alcohol to young people at the time the respondents were growing up.
    The users were also asked about their frequency of use of alcohol for changing their state of consciousness, and this data is presented in the third and fourth columns of Table 4-9. For both total use and usage in the last six months, marijuana has been used more frequently (p < .001 in each case).
    To further investigate feelings of preference for marijuana and alcohol for altering consciousness, the users were asked, "If pot were as available legally as alcohol, about what percentage of the time would you choose alcohol to alter your state of consciousness rather than pot?" Table 4-11 shows that the users generally would choose marijuana in a free-choice situation. Supporting this is a suggestive tendency (p < .10) for the respondents to be using alcohol less frequently in the last six months than in their total alcohol-drinking career.
TABLE 4-11
USE OF ALCOHOL RATHER THAN MARIJUANA
PERCENT OF TIMES ALCOHOL WOULD BE
CHOSEN RATHER THAN MARIJUANA
  PERCENTAGE OF USERS

0%, Never43%
</=25%37%
</=50%13%
</=75%2%
</=100%3%

Note.—The percentages in this table do not add up to exactly
100% due to rounding errors and/or some users' skipping the question.

SUMMARY

    In general, we may describe our 150 users as a predominantly young, highly educated group of California college students, with a high interest in self-improvement (meditation or therapy), considerable experience
    with other psychedelic drugs, and little experience with narcotics. Most of them used marijuana once a week or more during the six-month period covered by this study.

Footnotes

    1. It is my personal impression from informal and teaching contact with many students that the sample, while rather avant garde for 1968, would be fairly typical now. A Gallup poll taken as this book went to press reported that 42 percent of college students polled said they had used marijuana, compared with only 5 percent when the same question was asked in 1967 (see Newsweek, January 25, 1971, p. 52).
    2. In retrospect, asking about oral amphetamines was poorly done, as the question does not distinguish the typical college student who uses low doses to help himself study from the high-dose user who wishes to radically alter his state of consciousness.


Chapter 5.    Methods of Analysis


ALL OF THE CHAPTERS in Part II, Phenomenology of Marijuana Intoxication, are organized along the same general plan, for the convenience of the reader. I shall outline the basic plan, give definitions of terms, and present descriptions of methods here.

BASIC PLAN

General Format


    Each chapter consists of the results of potential effect descriptions (questions, items) dealing with a single area, such as vision, thought processes, etc. Within each chapter are subgroupings of related questions.
    For each question I have given: (1) the actual wording used in the questionnaire; (2) the percentage[1] of users responding in each of the frequency of occurrence and minimal level of intoxication categories; and (3) differences in the effect related to the background variables when such differences were statistically significant.
    When the wording of a question does not completely explain the nature of the effect, I have added explanatory comments, based on my interviews with pilot subjects and informants. Many effects deal with areas of knowledge that are not generally well known even among scientists, such as those concerning meditation or ostensible paranormal phenomena, so I have given literature references to guide the reader seeking more understanding. I have tried to avoid speculation and interpretation as much as possible and to stick to the basic findings.
    Each chapter also contains a section on additional effects, a ranking of effects according to increasing minimal levels of intoxication, a summary of background factors modulating the effects, and a general summary.

Terminology

    It is impossible to write about these phenomena in a readable style without using descriptive adjectives. To avoid the ambiguity usually inherent in quantity adjectives, I have used a standard set of them, which are defined in Table 5-1. Whenever other adjectives than those defined are used, I am speaking generally rather than describing the exact form of the data.
    To illustrate: if an intoxication effect is described as "very characteristic" and "primarily beginning to occur at Moderate levels," this indicates that more than 50 percent of the users rated this effect as occurring Very Often or Usually when they have been intoxicated in the last six months, and my judgment of the distribution of responses on minimal levels of intoxication is that the Moderate ("Fairly Stoned") level is the most representative[2] level indicated.
 
TABLE 5-1
DEFINITION OF TERMS
TERMDEFINITION

Frequency of Occurrence Terms   
  "Rare">/=75% indicate Never, Rarely
  "Infrequent">/=50% indicate Never, Rarely
  "Fairly Frequent"</=50% indicate Sometimes, Very Often, Usually[a]
  "Common">/=50% indicate Sometimes, Very Often, Usually
  "Very Common">/=75% indicate Sometimes, Very Often, Usually
  "Characteristic"50% indicate Very Often, Usually
      "Characteristic"Bottom third of distribution
      "More Characteristic"Middle third of distribution
      "Very Characteristic"
      "Most Characteristic"Top third of distribution
      "Extremely Characteristic"
Levels of Intoxication Terms 
  "Low"Questionnaire term Just
  "Moderate"Questionnaire term Fairly
  "Strong"Questionnaire term Strongly
  "Very Strong" ("Very High")Questionnaire term Very Strongly
  "Maximum" ("Very High")Questionnaire term Maximum

a. Infrequent and Fairly Frequent are not always identical in practice
    because of variable numbers of users skipping particular questions.

Linking

    Many pairs or sets of question called for statistical comparison because of obvious similarity or because they described converse effects. This was always done by a chi-square test of the distributions. I have usually presented graphical results when they would be illustrative, as well as the probability figures.
    Many other links exist that I have not analyzed in the text. The reader interested in particular comparisons may perform such analyses himself from the percentage data presented for each item. Only slight errors will result from using percentages rather than the raw data I worked from.

Background Variables

    The background information on the first page of the questionnaire was used to divide the users into a number of groups, and every question was subjected to a chi-square analysis for differences in the distributions among the groups. Only significant (p < .05) differences are presented in the text.
    The groups compared were as follows:
    Males versus females. Forty-nine percent of the users were men, 27 percent women. The remainder were not used in male-female comparisons because this question was inadvertently left off some of the questionnaires.
    Older and younger users were defined as those 25 years of age or older versus those from 16 to 24.
    Educational Level was compared for the College-educated (at least some college up to and including bachelor's degree or equivalent) versus the Professionals (graduate training or master's or doctor's degrees). The users with only a high school education were too few (6 percent) to constitute a group for valid analysis and so were omitted from the educational level comparison.
    Frequency of use of marijuana in the last six months was broken into three groups: the Occasional user ("occasional" or "less than once/month" on the questionnaire), the Weeklyuser ("once/week or more"), and the Daily user ("almost every day or more"). With a three-way classification, it was found that some of the frequency and intoxication level categories had to be combined to avoid having too many cells with low expected frequencies for the chi-square tests,[3] so all analyses with three-way classifications were done against frequencies of Never, Rarely/Sometimes, and Very Often/Usually. Similarly, levels were uniformly condensed into Just, Fairly/Strongly, and Very Strongly/Maximum.
    Because a given degree of marijuana use in the last six months might mean different things for one user who had followed that pattern for ten years and for another who had used it for just one year, a three-way analysis was also made for total marijuana use. Categories were Heavy Total users, Moderate Total users, and Light Total users. These categories were obtained in the following way. Using the number of uses per month as a basic unit, the self-rated frequency of use over the user's whole use-history was assigned the value of 20/month ("almost every day or more"), 8/month ("once/week or more") or 2/month ("once/month or more" plus "occasionally"). Total length of time in years that the users had used marijuana was weighted as I for one year or less, 2.25 for three years or less, and 6 for more than three years.
    The combinations of these weightings are shown in Table 5-2. They fell into three natural groupings, which were designated the Heavy (21 percent of the users), Moderate (44 percent), and Light (32 percent) Total users. A few users did not provide enough information to be classified.
    Users and Non-users of Psychedelics were classified on the basis of whether they had ever used LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), diethyltryptamine (DET), STP (2, 5dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine), MDA (3, 4-methylene dioxy-amphetamine) or PEACE (a street drug supposed to contain phencyclidines, such as we legitimately market under the trade name Ketamine or Sernyl). Seventy-two percent of the users had tried at least one of these powerful psychedelic drugs at least once.
TABLE 5-2
DIVISION FOR TOTAL MARIJUANA USE:
WEIGHTING FACTORS
FREQUENCY OF USING
MARIJUANA IN TOTAL
USE PERIOD
LENGTH OF TIME MARIJUANA HAS BEEN USED

ONE YEAR
OR LESS
THREE YEARS
OR LESS
FOUR OR MORE
YEARS

    Almost every day2045120
    Once a week or more81848
    Once a month or more
      or occasionally
24.512

Light Total Use: figures in italics
Heavy Total Use: figures in boldface

    The final background analysis, dealing with commitment to personal growth, divided the users into Meditators, the Therapy and Growth Group, and Ordinary Users. Meditators were so classified if they indicated that they regularly practiced some form of meditation. They comprised 16 percent of the users. The Therapy and Growth group were those who indicated they had been in regular psychotherapy (2 percent) or the new growth-oriented therapies (5 percent), such as Gestalt therapy (Perls, Hefferline, & Goodman, 1951) or encounter groups (Schutz, 1967). Ordinary users may have tried meditation exercises or the like occasionally, but did not indicate any regular, systematic approach to personal growth as the other two groups did.

Additional Effects

    This section includes any further phenomena, volunteered by the users at the end of the questionnaire, that were not already covered in one of the regular questions. These have not been included in any tabulations or analyses, and are added in each chapter to further indicate the range of effects.

Levels of Intoxication

    Except when there are too few effects of a given type to warrant it, each chapter has all the effects discussed ordered by the representative minimal level of intoxication. Categories are the five divisions of level of the questionnaire (Just, Fairly, Strongly, Very Strongly, Maximum) and levels halfway between these. Relevant effects from other chapters also appear in the graphs.
    Within each level, effects are ordered in terms of the arithmetic mean of the intoxication levels reported, from lowest at the bottom to highest at the top. Within a level, chi-square tests of the distributions practically never reach significance. Overall differences in levels for the phenomena of a particular chapter were tested by a chi-square test using the lowest level (by arithmetic mean) effect within each level category as the entry for that level. They were usually extremely significant.
    Variations in type style are also used in these graphs to indicate the frequency of occurrence of an effect. Characteristic phenomena are in bold capital letters, common are in bold lower case, infrequent (fairly frequent is combined with infrequent here) in small capitals, and rare phenomena are set in capitals with lower case letters. Thus if one wants to know what is very likely to happen at various levels for a given category of phenomena, one can look only at the characteristic or common effects (in boldface). If one wants to flesh this out with what may also happen if psychological factors assume the correct values, all the phenomena may be looked at.
    I have occasionally inserted question marks after particular phenomena on the graphs, indicating that comments of informants raise some doubts as to its fitting into the minimal level model, i.e., it may cease to be available after some higher level.

