Module 9: Focus on Cannabis & Other Hallucinogenic/Dissociative Substances


The next category of substances to study in this course includes cannabis and other hallucinogenic substances (including those with dissociative effects). A great deal of controversy has emerged in public discourse, policy, public health, and criminal justice concerning the current views and (il)legal status of many of these substances. Consider all that you have been hearing, and perhaps voting, concerning medical and recreational marijuana use, for example. Consider also how cannabis and some of these other hallucinogenic substances are portrayed in the mass media and social media, discussed by public health, mental health, and addiction professionals, and how they might be considered in your own family and peer groups. It is likely that you will conclude that the U.S. society is highly ambivalent concerning cannabis and some of the other hallucinogenic substances most commonly used. Content presented in this module informs and was informed by Begun, A.L. (2020). Introduction to psychoactive substances, appearing in A.L. Begun & M.M. Murray, (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Work and Addictive Behaviors. NY: Routledge.

Reading Objectives

After engaging with these reading materials and learning resources, you should be able to:

  • Describe the nature, common uses, and effects of cannabis and other common hallucinogenic/dissociative substances;
  • Describe many of the substances in this category and their effects on humans;
  • Identify epidemiological patterns in cannabis and other hallucinogenic/dissociative substance use;
  • Explain key terms and concepts related to cannabis and other hallucinogenic or dissociative substances.


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SWK 5805: Theories and Biological Basis of Substance Misuse Copyright © by Dr. Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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