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The Significance of Marihuana in a Small Agricultural Community in Jamaica PDF Print E-mail
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Books - Cannabis and Culture
Written by Joseph Schaeffer   

A comprehensive field study, including videotape coverage and extensive laboratory research, was carried out in a small agricultural community in Jamaica, the West Indies. The research sought to explore whether cannabis altered the user's cognitive and psychological frame of reference in a specific socioeconomic and cultural context.

The findings indicate that 1) heavy cannabis smokers enact subtle alterations in daily agricultural activities directly related to cannabis-induced alterations in the stream of consciousness; 2) subjective (smoker) impressions of cannabis-induced alterations in specific tasks contrast with descriptions based on analysis of research records of those activities; 3) alterations associated with cannabis smoking seem to be appropriate to the users as members of the socioeconomic cultural system.

Multidisciplinary research procedures are suggested for further study of these findings.


When smoked or ingested in sufficient quantity, psychoactive preparations of Cannabis sativa produce significant effects on the stream of consciousness.

These effects have been described in numerous reports and studies (Moreau de Tours 1845; Mayor's Committee 1944; Weil et al. 1968; Hollister et al. 1968; Manno et al. 1970; Goode 1970; Tart 1970; Grin-spoon 1971). The effects of cannabis cited include: anxiousness followed by euphoria, a sense of well-being, and excitement; rapidly changing emotions; heightened sensory awareness; feelings of enhanced insight; fragmented thought; impaired short term memory; altered perception of time and space; altered sense of identity; increased desire for food; restlessness and hyperactivity followed by a relaxed, slightly drowsy state and sleep.

The intensity and duration of the effects depend to a degree on the potency, dosage and means of administration. Psychological set and setting are also factors in the subjective interpretation of effects (Goode 1970; Jones 1971).

Recent studies indicate that experienced users get moderately "high" from 2 to 20 mg tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, one of the primary psychoactive agents in cannabis) in smoked preparations and 5 to 40 mg THC in oral preparations (Isbell et al. 1967a, 1967b; Hollister 1969; Weil et al. 1968). Heavier doses, especially of ingested preparations, may produce intense anxiety, possibly leading to paranoia and depression, depersonalization, marked distortion in sensory perception, and hallucination (Mayor's Committee 1944). Usual effects begin almost immediately after the smoking of cannabis and last one to four hours depending upon the dose. They begin one-half to one hour after ingestion and persist for three to five hours (Mayor's Committee 1944; Isbell et al. 1967b; Hollister et al. 1968).

In attempts to elucidate the cannabis experience described by users, researchers have concentrated on studies of possible physiological, biochemical, and neurological effects. These studies are reviewed systematically in several summary reports (Canada 1970; Grinspoon 1971; USDHEW 1971; WHO 1971).

Viewed collectively these studies indicate that few cannabis-induced effects on either the stream of consciousness or the behavior stream are founded in effects on observable biochemical or physiological processes or in effects on external sensory mechanisms. We would expect, rather, that they are the result of a direct action of cannabis in the central nervous system.

An important conclusion from these studies is that psychoactive preparations of cannabis affect the primary centers of thought, perception, and emotion in the brain. The result is an altered stream of consciousness. A consequent modification of the "subjective grasp of experience" (Goode's phrase 1971) — of the "self," the body, and the material and social environment — is inevitable. To a lesser degree several essential qualities of behavior are modified as well. In other words, the users' frame of reference for thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and behavior is altered after cannabis use.

Since the subjective grasp of experience — with Goode (1971) let us call it the "subjective reality" — is altered after cannabis, we may assume that the relationship between that reality and an observer-defined "objective reality" may be altered as well.

These conclusions have critical implications for research in defined populations. Certain alterations in the central nervous system associated with cannabis use are probably universal. Their interpretation and expression, however, are directly related to psychological, social, economic, and cultural variables. Consequently, their significance can only be understood if at least two research requirements are fulfilled: 1) cannabis use must be viewed in the natural (and not only the laboratory) setting; and 2) patterns associated with the use of cannabis must be considered in detail with contextual phenomena.