Modulating Factors

    Each chapter contains a table summarizing the effects of all significant background factors. I have combined the categories of frequency of use of marijuana in the last six months, total marijuana use, and psychedelic drug use into a single category of more drug experience for convenience here. The reader who needs these separated can go back to the original item descriptions in the text.
    Almost all background variables had relatively linear effects. Where they did not, the text in this section mentions the fact, and they are not included in the table.

Statistical Notes

    In addition to the various statistical considerations mentioned above, it should be realized that about 5 percent of the significant differences reported herein are due only to chance, i.e., are not really reflecting a genuine effect. In the many thousands of comparisons made in this large mass of data, 5 percent will come out at the .05 level of probability by chance alone. I debated on whether to try to eliminate these false positives, but the only way would be by the criterion of whether the differences "made sense" to me. Rather than impose my judgment on the data, I have let it stand. As the main purpose of this study is to stimulate research rather than provide final answers on the nature of marijuana intoxication, these occasional false positives will be weeded out by lack of confirmation in future studies.

Footnotes

    1. I have generally used percentages rather than actual numbers for clarity of presentation, All statistical tests, however, were performed on the raw data to avoid the slight rounding errors involved in using percentages.
    2. While it would have been possible to assign the intoxication levels the values 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 and use the arithmetic mean as the average value, I did not want to make the questionable assumption of equal intervals between categories. Also, many of the distributions were highly skewed, so I would judge the most representative intoxication level as half-way between two of the defined levels. In practice, a correlation between my judgments and arithmetic means would be extremely high. 
    3. The technical question of how many cells in a chi-square table can have expected frequencies below a certain value is still hotly debated in the psychological literature. Rather than arbitrarily combine the data on every question in ways to eliminate low expected values, I have used the uniform rules above, plus the rule, used only rarely, that in any chi-square table with more than four cells having expected frequencies of less than five I would combine whichever end category eliminated the largest number of low cells with the adjacent category, i.e., Never or Just with Rarely or Fairly, etc. If this was not sufficient, the analysis was thrown out. Allowing as many as four cells to have low expected values is a fairly liberal position, but seemed appropriate in an initial exploration of an important area.



Chapter 6.    Vision


MAN IS PRIMARILY a visual animal, both in terms of vision's being his primary and generally most efficient way of perceiving his environment, and in terms of visual styles' influencing his thinking, imagining, and conceptualizing. Changes in visual experience while intoxicated on marijuana are thus of particular interest. We shall first consider phenomena related to visual perception of the external world, then those related to visual imagery and hallucinations.

PERCEIVING THE EXTERNAL WORLD

Form and Organization

    A very characteristic effect of marijuana intoxication is increased perceptual organization ("meaningfulness"): "I can see patterns, forms, figures, meaningful designs in visual material that does not have any particular form when I'm straight, that is just a meaningless series of shapes or lines when I 'm straight" (6%, 6%, 29%, 37%, 19%).[1] The modal minimal level of intoxication for this is Strongly (3%, 25%, 37%, 17%, 5%). The College-educated experience this more frequently than the Professionals (p <.05). 
Figure 6-1. PERCEIVED FOCUS OF THE VISUAL FIELD
Note.—In interpreting the "How Stoned" graphs, note that the percentage of users plotted at each level is the percentage indicating that level as their minimal level of intoxication for experiencing that particular effect. Thus. a drop in the curve with increasing minimal level of intoxication does not mean that fewer users experience that effect at higher levels. but that fewer give a higher level as their minimal level for experiencing that effect.

    A common effect that also reflects this increased perceptual organization of the visual field is "Things seen are seen more sharply in that their edges, contours stand out more sharply against the background" (13%, 13%, 31%, 30%, 11%). The contrary effect, "My vision tends to be somewhat blurry; if I try to examine something visually, I can't focus as sharply as when straight" (32%, 29%, 25%, 9%, 3%) occurs much less frequently (p <.001), as shown in Figure 6-1. Blurriness of vision is associated with higher levels of intoxication (1%, 13%, 18%, 21%, 11%) than sharpening (6%, 41%, 24%, 10%, 2%), as shown in the figure (p <.001).
    Visual blurriness is reported somewhat more frequently by women than by men (p <.05), and is reported as occurring at lower minimal levels of intoxication by Occasional users in comparison to Weekly or Daily users (p <.05, overall).
    A fairly frequent effect that also illustrates reorganization of the visual field is "The face of another person will change even as I watch it, so he keeps changing from one different person to another" (36%, 21%, 23%, 11%, 6%). This is a high-level effect (2%, 3%, 11%, 19%, 17%), although many (47 percent) users did not rate level. Users of Psychedelics experience it more frequently than Non-users (p <.01). Meditators experience it more frequently than Ordinary Users (p < .05), with neither group significantly differing from the Therapy and Growth group. 
 
Figure 6-2. PERCEIVED COLORS WHEN STONED

Color

    Like form, color is an important aspect of visual organization, and perceptual changes here are common: "I see new colors or more subtle shades of color than when I'm straight" (10%, 18%, 30%, 19%, 21%). The contrary effect, "Colors get duller, not as vivid," is rare (62%, 23%, 8%, 3%, 1%), as shown in Figure 6-2 (p <.001). Color perception is enhanced at low levels of intoxication (17%, 31%, 27%, 7%, 4%). Most users (67 percent) could not rate the minimal level for color dulling (6%, 13%, 6%, 5%, 3%), and this distribution of levels does not differ significantly from that reported for color enhancement.
    The Therapy and Growth group tends not to see new colors as frequently as the Meditators and Ordinary Users (p <.05, overall). The Professionals have to be more intoxicated than the College-educated for colors to get duller (p <.05).

Depth

    An important element of visual organization is the dimension of perceived depth. Four items deal with changes in perceived depth. We shall describe each separately before considering their interrelationships.     A common effect is "When I look at pictures they may acquire an element of visual depth, a third-dimensional aspect that they don't have when straight" (13%, 12%, 34%, 23%, 15%), which begins in the low-middle range of intoxication (4%, 26%, 32%, 12%, 7%). One of my informants, known for his excellent phenomenological description of marijuana intoxication (Anonymous, 1969), describes how dramatic this can be: if, while intoxicated, you look at a color photograph or picture postcard of a scene with natural depth in it, and look with one eye through a pin-hole close enough to the picture so that its borders cannot be seen, the two-dimensional representation will suddenly turn into three dimensions, as if you were looking at the actual scene. 
    A converse and rare depth effect is "The world looks flat: it lacks the third dimension of depth" (55%, 27%, 9%, 5%, 1%). Most users (61 percent) did not rate the intoxication level for this (4%, 8%, 15%, 7%, 5%).
    A fairly frequent depth effect is "Visual depth perception changes, so that near objects seem much nearer and far objects seem much further away" (32%, 19%, 29%, 11%, 5%), what might be called a magnification of visual depth. This is reported as occurring in the higher intoxication levels (1%, 14%, 25%, 17%, 6%).
    The visual depth magnification effect seems to be a long-term effect, persisting steadily over time, compared to an infrequent effect that might be termed a visual depth jiggle: "Objects or people may seem to get visually nearer or further as I look at them without their actually moving at all" (39%, 23%, 21%, 10%, 5%). Many users (46 percent) did not rate the intoxication level for this (2%, 9%, 17%, 19%, 7%), although it is generally perceived at higher levels. Experience with using marijuana modulates this effect, whether factored in terms of total use or frequency of use in the last six months. Both Moderate Total users and Weekly users need to be more intoxicated for this experience than Light or Heavy Total users in the one case (p <.05) or Occasional or Daily users in the other case (p <.01). 
Figure 6-3. DEPTH PERCEPTION
Note.—For guide to interpreting the "How Stoned" graph,
see note on Figure 6-1.

    All four of these intoxication effects on visual depth perception are compared in Figure 6-3. The illusion of depth in flat pictures and the general magnification of depth both occur more frequently than the world's appearing flat or the depth's changing even as the user looks (jiggling) (p < < <.001), and the jiggling of perceived depth requires a higher intoxication level (p <.02).

Centrality

    Two common phenomena represent an increased centrality of vision, enhancement of the focused object at the expense of peripheral objects: "Things outside the center of my visual field, things in the periphery of my vision look different when I'm not looking directly at them than when I look directly at them. E.g., I might see a door as open when I'm not looking directly at it, but when I look directly at it, it is closed" (19%, 21%, 32%, 19%, 7%) and "My visual perception of the space around me is changed, so that what I'm looking at is very real and clear, but everything else I'm not focusing on visually seems further away or otherwise less real or clear" (23%, 15%, 27%, 19%, 13%). Both have a modal level of intoxication of Strongly (3%, 23%, 29%, 17%, 5% and 4%, 17%, 25%, 17%, 6%, respectively). Neither the frequency of occurrence nor level of intoxication distributions differ for these effects. 
    Several background factors affect whether things in the periphery change. Younger users and Non-users of Psychedelics report this phenomenon as occurring more frequently (p<.05, p <.01, respectively) compared to Older users and Users of Psychedelics. Further, Users of Psychedelics are more variable in their ratings for this than Non-users (p <.05) and generally require higher levels of intoxication.
    With respect to increased centrality of vision, Daily and Weekly users must be more intoxicated than Occasional users (p <.05, overall).

Sensuality, Aliveness

    Another common phenomenon is "There is a sensual quality to vision, as if I were 'touching' the objects or people I am looking at" (22%, 16%, 31%, 19%, 9%), which occurs at higher levels of intoxication (5%, 14%, 23%, 25%, 5%). This is reported more frequently among the College-educated than among the Professionals (p <.05). This effect is also reported most frequently among the Heavy Total users (modal frequency category is Very Often/Usually), next most frequently by the Moderate Total users, and least frequently by the Light Total users (p <.01 for the Heavy-Moderate, p <.01 for the Heavy-Light comparison, Moderate-Light not differing significantly). Further, the Moderate and Light Total use groups report higher minimal levels of intoxication for this than the Heavy group (p <.05, overall).
    The final infrequent effect on perceiving the external world is "Everything I look at seems to vibrate or pulse, as if it had a life of its own" (23%, 31%, 29%, 8%, 7%), which occurs at the higher intoxication levels (1%, 5%, 15%, 23%, 19%). Users of Psychedelics report a higher level of intoxication (mode at Maximum) for this than Non-users (p <.05).

