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f 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
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On Being Stoned - Chapter 3
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,
e 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.
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
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On Being Stoned - Chapter 2
falling asleep between events. Relationships between observed effects determine the overall patern.
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 sta
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