Jane Schaeffer, my wife, and I had an opportunity to fulfill these requirements during recent research on cannabis use among inhabitants in a small community in Jamaica, West Indies, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, Contract No. HSM-42-70-97.


The research was carried out during a one year field study in a small agricultural community, Valley, situated in hilly, shaley terrain in Jamaica's eastern Blue Mountain range. The research population includes 80 male and 85 female adults (over 14 years) and 82 male and 82 female children (14 and under) living in 85 households along a winding dirt road. The age distribution of the population is indicated on Table 1.

Most common living arrangements in the 85 households are summarized on Table 2. Forty-six percent of the households (34) include a man, a woman, and others. In 24 of these (32% of the total) the man and woman are married. Thirty-one percent of the households are denuded (headed by a single male or female)1 and 19 percent are single person households.2


Information from each of the households concerning residents, land, dwellings, principal occupation, education, and religion is summarized on Table 3. Excluding information from single person households, we find an average of 5.7 persons per farm in Valley. If single persons are included in the sample the average per farm is 4.3. Zero to two-acre farms are prevalent but larger farms (5 to 7 acres) are not uncommon Average education among adults is 4.2 years. Farmers with higher education usually own more acreage and have larger incomes. Eighty-four percent of the households maintain religious affiliations.

The primary source of income is the crop market (see Table 4). Most common market crops are congo peas, carrots, coffee, and cocoa. Pimento and coffee are the most valuable crops financially. Average incomes vary with acreage under cultivation and type of marketing. Highest incomes result from the marketing of "own" crops plus the buying and selling (higgling) of "outside" crops. Most household incomes from marketing were under $ 300.00 in 1970. A few relatively large-scale farmers were able to gross nearly $ 1,000.00.

Farmers in Valley, as in many parts of Jamaica (see, for example, Comitas 1963) supplement market income with income from other occupations. Road construction and wage labor on neighboring farms are common alternatives to "own account" farming. As indicated in Table 3, several farmers have also perfected specialities as cooks, barbers, butchers, carpenters, painters, sawyers, shoemakers, tailors, etc.

Ease of access, to public areas and spring water, for example, has influenced most people to construct dwellings near a road or well-trodden path. Houses are usually situated on one-fourth acre to one-acre plots for which the owner has- often paid a handsome price. A few fortunate famili9s have constructed homes on corners of their own cultivated acreage.

Small business — three grocery and beer shops and two butcher shops — border the valley road; artisans and craftsmen work in their own dwellings. Two public buildings, the Baptist and Zionist churches, are at opposite ends of the mile-long main residential section.

As is the pattern in Jamaica, farm lands are strewn over the hills at varying distances. These lands stretch 5 miles to a southwest ridge. To the northwest they meet fields occupied by residents of an adjoining district one-half mile from the valley road; to the southeast they cover both sides of several land fingers along summer-dry stream beds. They border the lands of residents of a sister district, Richards Crossing, one mile to the south; to the east and northeast a winding road to the interior is a precise marker.



Approximately 70 percent of the available lands are under cultivation. Other lands are either in ruinate or pasture for livestock.3 Of the cultivated lands, between 60 percent and 75 percent sustain mixed agriculture similar to farming (Conklin 1957). For example, on one plot, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, corn, congo peas, bananas, and plantains are intermixed. On another, climbing and sprawling vines of starch crops (sweet potato, cassava, and several types of yam) intermingle with sugar cane, coffee bushes, banana, breadfruit, jackfruit, avocado, citrus, pimento, cocoa trees, and several other vegetable, spice and non-food crops.

Cedar, cottonwood, tambrun, poinciana, and other trees fill the gullies. Bamboo usurps any available sunny land. Fruit bearing trees, (sugar plum, guava, otaheiti apple, and star apple) are desirable in the dwelling yard and are not uncommon on the hillside. Eleven mango tree variants grow in profusion. Several queenly guangos shelter the valley stream.

Cows, pigs, goats and fowl are the most common domesticated animals which roam the pastures and yards. Chickens are raised in pens and dogs stand guard at nearly every gate. Wild animals include pigeons, many small birds, cats, the mongoose, and rats.