VISUAL IMAGERY AND HALLUCINATION

Imagery

    A very characteristic phenomenon is enhanced visual imagery: "If I try to visualize something, form a visual image, I see it in my mind's eye more intensely, more sharply than when straight" (12%, 3%, 22%, 25%, 35%). This begins occurring in the low-middle ranges of intoxication (13%, 33%, 24%, 11%, 3%).
    A specific illustration of this is the common effect, "I have more imagery than usual while reading; images of the scenes I'm reading about just pop up vividly" (15%, 11%, 24%, 27%, 15%), which also occurs at the lower levels of intoxication (13%, 33%, 22%, 4%, 2%). The Weekly users have to be somewhat more intoxicated to experience this than the Occasional users (p <.05), with a suggestion that the Daily users do not have to be as intoxicated as the Weekly users (p < .10). While the general enhancement of visual imagery occurs more frequently than visual imagery accompanying reading (p <.01), the distribution of levels of intoxication does not differ significantly.
    A related phenomenon, described fully in Chapter 15, "When thinking about things while stoned, there are visual images that just automatically go along with thinking," a very common effect, which occurs at Moderate levels of intoxication.

Auras

    Two frequent phenomena stand midway between perceptual alteration of real phenomena and hallucination: "I see fringes of colored light around objects (not people), what people have called the 'aura'" (46%, 21%, 20%, 8%, 1%), and "I see fringes of colored light around people (not objects), what people have called the 'aura"' (50%, 23%, 19%, 5%, 1%).[2] Many users (57 percent, 59 percent, respectively) did not rate the level of intoxication for this, but for those who did, it was generally rated in the highest ranges (1%, 4%, 15%, 10%, 13%, and 3%, 2%, 9%, 12%, 15%, respectively).
    Seeing an aura around objects is somewhat more common in the Younger group than in the Older group (p <.05); more common in Heavy Total users of marijuana than in Moderate (p <.05) and Light Total users (p <.05); more common in Users of Psychedelics than in Non-users (p <.05). Seeing auras around people is also more frequent in Users than in Non-users of Psychedelics (p <.001).

Hallucination

    Pure visual hallucination is an infrequent phenomenon: "With my eyes open, I can see things that aren't there, i.e., for which there is no real visual basis. E.g., if you look at stains on a wall and see a design, that's an illusion; you are altering something there. This question deals with seeing something when there's nothing there, such as seeing a pattern or object on a perfectly blank wall" (33%, 23%, 27%, 7%, 9%). Although many (45 percent) users did not rate intoxication level, when it does occur this is a high-level phenomenon (1%, 6%, 10%, 20%, 18%). It is reported more frequently in the Younger Group (p <.01), and more frequently in the Heavy and Moderate Total use groups compared to the Light Total use group (p < .05 overall).

ADDITIONAL EFFECTS

    A number of users wrote in additional visual effects in the final part of the questionnaire.
    Three users mentioned stroboscopic effects on vision: (1) "Old-time movie effect, where people move in phases as in a movie running too slow" (Sometimes, Strongly); (2) "I see in frames like a movie, only slowed down" (Rarely, Strongly); and (3) "Vision distorted as if seeing world with big strobe light flickering overhead" (Sometimes, Maximum).
    "I see movement in things that I focus on, a matchbook cover with a geometrical design shifted like a light show movie; the more stoned, the bigger they are of movement" (Sometimes, Fairly).
    "I find a continuum which starts with things' being two-dimensional and progressing to deep three-dimensional. I find I can stop anywhere on it" (Usually, Maximum).
    "I can see the texture of the air in little swirling dots" (Usually, Just).
    "Things inanimate, like a pile of clothes, seem to come to life;" (Sometimes, Strongly).
    "Much more fun to watch color TV or newscasts" (Sometimes, Fairly).
    "Am able to see mythical, angel-like creatures, which seem to be personal spirits" (Rarely, Maximum).
    "Figure-ground shifts become more frequent and easier to control when stoned" (Sometimes, Strongly).
    "I get more, and more pronounced, afterimages" (Rarely, Strongly).
    "Aesthetic perception augmented re Cezzane [sic]: see interview with Allen Ginsberg, Paris Review #37" (no specification of frequency or levels).

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR VISUAL PHENOMENA

    The grouping of visual phenomena by intoxication levels is presented in Figure 6-4 and is highly significant (p <<< .0005). At the lowest levels, vision may sharpen up, patterns may appear, and colors may be affected. Further up, visual imagery is enhanced, and vision may become more central with depth magnified. Between Strongly and Very Strongly intoxicated, a sensual quality is frequently added to vision, and the external visual world may become unstable, with blurring and jiggling in depth. As one goes higher, vision may pulse, faces may change, auras may appear around objects, and at the highest level the maximal alteration of the visual world may occur with hallucinations and auras aroundpeople.[3]
FIGURE 6-4. INTOXICATION LEVELS, VISUAL PHENOMENA
Just       Fairly   Strongly Very
Strongly
Maximum

Type size code:
CHARACTERISTIC
COMMON
INFREQUENT
Rare
AURAS AROUND PEOPLE
HALLUCINATIONS
FACES CHANGE
PULSING OF VISION
AURAS AROUND OBJECTS
BLURRINESS
JIGGLING OF DEPTH
SENSUAL QUALITY TO VISION
DEPTH MAGNIFIED
MORE CENTRALITY OF VISION
Flat quality to the world
PERIPHERAL VISION CHANGES
PATTERNS, MEANING IN AMBIGUOUS MATERIAL
THIRD DIMENSION ADDED TO PICTURES
VISUAL IMAGES AUTOMATICALLY ACCOMPANY THOUGHT
VISUAL IMAGERY MORE VIVID
NEW SHADES OF COLOR
VIVID IMAGERY WHILE READING
colors get duller
CONTOURS GET SHARPER

Just       Fairly   Strongly Very
Strongly
Maximum

MODULATING FACTORS

    Table 6-1 summarizes the effects of background factors that have relatively linear effects. Imagery automatically accompanying reading and visual jiggle appear to have a curvilinear relationship to drug experience, occurring more frequently and at lower levels of intoxication with moderate experience than with little or much experience.
    In general, more drug experience goes with sensuality and unusual visual experiences, and with more intoxication required for the possibly undesirable effects of blurriness and pulsing of vision.
TABLE 6-1
EFFECTS OF BACKGROUND FACTORS ON VISION
BACKGROUND FACTORSEFFECTS
More Drug ExperienceMore frequent:
    Sensuality of vision
    Auras, objects
    Auras, people
    Hallucinations
    Face changes
More intoxicated for:
    Blurriness
    Pulsing of vision
    Peripheral vision changes
    More centrality of vision
Less frequent:
    Peripheral vision changes
 
 
 
 
Less intoxicated for:
    Sensuality of vision
 
 
 
Older Less frequent:
    Peripheral vision changes
    Auras, objects
    Hallucinations
More educated 
 
More intoxicated for:
    Colors duller
Less frequent:
    Patterns in ambiguity
    Sensuality of vision
Males Less frequent:
    Blurriness
MeditationMore frequent:
    Face changes
 
Therapy & Growth Less frequent:
    New colors

SUMMARY

    In general, the specific changes in visual perception brought about by marijuana intoxication may be seen as particular manifestations of a general change in what we might call the visual pattern-making process. It is common to assume that we passively "see" what is out there, that the qualities of the visual world are inherent in the physical properties of objects and space. Modern psychological investigations have made it clear that seeing is a very active and complex process in which we construct the visual world from the flux of visual sensations reaching us. That is, patterns, forms, objects, recognizable people, etc. exist in our minds as a construction from visual data. We are so used to doing this automatically that it seems as if the visual world were given. This active nature of visual perception is true of all sensory modalities.
    The patterns that are formed from visual data are organized into a degree of complexity and familiarity that is optimal for surviving in the world around us. Detecting a potential predator concealed in some bushes has survival value; seeing a potential predator in every ambiguous visual input is not conducive to survival of the organism. Thus we may conceive of some optimal level (actually a dynamic range)[4] of patternmaking activity, of organization of ambiguous (and not so ambiguous) visual data into meaningful percepts. Raise this level too high and we have illusion or hallucination. Lower this level too much and we have stupidity.
    Marijuana intoxication seems to raise the level a fair amount, more so with increasing levels of intoxication. Thus patterns form from ambiguous material, contours are sharpened, central visual phenomena are enhanced at the expense of peripheral phenomena, depth is magnified and more subtle shades of color are perceived. With eyes closed, visual imagery is enhanced.
    Such a raising of level of the patterning mechanism is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it may genuinely result in perceiving useful patterns and meanings that would have been overlooked. On the other hand, meaning may be falsely attributed to phenomena that have no such meaning. Many users seem to be aware of this combined advantage-disadvantage of marijuana intoxication and to compensate for it by requiring more data than usual before making a judgment or carrying out a consequent action. Others naively accept everything seen while intoxicated as true. This same dual aspect of raising the level of patternmaking activity applies, of course, to all sense modalities and cognitive processes.
    Whether the proportion of naiveté and sophistication is any different from that of ordinary people in everyday life is a moot question.
   

Footnotes

    1. For all items, frequency of occurrence data is always presented in the order Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Very Often, Usually, and intoxication level data in the order Just, Fairly, Strongly, Very Strongly, Maximum. These will not always add up to 100 percent because of variable numbers of respondents' skipping various questions and/or rounding errors.
    2. Readers interested in this rather exotic effect may see Ellison (1962) and Kilner (1965). Most of the writing on this subject is mystical, but the above references do attempt some objective treatment of the phenomenon. (back)
    3. In general, intoxication effects that are two levels or more apart in this type Of graphical plot will be different enough to reach statistical significance. 
    4. The "optimal" level is quite situation-specific; depth jiggle, for example, may be quite amusing and enjoyable during a relaxed evening at home (safe conditions) but might be a pronounced disadvantage while working at some crucial task that required very accurate depth perception.


  Chapter 7.    Hearing


MAJOR EFFECTS

Acuity

    The most characteristic effect of marijuana intoxication is an auditory one: "I can hear more subtle changes in sounds; e.g., the notes of music are purer and more distinct, the rhythm stands out more" (1%, 0%, 4%, 25%, 70%), which is experienced very often or usually by almost all users and occurs at a low level of intoxication (27%, 51%, 17%, 3%, 0%).
    Two other items also deal with perceived auditory acuity. A very characteristic effect is "I can understand the words of songs which are not clear when straight" (4%, 10% , 20%, 29%, 37%), which also occurs at the lower levels of intoxication (19%, 45%, 25%, 5%, 1%). This is an experience clearly relevant to understanding rock music, which seems incomprehensible to many ordinary people. A rare effect on auditory acuity is "I have difficulty hearing things clearly; sounds are blurry and indistinct" (61%, 23%, 13%, 1%, 0%), a very high level effect (6%, 5%, 6%, 9%, 10%, but note that 64 percent could not rate this). The interrelationships between these three acuity effects are plotted in Figure 7-1. Hearing more subtle changes in sounds occurs more frequently than understanding the words of songs better (p <.001); and the latter effect, in turn, occurs more frequently than blurring of sounds (p <.001). Subtle changes in sounds and understanding songs have the same distribution of levels of intoxication, but the level for sound blurring is much higher than either of these phenomena (p <.001 in both cases). 
Figure 7-1. EXPERIENCED AUDITORY ACUITY
Note.—For guide to interpreting the "How Stoned" graph,
see note on Figure 6-1.

