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Understanding MarijuanaA New Look at the Scientific Evidence$
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Mitch Earleywine

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138931

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195138931.001.0001

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Cannabis Use and Misuse

Cannabis Use and Misuse

(p.29) 2 Cannabis Use and Misuse
Understanding Marijuana

Mitch Earleywine

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the use and misuse of cannabis. Marijuana is the most commonly consumed illicit drug, with 200 to 300 million users worldwide. Approximately one-third of Americans have tried the substance at least once. Despite its popularity, few people smoke marijuana regularly. Less than 5% of Americans report using the drug every week. Estimating the number of users is difficult because people lie or forget about their use. The amounts that people consume are also hard to estimate. A variety of definitions of misuse of the drug exist that include addiction, dependence, abuse, and problems. Addiction does not have a universal definition, making the term difficult to use scientifically. Abuse and dependence are diagnosed reliably and can clearly apply to problem marijuana users. Nevertheless, the abuse and dependence diagnoses may not provide the clear information one might learn from a simple list of marijuana problems.

Keywords:   marijuana, cannabis, drug use, substance abuse, drug abuse

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