Valley residents travel to neighboring and more distant districts along the road or connecting paths by foot, beast, daily bus, market truck, or private transport. Several Valley farmers own land in neighboring Crossing Ridge, school children make the daily trek to the Crossing primary school, and Valley residents visit relatives and friends occasionally in other not too distant communities. Churchville, a four-mile walk over the northeast hills, is the most important village center in the area. There one can find medical care, police authority, government services, and recreation.

The trucks and bus travel established routes to coastal towns and the capital. Many women ride these vehicles on the weekly two- to four-hour trip to market. Other Valley residents make arduous, distant journeys only rarely to visit relatives, attend funerals, or complete important business.


According to local historians, cannabis, known as ganja in Jamaica, was first introduced to Valley between 1910 and 1920 by traveling East Indians and by local farmers who made visits to coastal cities and the capital. Early use was limited to several individuals who cultivated their own small crops. Gradually, as its popularity increased, more farmers began cultivation for sale. By the 1940's, several dealers enjoyed considerable income from the distribution of ganja to practically every local household for tonics and tea mixtures and to a growing number of local smokers. Laws against cannabis enacted in 1913 (revised in 1940) did not seem to hamper trade.

Following a devastating hurricane in 1951 much of the cultivation ceased; the cannabis crop, along with most other crops, had been destroyed. The government introduced land development schemes which included visits to local fields by program officers who could recognize cannabis. The risk of discovery by the police seemed too great. Gradually, however, local residents began to cultivate cannabis. In the early 1960's a few dealers planted sizeable crops and contacted their former clientele.

According to recent interview data, by 1965, 80 percent or more of the residents were using cannabis in some form, in tea or tonic, or smoking. Today probably 75 percent of the adult residents smoke cannabis. Most women ,drink ganja tea and take rum tonic; 50 percent smoke it as well. Smokers consume varying quantities. Of the 40 discussed in this paper, 12 are heavy smokers, 8 are moderate smokers, 11 are light smokers, and 9 are very light smokers.4 Most of these men began smoking ganja between the ages of 14 and 16. One teenager reported early use at age 12, while an older heavy smoker had his first smoking experience at age 25. The few women smokers began in their early twenties. Nearly all (both men and women) smoked tobacco cigarettes before cannabis.

Most men were introduced to cannabis smoking among older friends. Some were initiated into use during extended visits to the capita1,5 a few mention contact with Ras Tafarians during these visits.6 Others began smoking when older family members or friends passed them the "weed" in the fields. These smokers often associate initiation with the acquisition of their own farm plot. The women usually learned to smoke with their boyfriends or husbands, although some were introduced to cannabis by women smokers in the city.

Not long after initiation the smoker establishes a routine of use.7 Variations in the routine are related to the purpose of use and the availability of ganja. Cultivation requirements, for example, affect men who like to smoke during arduous labor. When private cannabis crops end in January and household incomes decrease in April and May, smoking patterns change as well.

Dose averages vary among smokers. Some stop when they "first feel it affecting the brain." Others smoke standard amounts, e.g., one-half round (.5 to .6 grams) or one round (1 to 1.2 grams). Heavy users often smoke as much as they can get.

For many users dose is related to activity and the quality of the cannabis. "When you smoke in the field," one man suggested, "you don't smoke enough to block up (get very high)." Another said, "When you get the real thing a few draws (puffs) will do it." The duration of the effects is reported to be as short as one-half hour to as long as five or six hours (for the "strong stuff"). Most smokers report effects lasting two or three hours.

Not all smokers agree that the effects are in any way profound. Some say they feel "no different" after smoking. Others, however, report major changes in the stream of consciousness. All agree that effects can be consciously controlled.8

Reliable antidotes are available for the smoker who is affected too strongly: sugar-water mixed with lemon juice is the common remedy. If this should fail, the smoker can be bathed in lime juice. Symptoms requiring administration of the antidotes are dizziness, associated with a need to lie down, and "feelings of craziness." No heavy smoker mentioned a hangover from cannabis. Several moderate smokers mentioned thirst (sometimes hunger) as a frequent early-morning-after effect. One light user reported feeling physically weak after heavy use.