    One of the acuity phenomena is affected by background variables. Moderate Total use of marijuana is more frequently associated with understanding the words of songs better than Heavy Total use (p <.05), even though this is a very frequent phenomenon with Heavy Total users (mode at Very Often/Usually), with a suggestion (p <.10) that Light Total users also understand the words of songs better more frequently than Heavy Total users but do not differ from Moderate Total users. Users of Psychedelics also experience this more frequently than Non-users (p <.01).

Sound and Space

    Another very characteristic effect also relates to the user's perception of music: "When listening to stereo music or live music, the spatial separation between the various instruments sounds greater, as if they were physically further apart"(13%, 4%, 23%, 31%, 29%), which occurs at Moderate levels of intoxication (7%, 32%, 35%, 7%, 1%). A more extreme effect on the relation of sound to space, occurring less frequently (p <.01) and at higher levels (p <.001), as shown in Figure 7-2, is "With my eyes closed and just listening to sounds, the space around me becomes an auditory space, a place where things are arranged according to their sound characteristics instead of visual, geometrical characteristics" (16%, 13%, 25%, 19%, 21% and 7%, 18%, 25%, 17%, 7%). One user offered a rich example, which happened to him when listening to stereo music on headphones: "Ordinarily I tend to hear high sounds as located further up in my head than low ones, and, with stereo, the sounds move back and forth along an axis between my ears, giving a two-dimensional display. When I'm stoned, the sounds also move back and forward in my head, depending on their quality, so I experience a beautiful three-dimensional sound space. Overtones and complex notes 'twist' the space in an indescribable way." 
Figure 7-2. AUDITORY SPACE CHANCES
Note.—For guide to interpreting the "How Stoned" graph,
see note on Figure 6-1.
    Several background factors affect the experience of auditory space. Users of Psychedelics experience auditory space somewhat more often (p <.05) than Non-users. The College-educated need to be somewhat more intoxicated than the Professionals to experience it (p <.05). The Moderate Total users need to be more intoxicated than either the Light Total users (p <.05) or the Heavy Total users (p <.05), with the Light and Heavy Total users both peaking sharply at the Fairly/Strongly level. Meditators tend to rate all intoxication levels about equally and average a lower minimal level, while ordinary Users and the Therapy and Growth group peak sharply at the Fairly/Strongly level (p <.05, overall).

Auditory Imagery

    A common effect is imagery enhancement: "If I try to have an auditory image, hear something in my mind, remember a sound, it is more vivid than when straight" (16%, 7%, 26%, 27%, 20%), which occurs at Moderate levels of intoxication (9%, 33%, 27%, 7%, 3%). The Meditators and the Therapy and Growth group experience it less often than the ordinary users (p < .01, overall), as do the older users (p <.05). Further, Meditators report a somewhat higher level of intoxication for this experience than the other two groups (p <.05, overall). 

Hearing Your Own Voice

    One source of sound commonly heard to change by marijuana users is their own voices: "The sound quality of my own voice changes, so that I sound different to myself when I talk" (15%, 19%, 27%, 17%, 19%), mostly at the Strong level of intoxication (5%, 18%, 31%, 19%, 7%). Comments by my informants indicate that this is probably a perceptual change, not an actual change in voice quality. It occurs more frequently among the Younger group (p <.05).

Synesthesia

    One of the most exotic phenomena associated with drugs is synesthesia, the experience of another sensory modality than the one actually stimulating the person. Visual sensation in conjunction with auditory stimulation is a common effect of marijuana: "Sounds have visual images or colors associated with them, synchronized with them" (20%, 23%, 33%, 16%, 7%). It occurs at high levels of intoxication (1%, 10%, 25%, 19%, 19%). Males report having to be more intoxicated to experience synesthesia than females (p <.05).

ADDITIONAL EFFECTS

    A number of users offered additional effects on hearing.
    Two mentioned ringing sounds: (1) "Ringing in my ears" (Sometimes, Very Strongly), and (2) "There's a loud buzz sound, like airplane motors, filling the air" (Sometimes, Maximum).
    "When I listen to certain kinds of music (especially serious music) when stoned, it becomes incredibly more sensual and profound" (Sometimes, Maximum).
    "When listening to music, my mind can become completely absorbed by sound to the extent that my body is writhing, but entirely disconnected from my mind" (Sometimes, Very Strongly).
    "While chanting mantras, rhythmic continuity is more sensuous and secure" (no specification of frequency or level).
    "Admiration for the intrinsic knowledge musicians and composers have of the effect of their sounds on people's total being" (Very Often, Fairly).
FIGURE 7-3. INTOXICATION LEVELS, AUDIO PHENOMENA
Just       Fairly   Strongly   Very
Strongly
Maximum

Type size code:
CHARACTERISTIC
COMMON
INFREQUENT
Rare
 
Sounds blurry
SYNESTHESIA, VISUAL-AUDITORY
QUALITY OF OWN VOICE CHANGES
SPACE BECOMES AN AUDITORY SPACE
GREATER SPATIAL SEPARATION BETWEEN SOUND SOURCES
AUDITORY IMAGES MORE VIVID
UNDERSTAND THE WORDS OF SONGS BETTER
HEAR MORE SUBTLE CHANGES IN SOUND

Just       Fairly   Strongly Very
Strongly
Maximum

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR AUDITORY PHENOMENA

    Figure 7-3 orders the various auditory effects by level of intoxication. Overall differences are very significant (p<<< .0005). Experiential enhancement and enrichment of sounds appears at the very low levels of intoxication and progresses to vivid auditory images and changes in space perception in accordance with sound in the middle ranges of intoxication. Synesthesia may appear above this, and the rare effect of sounds' becoming blurry and indistinct may appear at the next-to-highest possible level.

MODULATING FACTORS

    Table 7-1 summarizes those background factors that have a relatively linear effect.
TABLE 7-1
EFFECTS OF BACKGROUND FACTORS ON HEARING
BACKGROUND FACTORSEFFECTS
More Drug ExperienceMore frequent:
    Auditory space
More intoxicated for:
    Auditory space
Less frequent:
    Understanding words
      of songs better
 
Meditation 
 
More intoxicated for:
    Auditroy imagery better
Less frequent:
    Auditory imagery better
Less intoxicated for:
    Auditory space
More educated Less intoxicated for:
    Auditory space
OlderMore frequent:
    Auditory imagery better
Less frequent:
    Own voice changes
MalesMore intoxicated for:
    Synesthesia
 
    Although several background factors have a relatively linear effect on the phenomenon of experiencing space as an auditory space, total marijuana use has a curvilinear effect. Moderate Total users have Very Strongly/Maximum indicated as the minimal level almost as frequently as Fairly/Strongly, while the Light and Heavy Total users peak sharply at Fairly/Strongly.
    Overall, auditory effects are infrequently affected by background factors.

SUMMARY

    In general we may note that effects on sound perception are some of the most characteristic effects of marijuana. Every effect here but one was at least common; one (subtle changes in sounds) was the most characteristic effect found in the entire study, and many others were characteristic. Further, all of these effects were perceived as emotionally pleasant or cognitively interesting, leading to greatly enhanced enjoyment of sound and music. The only exception was the blurring of sounds, which was one of the rarest effects in the study, occurring primarily at very high levels of intoxication, and was never experienced at all by most users.
    The earlier discussion (Chapter 6) about perception as an active pattern-making process is applicable here, as it is to all sensory modalities. A primary experiential effect of marijuana intoxication is to make slight, ordinarily unnoticed nuances of sounds into meaningful variations. The question of whether this would produce a verifiable increase in auditory acuity by objective standards (say, in understanding the words of songs better) is quite intriguing.

 Chapter 8.    Touch, Temperature, Taste, and Smell


TOUCH AND TEMPERATURE


MAJOR EFFECTS

    A very characteristic effect of marijuana intoxication is "My sense of touch is more exciting, more sensual, when stoned" (4%, 9%, 21%, 31%, 34%), which occurs at the lower-middle levels of intoxication (9%, 35%, 37%, 9%, 3%). Meditators experience this at a lower level (p <.01, overall).
    A variant of this effect, also characteristic, is "Touch sensations take on new qualities that they don't have when straight" (5%, 9%, 30%, 30%, 25%), with the minimal necessary level of intoxication again being primarily in the Fairly and Strongly range (9%, 37%, 30%, 13%, 4%). Meditators show a lower and more variable level of intoxication for this (p<.05, overall).
    Two linked common phenomena help to specify these new touch qualities: "Some surfaces feel much smoother, silkier than when straight" (11%, 10%, 39%, 25%, 13%), and"Some surfaces feel much rougher, more irregular than when straight; the roughness or graininess forms interesting patterns" (14%, 13%, 37%, 25%, 11%), which are reported with essentially the same frequency. The minimal level of intoxication for both is the Fairly-Strongly range (5%, 36%, 31%, 9%, 3% and 5%, 29%, 31%, 13%, 3%, respectively). The College-educated experience increased roughness more frequently than the Professionals (p <.01), and the College-educated need to be somewhat more intoxicated to experience either smoothness (p <.05) or roughness (p <.01).

Tactual Imagery

    An enhancement of tactual imagery is common: "I can experience vivid tactual imagery, imagine what things feel like and feel their texture very vividly in my mind" (19%, 20%, 27%, 24%, 9%). Heavy Total users experience this most often, Moderate Total users next most often, and Light Total users least (p <.05, overall). This effect occurs at Strong levels of intoxication (3%, 19%, 31%, 17%, 7%).

Temperature

    A sense ordinarily included with touch is temperature. A common effect is "The temperature of things, their warmth or coldness, takes on new qualities." (19%, 12%, 32%, 25%, 12%), which occurs in the middle ranges of intoxication (3%, 21%, 35%, 16%, 3%). This is reported more frequently by the College-educated than by Professionals (p <.01).
   
Figure 8-1. KINESTHETIC SENSE OF
WEIGHT OF OBJECTS

Weight

    Another common effect closely related to touch is the kinesthetic sense of the weight of objects: "Objects seem heavier, more massive, when I lift them when stoned" (21%, 21%, 29%, 15%, 11%). The opposite effect, "Objects seem lighter, less massive, when I lift them"(31%, 30%, 24%, 5%, 3%) is infrequent, as shown in Figure 8-1 (p <.001). The modal levels of minimal intoxication for both effects are Fairly to Strongly, and do not differ from one another (7%, 26%, 25%, 15%, 1% and 5%, 17%, 22%, 12%, 3%, respectively), although many (41 percent) users did not rate the level on objects seeming lighter.
    Women and Non-users of Psychedelics experience increased massiveness of objects somewhat more frequently than men and Users (p<.05 for each comparison). The Professionals need to be somewhat more intoxicated than the College-educated to experience this increased heaviness (p <.05). 

