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Ch. 1: Introduction to Marijuana/Cannabis

Our readings begin with a piece about cannabis (marijuana). We begin here for two reasons: this is the second most commonly used psychotropic substance (after alcohol) and it is currently the topic of much debate in the U.S. (and some other parts of the world). You may recall from Module 1 some of the discussion about historical and contemporary policy approaches to substance use problems. In this module, you will learn more about the use and misuse of cannabis, knowledge that underlies policy concerns surrounding restriction versus legalization in the U.S. The federal stance, currently, is that cannabis/marijuana is an illegal substance. A number of states have passed legislation allowing prescribed medical uses for cannabis-containing substances and a few have passed legislation allowing recreational use of these substances.

Chapter 1 is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2017) report called Marijuana. This piece covers a number of important and currently relevant topics. In this chapter you will read about:

  • What marijuana is
  • The scope of marijuana use in the U.S.
  • Marijuana effects (physical, health, mental health, and social) and how the physical effects are produced
  • The addictive potential of marijuana
  • The gateway drug debate
  • Second-hand marijuana smoke exposure
  • Medical marijuana
  • Pregnancy issues with marijuana
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Click here for a link to our Carmen course where you can locate the assigned pdf file(s) for this chapter. You will need to be logged into our Carmen course, select Module 12, and proceed to the Coursework area. Under the Readings heading you will find a box with links to the readings for relevant coursebook chapters. Don’t forget to return here in your coursebook to complete the remaining chapters and interactive activities.