Withdrawal symptoms are uncommon when cannabis is not available to heavy users. A few, however, indicate some aggravation: one said, "I want it badly when I don't have it but I keep control of myself"; a second reported feeling "lonely" without cannabis. Several felt "angry and sad" or lifeless ("like I'm not living"). A long-time heavy smoker said, "The first day (without cannabis) is the worst day in my life; feel as though I might die; life mash up; no appetite; head hurt; feel like brains scatter." He reported feeling better on the second day and "fine" by the third.

The availability of cannabis in Valley is based on a fairly complex system of cultivation and distribution. Many users plant one to five "roots" for home use in some private spot. They sow the seeds in pans, trays, or secluded beds in February, March, or April, replant the suckers a few weeks later, and nurture the plants to maturity by September, October, or November. Their crops have often been consumed by January or February, and they then turn to local dealers.

Occasionally, a small-scale cultivator sells a limited surplus to local or distant dealers "to unload the crop quickly" for fear of the police and/or to make pocket money for Christmas. The extra "ganja money" is a vital addition to small market incomes. More stable local dealers stock-pile small quantities of cannabis during harvest seasons; when this is exhausted they travel to other districts to obtain supplies. Some connection with the police is necessary to succeed as a dealer over any extended time period. Protection costs money or cannabis, and loyal friendship, which is probably most important.

The benefits to the dealer are well worth the price of possible prosecution, a few years in prison. Mr. Fisher,9 a local shopkeeper and the most successful dealer in Valley, has done very well indeed. He began handling bits ofganja in 1930; by 1935 he was selling 2 ounces (48 to 56 rounds) a week, and by 1955, 5 to 10 pounds a week in both small rounds and medium (1/2 to 1 ounce) packages. He is now satisfied to sell about 2 pounds a week since he is "getting old" and has already earned sufficient income to construct a good house and educate his children.

Most Valley smokers visit Mr. Fisher's yard to buy ganja several times a week during off-crop seasons. On special occasions or holidays he hires a teenager to vend it for him. If the Fisher cache is not of the highest quality, however, heavy smokers search for other dealers in nearby districts.

Several small-scale vendors appear in Valley from time to time. Two farmers who grow 200 to 500 plants yearly, supply rounds to local smokers until their crops have been sold to dealers. A female smoker has a friend who cultivates cannabis in a nearby village; she occasionally markets his crops by rounds in Valley.

Large-scale cannabis cultivators are no longer common in the Valley area; several have died recently, and two are in prison. And only one extremely clever cultivator remains. In 1970, he planted 8000 roots on Crown land (interior land owned by the government). His major market targets are city dealers who drive to his home late in the evenings to purchase as much as 10 to 25 pounds of cannabis. He also supplies Mr. Fisher and other area dealers. Interestingly, he does not smoke ganja himself: "Nothing against it," he says, "it's just safer that way."

The price of cannabis varies with supply and demand and quality. Rounds have been selling for $ .20 for some time in Valley; an ounce costs $ 1.50 to $ 2.00; a pound sells for $ 24.00 to $ 40.00. Prices are highest between April and July and lowest between August and December.

"Kali" is though to be the best product, but few can define it precisely. One cultivator says that only 50 out of 5000 plants produce the rich, black, female buds called kali. Others insist that any "strong" female bud can be classified as kali. All agree, however, that its strength is greater than that of the normal leaves and buds of female plants. Male "bush" is used primarily for tea and tonic mixtures. On occasion, if the 'female plant is running low, it may be mixed with the male for smoking; the "weak and wasteful" male is rarely smoked alone.

Territorial patterns associated with smoking ganja in Valley are limited. Most solitary users smoke in their homes or yards, in their fields, in the yard or field of a trusted friend, or in a private area in the bush. For those who prefer to smoke in a group, the bush is the desired location. There they can relax together to enjoy "good and loving thoughts" in companionship. Safety from the police is the primary consideration and few users smoke in public.