ADDITIONAL EFFECTS

    "Touch becomes more erotic with friends than usual" (Sometimes, Strongly).
    "Sensation increases with amount and then becomes less pleasurable and more physically objectionable" (Usually, Just).
    "When I am starting to get stoned, I feel a tingling at the end of my fingertips" (Usually, Strongly).
    "Touching of objects and areas (walls, etc.) with eyes closed brings many enjoyable and fantastic experiences to my mind" (Usually, Strongly).
    "When being touched, I feel that figures are being described in space rather than 'on' my skin" (Sometimes, Fairly).
    "My skin feels exceptionally sensitive" (Usually, Fairly).
    "Much prefer hot weather to cold, since cold is especially uncomfortable when stoned" (Very Often, Strongly).

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR TOUCH PHENOMENA

    All the effects of marijuana intoxication on touch may occur in the Fairly to Strongly range, with no significant differences between the two adjacent levels, so they are not plotted.

MODULATING FACTORS

    The relatively linear effects of several background factors are summarized in Table 8-1.
   
TABLE 8-1
EFFECTS OF BACKGROUND FACTORS ON TOUCH
BACKGROUND FACTORSEFFECTS
More Drug ExperienceMore frequent:
    Tactile imagery
Less frequent:
    Objects seem massive
More educated 
 
  More intoxicated for:
    Objects seem massive
Less frequent:
    Surfacs feel rough
    New temperature qualities
Less intoxicated for:
    Surfaces feel smooth
    Surfaces feel rough
Males Less frequent:
    Objects seem massive
Meditation Less intoxicated for:
    New touch qualities
    Touch more sensual


TASTE


MAJOR EFFECTS

    The second most characteristic quality of marijuana intoxication is "Taste sensations take on new qualities that they don't have when straight" (3%, 3%, 15%, 29%, 49%). This occurs at Low levels of intoxication (17%, 49%, 22%, 5%, 1%). Not too surprisingly, then, an extremely characteristic effect of marijuana is "I enjoy eating very much and eat a lot" (1%, 5%, 18%, 31%, 44%), which also occurs at low intoxication levels (22%, 44%, 26%, 4%, 1%). Users of Psychedelics report this as occurring less frequently than Non-users (p <.05).

Taste Imagery

    As with other senses, sensory imagery is a common experience (15%, 15%, 37%, 17%, 16%): "If I try to imagine what something tastes like, I can do so very vividly" occurs at Moderate minimal levels of intoxication (11%, 31%, 29%, 11%, 1%), with Meditators reporting this less frequently than Ordinary Users or the Therapy and Growth group (p <.05, overall). Users of Psychedelics and Meditators do not have to be as intoxicated for this experience (p <.05 in each case).

Sweets

    The data confirm a popular belief that marijuana smokers like sweets: "I crave sweet things to eat, things like chocolate, more than other foods" is a common effect (16%, 26%, 25%, 15%, 17%), which occurs at Low levels of intoxication (11%, 41%, 23%, 5%, 0%). The Light and Heavy Total users peak sharply at Fairly/Strongly on level of intoxication here, while the Moderate Total users are more variable (p <.05).

Components of Taste

    A fairly frequent effect is "Tastes become divided into several components, instead of an overall taste. E.g., a bite of bread may taste salty on one part of your tongue and sour on another part at the same time" (43%, 15%, 25%, 11%, 5%). Although many (47 percent) users did not rate this for level, it is an effect occurring at fairly strong levels (3%, 12%, 20%, 15%, 3%). It is interesting to raise the question whether this is an actual perception of the several discrete tasting organs in the mouth functioning separately instead of their usual blending together, or whether it is imagery added to taste sensations.

Miscellaneous Taste Phenomena

    An infrequent phenomenon is "There is an exceptionally long time delay between starting to chew food and the time the taste actually reaches my consciousness" (49%, 18%, 15%, 10%, 3%), which occurs at Strong levels of intoxication (1%, 11%, 19%, 13%, 3%, noting that 55 percent did not rate this). This delay is more frequent among Non-users of Psychedelics (p <.01). We may be dealing more with a time phenomenon than a taste one here, perhaps a differential delay between "outside" sensory input (taste) and internal feedback of what the body is doing (chewing).
    Because it has frequently been noted that marijuana produces dryness of the mouth, the item "I salivate quite a lot when stoned" was included in the questionnaire as a Validity Scale item. As it may be that some users do indeed salivate a lot, however, the data on it are presented here for what they are worth to future investigators. This effect is infrequent (44%, 30%, 13%, 5%, 5%) and rated at Moderate levels (10%, 17%, 17%, 3%, 2%, with 51 percent not rating). Light and Moderate Total users have Never as their modal frequency of occurrence, with Heavy Total users having Rarely/Sometimes as the mode (p <.01, overall). A question to consider, then, is: Does long, heavy marijuana use alter the dryness usually considered an invariable physiological effect?
    The final phenomenon of taste investigated is also infrequent: "If I belch, I retaste the food in my stomach, and it tastes very good" (51%, 17%, 15%, 6%, 3%). It also occurs at Moderate levels of intoxication (8%, 15%, 11%, 3%, 1%). It occurs more often with Heavy Total users (p <.05, overall) and with Meditators (p <.01, overall).

ADDITIONAL EFFECTS

    "When eating, the texture and temperature are important" (Texture: Very Often, Strongly; Temperature: Very Often, Fairly).
    "Throat dry and special taste that lingers (I don't think it's the taste of grass, but rather the sense of taste when stoned: most foods taste the same, anyway, when stoned)" (Usually, Fairly).
    "Want to have cigarette (tobacco), but don't enjoy it" (Usually, Strongly).

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR TASTE PHENOMENA

    Figure 8-2 shows various taste phenomena by level of intoxication. Overall differences are highly significant (p << .0005). Starting at the Fairly intoxicated level, there is an enhancement of taste and increase in appetite. Somewhat higher, taste imagery may be enhanced. Above that there may be a time delay between chewing and tasting, and at the level midway between Strongly and Very Strongly tastes may break into components.
   
FIGURE 8-2. INTOXICATION LEVELS, TASTE PHENOMENA
     JustFairly       Strongly   Very
Strongly
Maximum

Type size code:
CHARACTERISTIC
COMMON
INFREQUENT
Rare
TASTE BROKEN INTO COMPONENTS
TIME DELAY BETWEEN CHEWING AND TASTING
TASTE IMAGERY ENHANCED
SALIVATE A LOT
RETASTE FOOD WHEN BELCHING
CRAVE SWEET THINGS
NEW QUALITIES TO TASTE
ENJOY EATING AND EAT VERY MUCH

Just       Fairly   Strongly Very
Strongly
Maximum

MODULATING FACTORS

    The background factors having relatively linear effects are summarized in Table 8-2, namely, Drug Experience and Meditation. Both those with more drug experience and Meditators would seem to be more involved with tasting and eating generally.
    A craving for sweet things in preference to other foods is common but affected by total marijuana use in a non-linear fashion; Light and Heavy Total users both indicate Fairly/Strongly as a modal level of intoxication for this, but the Moderate use group, while also having a mode at Fairly/Strongly, also frequently indicates Just and Maximum as minimal levels for experiencing this.
   
TABLE 8-2
EFFECTS OF BACKGROUND FACTORS ON TASTE
BACKGROUND FACTORSEFFECTS
More Drug ExperienceMore frequency:
    Retaste food when belching
    Salivate a lot
Less frequency:
    Delay between chewing and tasting
    Enjoy eating, eat a lot
Less intoxicated for:
    Vivid taste imagery
MeditationMore frequency:
    Retaste food when belching
Less frequency:
    Vivid taste imagery
Less intoxicated for:
    Vivid taste imagery

SUMMARY OF TASTE EFFECTS

    In general, we may say that the main perceived effect of marijuana on taste is enhancement of taste qualities and (a consequent?) increase in appetite. As one informant put it, "On pot every man becomes a gourmet; good food tastes remarkably good, crappy food is awful!" This effect might be put to practical medical use where a patient is seriously underweight.

SMELL


MAJOR EFFECTS

    Although smell is a relatively neglected sense in modern man, some alterations in smell sensations are reported by marijuana users.
    A common experience is "Smells become much richer and more unique when stoned" (13%, 17%, 35%, 23%, 12%), which occurs at Moderate levels of intoxication (5%, 30%, 33%, 14%, 3%). This occurs more frequently among Heavy Total users of marijuana and Users of Psychedelics than among Light or Moderate Total users (p <.05, overall) or Non-users of Psychedelics (p <.05).
    An almost synonymous common experience is "Smell sensations take on new qualities that they don't have when straight" (15%, 13%, 45%, 15%, 11%), which also occurs at Moderate levels (3%, 31%, 33%, 17% 1%). This also occurs more frequently among Heavy Total users of marijuana (p <.05, overall).
   
Figure 8-3. DIFFERENT PHYSICAL LOCATIONS FOR SMELL COMPONENTS
Note.—For guide to interpreting the "How Stoned" graph,
see note on Figure 6-1.

Smell Imagery

    Smell imagery enhancement is fairly frequent: "If I try to imagine what something smells like, I can do so much more vividly than when straight" (31%, 24%, 29%, 7%, 5%), which occurs at Strong levels of intoxication (3%, 18%, 25%, 13%, 3%).

Smell Components

    A rare effect is "When I smell something, different components of the smell seem to register at different physical locations in my nose" (61%, 23%, 9%, 1%, 1%), which occurs at higher levels of intoxication (1%, 7%, 8%, 11%, 3%, with 69 percent not rating). It is interesting to compare this with the experience of taste being broken down into different locations in the mouth (see page 83); this is done in Figure 8-3. This effect occurs more frequently with taste than smell (p <.001), but levels of intoxication do not differ significantly.

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR SMELL PHENOMENA

    Intoxication levels for olfactory phenomena all run from midway between Fairly/Strongly to midway between Strongly/Very Strongly, with the differences in levels not significant.

MODULATING FACTORS


    The two qualities of smell alteration affected by background factors are smells' becoming more unique and richer, and smells' taking on new qualities, both of which occur more frequently among users with more drug experience.

SUMMARY OF SMELL EFFECTS

    In general, the main perceived effect of marijuana intoxication on the sense of smell is an experiential enhancement, making smells richer and more unique.


 Chapter 9.    Space and Time


SPACE

EXPERIENCES, EVENTS, do not just happen; they happen to a person at a place at a time. This chapter will deal with many important changes in the perception of and orientation to the matrix of space and time during marijuana intoxication. Some 11 items specifically dealt with this in the questionnaire, and another 11 items from other sections are clearly relevant, as well as all the effects on Memory discussed in Chapter 14. The question of the person who experiences things in the space/time matrix will be dealt with in Chapter 18.

PERCEPTION OF SPACE

Distance

    The third most characteristic effect of marijuana intoxication is "When I walk someplace, my experience of the distance covered is quite changed (e.g., not being aware of the space between, just seeming to suddenly be there or, conversely, feeling that it takes an immense number of steps to cover the distance" (1%, 3%, 18%, 45%, 33%). The minimal level of intoxication is generally Low to Moderate (7%, 27%, 41%, 19%, 3%). The Therapy and Growth group and the Meditators have to be less intoxicated for this (p <.01, overall) than the ordinary user. 
Figure 9-1. DISTANCES

    Even when the user is not moving about himself, distances change: "Distances between me and things or me and other people seem to get greater; they are further away" (13%, 15%, 44%, 17%, 9%) is a common effect, which, occurs at Moderate to Strong levels of intoxication (3%, 17%, 27%, 19%, 8%). The converse effect, "Distances between me and other things or people seem to get shorter; they are closer" is also common (23%, 20%, 43%, 7%, 3%) as a mid-range effect (4%, 17%, 27%, 19%, 3%). As shown in Figure 9-1, distances' seeming greater occurs somewhat more frequently (p <.01), but levels of intoxication for these linked effects do not differ significantly.
    The college-educated need to be somewhat more intoxicated than the Professionals for distances to seem shorter (p < .05).

Spatial Orientation

    Spatial orientation may be completely lost temporarily: "I get so lost in fantasy or similar trips in my head that I completely forget where I am, and it takes a while to reorient after I come back and open my eyes" is common (15%, 22%, 37%, 19%, 8%) but occurs mainly at the very high levels of intoxication (1%, 3%, 20%, 33%, 24%). This is reported as occurring less often by the Daily users (p <.05, overall). Two related phenomena, dealt with fully in Chapter 11, are "I have lost all consciousness of my body during fantasy trips, i.e., gotten so absorbed in what was going on in my head that my body might as well have not existed for a while" and "I have lost all consciousness of my body and the external world and just found myself floating in limitless space (not necessarily physical space)." The experience of floating in limitless space is infrequent and is reported as occurring significantly less frequently than losing consciousness of the body per se during fantasy (p < .001) or losing consciousness of the body sufficiently to need to reorient (p <.05). None of the three phenomena differ significantly in levels of intoxication, all being very high-level phenomena. The latter two items are probably variants of the same phenomenon. 

Quality of "Empty" Space

    An infrequent but rather dramatic phenomenon is "The space or air around me takes on a solid quality; it is no longer 'empty' space" (41%, 21%, 26%, 7%, 2%), which occurs at relatively high levels of intoxication (0%, 3%, 15%, 19%, 13%) for those who could rate it. My informants indicate that this phenomenon may take a visual form, with the air or space taking on faint, vibrating colors, or a "tactual" form in that the air or space "feels" solid even though there is no visual change; space, rather than being a nonperceptible abstraction, becomes an immediate experience. The Weekly users report this most often (mode at Rarely/Sometimes), with both Occasional and Daily users having a modal occurrence rate of Never (p <.05, overall). The Meditators experience it more frequently than the Therapy and Growth group or the ordinary users (p <.05, overall). The Professionals need to be more intoxicated than do the College-educated to experience the air becoming solid (p <.05).

Related Phenomena

    Related phenomena of space, dealt with in other chapters, are the visual effects of Chapter 6, such as pictures' acquiring a third dimension, the world's looking flat, visual centrality, and visual jiggle; and the auditory restructuring of space, greater separation between sound sources, and space becoming an auditory space, dealt with in Chapter 7.

SPACE PHENOMENA AND LEVELS OF INTOXICATION

    Figure 9-4 presents the various perceived alterations of space by levels of intoxication. The overall differences in levels are highly significant (p <<<.0005). At the lowest levels of intoxication no changes in space are generally reported. At Moderate levels, distances frequently change, and sound sources seem further apart. As one goes higher, visual qualities of space may become less important as organizing factors, and perceived space may be unstable (jiggle); and at the very highest levels of intoxication, awareness of ordinary space may disappear completely, with the user lost in fantasy or floating in a purely mental space.

TIME

PERCEPTION OF TIME

Passage of Time

    One of the most characteristic effects of marijuana intoxication is "Time passes very slowly; things go on for the longest time (e.g., one side of a record seems to play for hours)"(1%, 3%, 21%, 43%, 31%). The effect begins to occur at Moderate levels of intoxication (4%, 29%, 37%, 21%, 4%). The only background variable modulating this characteristic effect is total marijuana use; Heavy Total users must be more intoxicated to experience this (p <.05, overall).
    An even more radical alteration of time is the common effect, "Time seems to stop; it's not just that things take longer, but certain experiences are outside of time, are timeless"(17%, 17%, 37%, 20%, 6%). Priestley (1964) has dealt with this phenomenon and calls it the experience of archetypal time. It generally does not begin to occur until very high levels of intoxication are reached (1%, 6%, 17%, 21%, 25%). It is reported as occurring more frequently by Females (p <.05). Non-users of Psychedelics experience it at higher levels of intoxication than Users (p <.05). 
Figure 9-2. PERCEPTION OF TIME
Note.—For guide to interpreting the "How Stoned" graph,
see note on Figure 6-1.

    The converse of time's slowing or stopping is "Time passes very rapidly; things finish almost before they seem to have gotten started," an infrequent effect (28%, 29%, 32%, 7%, 1%) of the middle levels of intoxication (6%, 16%, 19%, 18%, 7%). Females experience this more frequently than Males (p < .05), and Heavy Total users more frequently than Light or Moderate Total users (p <.05, overall). The Therapy and Growth group must be more intoxicated to experience time as passing rapidly than the Meditators (p <.01) or the Ordinary Users (p <.01).
    The interrelationships between time passing rapidly, slowly, or stopping are shown in Figure 9-2. Time passing slowly is more frequent than time stopping (p <<.001), and time stopping occurs more frequently than time passing rapidly (p<.001). While the distributions of minimal levels of intoxication do not differ significantly for time passing slowly or rapidly, the experience of time stopping occurs at higher levels of intoxication (p <<.001 for either comparison).
    An aspect of time passing more slowly has already been presented in the phenomenon of a long delay between chewing something and tasting it (see chapter 8); this delay phenomenon occurs far less frequently (p <<<.001) than a general slowing of time, but at approximately the same level of intoxication.
    Time stopping—archetypal time—was also investigated with respect to shift in identity in the item "Some events become archetypal, part of the basic way Man has always done things... ," which is dealt with fully in Chapter 18. It occurs about as frequently as time stopping, but at lower levels of intoxication (p <.01). 

Events and the Passage of Time

    Not only is it characteristic of marijuana intoxication for time to seem to pass more slowly; it is common for events to fit more smoothly into this slowed time: "Events and thoughts flow more smoothly; the succession of events in time is smoother than usual" (12%, 16%, 38%, 20%, 11%). This begins to occur at Moderate levels (8%, 30%, 31%, 13%, 1%). The Therapy and Growth group has to be more intoxicated to experience this increased smoothness of flow (p <.05, overall). 
Figure 9-3. FLOW OF EVENTS IN TIME
Note.—For guide to interpreting the
"How Stoned" graph, see note on
Figure 6-1.

    The converse common effect, "Events and thoughts follow each other jerkily; there are sudden changes from one thing to another" (13%, 23%, 35%, 19%,5%) occurs at significantly higher (p <.001) levels of intoxication (6%, 13%, 34%, 19%, 7%), as illustrated in Figure 9-3.
    Meditators experience jerkiness in the flow of time less often than ordinary users (p <.05) or than the Therapy and Growth group (p <.05). Users of Psychedelics need to be more intoxicated to experience this jerkiness (p < .05).

Here-and-Now-ness

    Two time phenomena may be alterations in the perception of time per se or possibly consequences of some of the changes described above. A characteristic effect is "I give little or no thought to the future; I'm completely in the here-and-now," and a related very common effect is "I do things with much less thought to possible consequences of my actions..."; both are dealt with fully in Chapter 15.

Déjà Vu

    "While something is happening, I get the funny feeling that this sequence has happened before, in exactly the same way. Even though I logically know that it couldn't have happened before, it feels strange, as if it's repeating exactly (this is called a déjà vu experience and should not be confused with a false memory)" is a common experience (21%, 23%, 37%, 16%, 3%), which occurs at the middle level of intoxication (4%, 16%, 27%, 20%, 7%). While this is a phenomenon of memory by conservative standards, it would certainly influence a user's view of the nature of time. Some users, for example, interpret déjà vu as evidence for reincarnation. Similarly ostensible precognition (see page 100), while occurring rarely, could also strongly influence a user's view of the nature of time.
    In terms of a human experience, and particularly a marijuana user's experience, the common physical view of time as an impersonal abstraction flowing along at a constant rate, with only the present being real, is inadequate, for some people may experience: (I) the past and future as being as real as the present at times; (2) the rate of time flow changing radically; (3) time stopping (archetypal time); and (4) events fitting smoothly or jerkily into the flow of time.
    Note also that all memory effects (Chapter 14) are relevant to time effects, but they will not be discussed here.

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR TIME PHENOMENA

    Figure 9-4 presents various time phenomena ordered by levels of intoxication. The overall ordering is highly significant (p <<<.0005). As with space, there are no alterations of time commonly occurring at the very low levels of intoxication, but beginning between Fairly and Strongly, time is usually experienced as slowing. Going a little higher, the user is quite likely to feel much more in the here-and-now and may give less thought to the consequences of his actions. At higher levels actions take on an archetypal quality, and at the highest levels time may seem to stop, in that actions seem somehow removed from time, not a part of the inevitable flow.
FIGURE 9-4. INTOXICATION LEVELS, SPACE AND TIME PHENOMENA
Just       Fairly   Strongly   Very
Strongly
Maximum

Type size code:
CHARACTERISTIC
COMMON
INFREQUENT
Rare
FLOAT IN LIMITLESS SPACE
TIME STOPS
LOST IN FANTASY, NEED TO REORIENT
Precognition
AIR, SPACE BECOMES SOLID
ACTIONS HAVE ARCHETYPAL QUALITY
VISUAL JIGGLE
DEJA VU
DELAY BETWEEN CHEWING AND TASTING
FLOW OF EVENTS IRREGULAR, JERKY
TIME PASSES MORE RAPIDLY
THINGS APPEAR DIFFERENT IN PERIPHERAL VISION
MORE CENTRALITY TO VISION
VISUAL WORLD LOOKS FLAT
DISTANCES SEEM SHORTER
SPACE BECOMES AN AUDITORY SPACE
LESS THOUGHT TO CONSEQUENCES OF ACTIONS
MORE IN THE HERE-AND-NOW
DISTANCES SEEM GREATER
TIME PASSES MORE SLOWLY
PICTURES ACQUIRE AN ELEMENT OF DEPTH
DISTANCE IN WALKING CHANGED
EVENTS FLOW MORE SMOOTHLY
GREATER SEPARATION BETWEEN SOUND SOURCES

Just       Fairly   Strongly Very
Strongly
Maximum

ADDITIONAL EFFECTS

    "Time moves discontinuously" (Usually, Strongly).
    "The world is more real" (Usually, Fairly).