Many Valley smokers and their relatives and friends fear the police. The fear is often based on personal accounts of police brutality, however, arrest itself is not shameful and prison terms are considered a "normal" part of life. Police surveillance techniques include search by helicopter, inspection of fields, observation in homes and shops, and questioning of "informers." Local officers know most smokers and/or growers and can crack down at will. Frequently, however, impending arrests are discovered in time and ganja crops and/or caches are destroyed. When arrests are carried out, legal loopholes may be available for those able to raise lawyers' fees.

General feelings concerning cannabis laws are negative. People say, "The government doesn't like us to get money so they try to stop ganja," or, "They (the government) know it's a good thing and they want to make money off it." Many associate the stringent laws with the power of the medical profession: "Doctors don't want us to have it because everyone would be healthy." Others believe the Bible ordains the use of cannabis and say that men have no right to impose laws against it.

Three informants felt that the laws should be stringent. The local minister and an elderly woman readily accepted news reports of violence related to the use of cannabis. The district dealer, on the other hand, associated "loose" laws with the free growth and sale of ganja and a decrease in his own business.



The prevalent subjective effects related to the use of cannabis by 25 Valley informants are summarized on Table 5. Most smokers associate the use of ganja with clear thinking, meditation and concentration, euphoria, feelings of well-being, positive feelings towards others, and self-assertion. A few express negative reactions with regard to one or another of these psychological effects. Such reactions are often reported to be related to dose, frequency of use, quality, or the "lightness of the brains."

Major effects emphasized by most smokers are related to patterns of work. Many report an increase in strength, energy, and/or rate of movement immediately after use, followed by relaxed feelings of steady power, and eventually fatigue. Many associate ganja with enjoyment of food and several warn of physical risks of use when food is scarce. Few smokers consciously experience any decrement in either short- or long-term memory. Of the 9 informants who mention memory, 7 indicate improvement, 1 finds no effect on memory, and 1 feels his short-term memory is "weakened." No smoker feels that ganja leads to violent behavior.

Several effects are mentioned by only a few informants: two speak of alterations in the time sense; two mention increased fear of sanctions against smoking; four enjoy a heightened perceptive capacity; six feel more confident; eight are more relaxed; and nine spend extended periods in daydreaming about daily activities and social relationships.


Given the emphasis on the relationship between cannabis and work activity by Valley inhabitants, specific research was undertaken to determine cannabis-induced alterations in the stream of behavior during work activity. We employed several techniques including daily written observations and audiotape, videotape, and film coverage. We tested alterations in the stream of consciousness as subjects responded to prearranged signals with brief statements concerning their perceptions. To place the alterations in context we also carried out measurements of energy metabolism and nutrition and case studies of social-economic networks.

Following an introductory period of observation and interviewing in the community, a representative sample of 16 cannabis and non-cannabis smoking households was selected for intensive study. Procedures for covering daily activity in each sample household included interviews, extended observation, and tape review sessions. Research goals were explained, coverage techniques demonstrated and the permission and cooperation of all the subjects secured during the preliminary interviews.

In each household I observed the stream of activity of a central adult male informant throughout his waking hours for 14 consecutive days, listing all episodes in sequence (see Harris 1964); I noted all material items related to activity, and described encounters and the content of conversation. On selected days I carried videotape and photographic equipment to produce audiovisual records of representative sequences of activity (up to 120 minutes in length). When possible the sequence included complete activities. All behaviors of all informants in a given scene were framed at all times during coverage. At least three audiovisual records of each major activity were acquired for each cannabis smoker before, during, and after smoking.

Upon completion of audiovisual coverage in each household, tape viewing sessions were scheduled for the subjects and for their families and friends, when requested. On occasion videotape review was employed to stimulate responses concerning behavior in particular scenes.

Episodes of central female adults in each sample household were listed by Jane Schaeffer during the 14-day coverage periods. She briefly noted activities of other female adults and/or children, and maintained precise records of food intake. On selected days all foods consumed by household members were weighed before cooking, and the proportions of each food were weighed as they were distributed; waste food was also weighed. Foods consumed between meals were noted and weighed whenever possible.