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR SPACE AND TIME PHENOMENA

    Space and time form a tightly interwoven matrix in experience, so in some ways the division of space and time phenomena in the above discussions has been artificial. Figure 9-4 presents both space and time phenomena by level of intoxication, a significant overall ordering (p <<<.0005).
    As the marijuana user becomes moderately intoxicated, the space/time matrix of experience seems to change; distances he moves around in change in size, time slows down, and sound begins to have some structuring effect on the space/time matrix. As he becomes strongly intoxicated, a variety of effects on his visual perception of the space of the world around him may occur, typically of the sort that involve him more in the space/time matrix (here-and-now-ness, centrality of vision, distances affected by his interest in objects). Moving into the high levels of intoxication, space may take on a structure or texture rather than being an abstract thing, and actions may take on an archetypal quality as the ordinary character of time becomes less binding on experience. He may sometimes become so lost in inner thoughts and fantasies that it takes some time to reorient to where he is. At the highest levels, time may seem to stop, actions to be out of the framework of physicalistic time, and he may also completely lose touch with the ordinary space/time continuum and experience floating in limitless space.
    In general, the higher in level of intoxication one goes, the less binding the ordinary space/time matrix is on experience. One methodological difficulty created by this is that the descriptions of experiences at high levels can become less adequate, for language was evolved within the context of a quite rigid space/time matrix.

MODULATING FACTORS

    A summary of the effects of various linearly-acting background variables is presented in Table 9-1. The effect of these background variables is quite complex.
    Frequency of use has a curvilinear effect on the experience of air or space as taking on a "solid" quality; Weekly users have a modal report of Rarely/Sometimes, while the mode for both Daily and Occasional users is Never.
TABLE 9-1
EFFECTS OF BACKGROUND FACTORS ON SPACE AND TIME
BACKGROUND FACTORSEFFECTS
More Drug ExperienceMore frequent:
    Time flows rapidly
    Space becomes an auditory space
    Precognition
    Actions archetypal;
 
 
More intoxicated for:
    Time flows slowly
    Jerkiness of events
    Visual centrality
    Space becomes an auditory space
Less frequent:
    Delay between chewing and tasting
    Totally in here-and-now
    Lose track, need to reorient
    Lose consciousness of body
        during fantasy
 
Less intoxicated for:
    Less thought to consequences
        of actions
    Time stops
 
MeditationMore frequent:
    Air, space solid
 
 
 
 
Less frequent:
    Jerkiness of events
Less intoxicated for:
    Totally in here-and-now
    Walking distance changed
    Space becomes an auditory space
Therapy & GrowthMore intoxicated for:
    Events flow smoothly
Less intoxicated for:
    Walking distance changed
More educatedMore intoxicated for:
    Air, space solid
 
Less intoxicated for:
    Space becomes an auditory space
    Distances seem shorter
Males 
 
 
  More intoxicated for:
    Actions archetypal
Less frequent:
    Time stops
    Time flows rapidly
 
 
Older Less intoxicated for:
    Float in limitless space

SUMMARY

    A major set of perceived effects of marijuana intoxication is the alteration of the space/time matrix in which all experience is set. This characteristically takes the form of increased attention to the present at the expense of the past and future (here-and-now-ness). Spatial dimensions may alter, and such alteration is affected by sound, music, and the user's attention. At the high levels of intoxication, experiences are increasingly less structured by the ordinary physical space/time matrix. At the highest levels, time may seem to stop, the user may experience archetypal time, where he is part of a pattern that man has always been part of, and he may temporarily lose consciousness of the ordinary space/time framework altogether, thus having experiences, which are inadequately communicated by language.


Chapter 10.    Ostensible Paranormal Phenomena (ESP)


PHENOMENA PURPORTING to be paranormal in nature—i.e., involving the transmission of information (extrasensory perception, ESP) or power (psychokinesis, PK) across space or time when known physical carriers would not be operative—were often reported in pilot interviews with marijuana users, so a number of questions were devoted to this in the main study. A questionnaire study can only deal with ostensible paranormal phenomena, i.e., with phenomena that the experiencers themselves judge to be paranormal. Whether such phenomena would appear to be genuinely paranormal in terms of laboratory standards is unknown; judging by previous studies of self-reported ESP instances (Anonymous, 1958; Green, 1960, 1966; Gurney, Myers, & Podmore, 1886; Membership Committee, American Society for Psychical Research, 1967; Prasad and Stevenson, 1968; Sidgwick et al., 1894), some of the ostensible ESP would be discounted by a scientific investigator and some would turn out to be well evidenced and worthy of investigation. Thus the figures given below for paranormal phenomena are probably too high in terms of actual paranormal phenomena, [1] but do reflect the incidence of ostensible paranormal phenomena in our 150 marijuana users. It is, of course, the experiencer's own judgment of the paranormality of an experience that may radically alter his belief system, not the judgment of a hypothetically expert scientist. Thus ostensible paranormal phenomena are an important aspect of marijuana intoxication.
    First, it should be noted that most of the users (76 percent) believe in the reality of ESP; their responses to the question, "I believe in the existence of extrasensory perception (ESP), i.e., that people can sometimes acquire knowledge about things happening at a distance in space or time, or about other people's thoughts, when there is no possibility of this knowledge having been acquired through the known senses (sight, hearing, etc.)" are tabulated in Table 10-1.
TABLE 10-1
BELIEF IN ESP
LEVEL OF BELIEFPERCENTAGE
OF USERS

Believe strongly46%
Believe somewhat30%
Haven't made up my mind15%
Disbelieve somewhat6%
Disbelieve strongly3%
No response1%


MAJOR EFFECTS

Telepathy

    A specific question dealing with marijuana experiences was "I feel so aware of what people are thinking that it must be telepathy, mind reading, rather than just being more sensitive to the subtle cues in the behavior." This was a fairly frequent occurrence (30%, 22%, 31%, 12%, 4%), usually occurring at moderately high levels of intoxication (6%, 11%, 21%, 19%, 5%). Heavy Total users of marijuana report it more frequently than Moderate Total users (p <.05) or Light Total users (p <.05), with the Light and Moderate Total users peaking sharply at Rarely/Sometimes and not differing significantly from each other. Users of Psychedelics need to be somewhat less intoxicated to feel they experience telepathy (p <.05).
    A related phenomenon, dealt with fully in Chapter 12, is "I empathize tremendously with others; If eel what they feel; I have a tremendous intuitive understanding of what they're feeling," a very common phenomenon, which occurs at Moderate levels.

Precognition

    The experience of precognition is a rare phenomenon: "I can foretell the future by some kind of precognition, more than just predicting logically from present events" (64%, 19%, 11%, 1%, 1%); and while most (71%) of the users did not rate the minimal intoxication level for this, those who did gave it a quite high rating (3%, 3%, 7%, 11%, 3%). Heavy Total users report precognition more frequently than Moderate Total users (p <.01) or Light Total users (p <.05). Similarly, Daily users report precognition more frequently than Weekly users (p <.05) or Occasional users (p <.01), with a suggestion (p <.10) that Weekly users also experience it more often than Occasional users.

Magic, Psychokinesis (PK)

    The converse of extrasensory perception, a sense of paranormally affecting the world, was investigated with "I can perform magical operations that will affect objects or people while stoned," and appears to be a very rare effect (83%, 6%, 6%, 1%, 0%). The few users rating level of intoxication indicated this as a high-level effect (1%, 1%, 3%, 5%, 3%). Daily users reported it occurring more frequently than Weekly users (p <.05) or Occasional users (p <.01). The users were also asked to describe examples of this; of the twelve who wrote descriptive comments, five users gave comments which were not readily understandable, suggesting a communications gap. One user expressed clearly a semantic problem inherent in the question: "I believe that magic is just 'doing' on a higher level of awareness. It is 'magic' to the spectator who does not expect or understand it. I have to be very stoned in order to be able to concentrate and flow at the same time to a sufficient degree to perform magic. 'Magic' tricks can be very funny and very beautiful, also astonishing. Maybe dangerous, too."
    Two other users indicated that their experiences depended on how you defined magic; one described chanting mantras (Govinda, 1960) with others as a magical way of affecting them; another, "using subliminal suggestion in a soft voice across the room."
    Of the phenomena reported that resemble those reported in the parapsychological literature: (1) two were of increased telepathic rapport ("playing guitar with a friend so well it seems magic," and "I can be 100 percent accurate about stating peoples' signs (sun), I can predict peoples' movements, social groupings"); (2) two involved being able to paranormally affect another user's level of intoxication ("I can get other people higher by more than ordinary communication—can feel as if I exude a force that draws their consciousness to me and higher, more than gaze and conversation alone," and "I can bring people 'up' if I want to—people who are close to me emotionally"); and (3) one involved a sensing of the prana force described in Chapter 11 ("Sometimes while stoned we play a game in which one person will hold his hand near another person's body. This will cause the person to feel a tingling, or other feeling in this area. Sometimes the affected person may have his eyes closed"). 
Figure 10-1. OSTENSIBLE PARANORMAL PHENOMENA
Note.—For guide to interpreting the "How Stoned" graph,
see note on Figure 6-1.

    The frequencies of occurrence of these three paranormal phenomena are shown in Figure 10-1. Telepathy is reported more frequently than precognition (p <.0005) or magical operations (p <<.0005), and in turn, precognition is more frequent than magical operations (p <.001). There is a parallel to laboratory work with the paranormal, where contemporary time ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance) studies are most often significant, precognition studies are not significant as often, and psychokinesis (usually "willing" dice faces to come up in a certain pattern) is a rare bird (Rao, 1966). The levels of intoxication for the three phenomena do not differ significantly, although the test is not very adequate due to the small number of users rating the precognition and magical operation items.

Out-of-the-Body Experiences

    A phenomenon rare in the pilot data, but of particular interest to me because of some intriguing laboratory findings (Tart, 1967, 1968), is the so-called "out-of-the-body" experience (OOBE) "Have you ever had the experience of being 'located' outside your physical body, i.e., of you being at a different location in space than the one you knew your body was at? Dreams aren't included here, or situations where you just lose consciousness of your body. This is where you consciously feel located at a different place and know at the time that you are conscious but at a different location. Has this happened to you?" The last sentence ended in several modifiers, "at all?" "while stoned?" "happened before started smoking grass," and"happened after started smoking grass." The users were also asked to describe any such experiences. Fifty-three percent of the users indicated they had never had such an experience, 23 percent (34 users) that they had had it once, and 21 percent (32 users) that they had had multiple experiences; 3 percent did not answer. 
    Because OOBEs are not familiar to the general scientific reader, half a dozen examples will be given from the comments of 57 users who added some explanatory note to their positive response. This will illustrate the range of phenomena connected with OOBEs, a range similar to that reported generally for spontaneous occurrences of this phenomenon (Crookall, 1961, 1964a, 1964b; Green, 1968).
    A rather classical example was reported by a 29-year-old electronics technician:
It occurred one noon hour where I work. I was meditating when I perceived that I was looking down on myself, then looking at the roof of the buildings. The ground passed under as if I was flying, it became a blur then blue and then land again. I then found myself in a Lapp hut with an old shaman who was an old woman. She was brewing a tea of bird twigs and mumbling. The return was instantaneous. Someone at work shook my shoulder and I was back. At the time I did not know she was a Lapp. This came out after I described the kit and costume to my wife who is Scandinavian. We later researched it in several picture books on the Lapp culture.

    OOBEs often involve seeing one's own physical body from an outside point of view. Of the 57 who added comments 19 percent specifically mentioned this. An example, also involving the rarer activity of the physical body continuing to operate in a complex manner, was reported by a 23-year-old user:
I was riding my motorcycle home from school (with girl passenger). While I was operating all the controls (of the motorcycle), I was watching my motorcycle with the girl and me from a distance of about six to eight feet above our physical existence. I had no noticeable physical sensations such as feeling while operating the motorcycle, though I seemed to be functioning fairly well. Physical sound didn't register either. I thought I was hearing wonderful, powerful, colorful, emotional, free music. The whole experience was remarkably enjoyable.

    Accidents are often associated with OOBEs, presumably in a causative manner. A 36-year-old assistant manager reports:
Knocked unconscious in fall—saw crowd collect around own body from above, saw self lying on pavement. Perception and cognition very sharp for three days afterward.

    While a defining characteristic of an OOBE is that one perceives the self as being at a different location from the physical body while knowing simultaneously that one is not dreaming, occasionally perceptual and cognitive changes occur in addition during the OOBE that indicate another state of consciousness is operative. The next three examples further illustrate such phenomena.
    A 26-year-old teacher reports:
I sometimes view my body and the sequence of functions it follows in a particular environment from some operator's or observer's vantage above and behind my body. "The whole scene" is then more obvious to me in that I have a sense of 360° perception rather than 180-200°. I am now conscious of what is actually behind me.

    A 22-year-old clerk reports:
Once on an acid trip in an apartment in San Francisco, a friend and I changed places. I was inside his head looking at my body and my face and hearing my voice when he talked. He was looking from my body into his face, and when I spoke it was with his voice.

    As a final example of OOBE phenomena, a 44-year-old psychiatrist reports a fairly frequent sort of OOBE that involves "visiting" a sort of world that is clearly unlike the known physical world:
I left my own body, went into "another dimension" (?), where I found other people, all young (I was 42) playing games of "switch the body"—an experience like taking off your clothes and playing in the nude—very freeing—seemed somewhere in outer (or another) space.

    Several background factors, which affect the reporting of OOBEs, are noted in Table 10-2, with significance levels for the obtained distributions.[2]
TABLE 10-2
BACKGROUND FACTORS AFFECTING THE REPORTING
OF OUT OF-THE-BODY EXPERIENCES
 NUMBER OF USERS ANSWERING
 
BACKGROUND VARIABLENo OOBEsOne OOBEMultiple OOBEs

Sex
    Males46817
    Females20147
X2=8.629, p<.05
Meditation
    Meditators1463
    Therapy & Growth439
    Ordinary622520
X2=13.099, p<.05
Psychedelics
    Users542328
    Non-users26114
X2=4.927, p<.10


    Fewer males tend to report OOBEs, but of those who do, multiple experiences are more common than with females. The Therapy and Growth group tends to report both more OOBEs and more multiple OOBEs overall. Similarly, there is a suggestion that Users of Psychedelics tend to report more OOBEs and more multiple OOBEs than Non-users
    Table 10-3 presents responses to the "while stoned?" part of the question.
TABLE 10-3
OUT-OF-THE-BODY EXPERIENCES WHILE STONED
OOBEs WHILE INTOXICATEDNUMBER OF USERS

Never while intoxicated27
Once17
Multiple experiences, all with marijuana intoxication5
Multiple experiences, some with marijuana, others without14
Once, with LSD6
Multiple experiences, with LSD6

 
    An infrequent phenomenon possibly related to OOBEs is "I have lost all consciousness of my body and the external world and just found myself floating in limitless space (not necessarily physical space)." This is dealt with fully in Chapter 11.
    Although OOBEs are well-known in parapsychological literature as occurring "spontaneously" (in the sense of cause unknown) or being caused by serious accident or illness (Crookall, 1961, 1964a, 1964b; Eastman, 1962; Green, 1966; Muldoon and Carrington, 1956), the majority (73 percent) in this sample were in conjunction with marijuana intoxication or LSD use. More than twice as many users (38) indicated that their OOBEs began after they had started using marijuana as indicated they started before (14), a highly significant (p <.001) difference if one assumes the proportion should be equal before/after on the null hypothesis that marijuana use does not foster this experience. Twice as many Meditators report that their OOBEs occurred before marijuana use as after, however, with the proportion equal for the Therapy and Growth groups and more than three to one in the opposite direction for the Ordinary Users (p <.01, overall). The younger users also report that their OOBEs occur after starting marijuana use much more frequently than before, significantly different from the older group (p <.05), but this may only reflect the fact that the younger users have not had as much time for the experience to happen to them.
    OOBEs are often interpreted as having profound religious significance by the users. An example is given in Chapter 19, Spiritual Experiences, although the user did not report this as an OOBE for the present question. Some other ostensibly paranormal phenomena, generally considered so exotic and far out that even modern parapsychologists have not dealt with them to any appreciable extent, are the sensing of energy in the body (prana, ki) and the sensing of chakra centers, dealt with in Chapter 11; the perception of auras around people, dealt with in Chapter 6; and the rare phenomenon of feeling possessed, dealt with in Chapter 17.

LEVELS OF INTOXICATION FOR OSTENSIBLE PARANORMAL PHENOMENA

    All ostensibly paranormal phenomena and related phenomena have been grouped by level of intoxication in Figure 10-2. The overall grouping is highly significant (p <<<.0005). Between the Fair and Strong levels, feelings of intuitive understanding of people commonly occur, and this may progress to a feeling of telepathic contact as the user moves up toward the Very Strong level. At high levels, feelings of energy in the body and the spine may occur, along with (rarely) precognition and the ability to magically affect others. Up to this point we have been dealing largely with the ostensible paranormal extension of sensing and manipulating abilities in the known world. At the highest levels, we deal with infrequent and rare phenomena no longer relating to the physical world.
FIGURE 10-2.
INTOXICATION LEVELS, OSTENSIBLE PARANORMAL PHENOMENA
Just       Fairly   Strongly   Very
Strongly
Maximum

Type size code:
CHARACTERISTIC
COMMON
INFREQUENT
Rare
FLOAT IN LIMITLESS SPACE
Feel possessed by a hostile force
Sense chakra centers
Perform magical operations
Feel possessed by a good force
Energy in spine
Precognition
AURAS AROUND PEOPLE
FEEL ENERGY, POWER IN BODY
TELEPATHY
INTUITIVE, EMPATHIC UNDERSTANDING OF PEOPLE

Just       Fairly   Strongly Very
Strongly
Maximum

MODULATING FACTORS

    The various background factors affect ostensible paranormal phenomena in a relatively linear fashion. They are summarized in Table 10-4. In general, more drug experience is associated with more frequent experience of practically all the paranormal phenomena covered in the present study. Meditators have more frequent experience with energetic phenomena, and the Therapy and Growth group seems to have more frequent experiences with OOBEs and some energetic phenomena.
TABLE 10-4
EFFECTS OF BACKGROUND FACTORS ON
OSTENSIBLE PARANORMAL PHENOMENA
BACKGROUND FACTORSEFFECTS
More Drug ExperienceMore frequent:
    Telepathy
    Precognition
    Magical operations
    Auras around people
    Energy in spine
    Sense chakra centers
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Less intoxicated for:
    Telepathy
MeditationMore frequent:
    Energy in body
    Energy in spine
    Sense chakra centers
    OOBEs before using marijuana
 
Therapy & GrowthMore frequent:
    OOBEs
    Multiple OOBEs
    Energy in body
    Possessed by good force
 
MalesMore frequent:
    Multiple OOBEs
Less frequent:
    OOBEs
Older Less frequent:
    OOBEs after starting to use marijuana
Less intoxicated for:
    Float in limitless space

SUMMARY

    After allowing that general credulousness and specific drug-induced credulousness have probably raised the apparent incidence of paranormal experiences in this group of marijuana users, it is still clear that the proportion of users reporting such phenomena is much higher than in surveys of general populations, which have found a low incidence of 2 percent (Holland) and a high incidence of 22 percent (Germany) (Anonymous, 1958; Green, 1966; Membership Committee, American Society for Psychical Research, 1967; Prasad and Stevenson, 1968). Indeed, the incidence of personal experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena is as high in the present sample as that reported for members of a society specifically interested in promoting the scientific investigation of the paranormal, the American Society for Psychical Research (Membership Committee, 1967).
    Researchers interested in finding subjects especially prone to paranormal experience would do well to consider marijuana users. Either marijuana use affects judgment such that a large number of ordinary experiences are judged to be paranormal, or there is a very high incidence of paranormal phenomena associated with marijuana use, or both.

Footnotes

    1. Although paranormal phenomena are not accepted as real by a large number of scientists, this is primarily a matter of belief system clash ("Since it can't occur, why should I waste my time looking at the evidence?"), or what Kuhn (1962) has called paradigm clash. The reader interested in a survey of the findings of modern parapsychology may consult the following references: Broad (1962), Heywood (1959), Johnson (1953), Murphy (1962), Rao (1966), and West (1954). While laboratory research has established the reality of some paranormal phenomena beyond doubt, the overenthusiastic and uncritical acceptance of these phenomena by the young is muddying the waters.
    2. Because all users did not answer all parts of this question on OOBEs, the totals in various tables are slightly discrepant. 



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