Subjects in each household were taught to compile brief daily nutrition-activity booklets including statements concerning hourly activity, recipes for each meal, and estimates of food proportions given each household member. We checked these booklets during brief weekly visits throughout the field year.1.0

Medical studies of adults and children in sample households and selected other adults in the community were carried out to support the nutritional studies.11

Toward the end of the field research several nutritionists from Columbia University (Dr. Mary Bal, Dr. Orrea Pye, and Miss Judith Wylie) joined us in the field to conduct tests with a Kofrani-Michaelis respirometer and a Lloyd-Haldane gas analysis apparatus. We asked selected subjects to wear the seven pound Kofrani on their backs and to breathe into the attached respiration tube during normal activity before and after smoking cannabis. The volume of consumed air in liters was noted every 30 seconds and many of the tests were analyzed on the Lloyd apparatus. The activity tests were videotaped in their entirety.

The subjects were also involved in laboratory exercise studies (carried out with Dr. George Miller of the Epidemiological Research Unit at the University of the West Indies) in which they exercised on a cycle ergometer (Monark).12

Analytical procedures related to these field studies include an activity episode summary, an analysis of audiovisual records, energy metabolism studies, a nutritional survey, an exchange and social network summary, and analyses of special subject interviews.13

In the activity episode summary original lists are reduced to charts from which easy calculations concerning actors, time, place, activity, content of activity, social and exchange networks, food intake, energy expenditure, and physical context for activity can be made.

We reviewed the entire corpus of visual/audiovisual records and selected comparable, clear sequences for analysis. Three assistants and I applied analytical operations to the sample sequences (outlined in Harris's The nature of cultural things 1964) to relate activity to effects in the environment and to determine the number and sequence of behaviors in various activities. We also applied techniques (Schaeffer 1970) to determine the organization and structure of behavior during work and social interaction. Patterns of behavior before and after smoking cannabis were then compared.

Another research assistant carried out microanalyses of rhythmicity in movement using several sample sequences from the videotapes. He marked onsets and endings of movements in each of six variable body parts to the one-tenth of a second for participants in the sequences, then compared rhythmic patterns in movement before, during, and after smoking cannabis.

Information gathered with the Kofrani-Michaelis" respirometer was analyzed on the Lloyd-Haldane apparatus to determine oxygen and carbondioxide content in expired air during activity before and after smoking cannabis.


Findings during daily coverage in sample research households can be clarified in four brief case studies. The first of these studies demonstrate effects of moderate use of cannabis on the rate and organization of movement and associated energy requirements during work: effects of heavy use are discussed in the second study and individual variations in effects are the subject of the final two very brief studies.

CASE STUDY I. Ethel and John Ellis (34 and 40 years old respectively) and their seven children occupy research household 01. They own 9 acres of land purchased in bits and pieces since 1963. In 1970 Mr. Ellis worked 190 days in own account farming He cultivated two 1/2-acre carrot crops, 1/2 acre of red peas, 1/2 acre of congo peas, and maintained standing crops (coffee, cocoa, pimento, bananas, breadfruit, coconut, citrus, avocado, yams, etc.) on another 3 acres. The rest of his land lay in ruinate.

Mr. Ellis worked an additional 41 days on the road and 30 days as a wage laborer on neighboring farms. He also sold sno-cones during Christmas and other holidays and worked as a house painter when jobs were available. Mrs. Ellis marketed the household crops weekly throughout the year. All household members broke rock to sell to road construction crews.

The use of ganja in the Ellis household is limited by its cost and the risks of cultivation. Although Mr. Ellis holds certain negative ideas concerning the use of ganja, it is, nevertheless, a common household item. At certain times of the year (when his small crop is reaped between August and December) Mr. Ellis smokes as often as three times a day — once when he awakes at 6:30 AM, again before lunch at 11:30 AM, and finally before dinner between 3:00 and 5:00 PM. His usual dose is .8 grafils. The ganja he prefers has a Delta 9-THC content of between 2.6 and 3.0.15 He and his family also prepare tea and rum tonic mixtures from cannabis roots and green leaves to "keep away sickness."

Between January and August, when his own crop is gone, he smokes perhaps two or three times a week. During this period he shuns daily use, rationalizing that "If you smoke it too much, it spoils you, you become like a Rasta man, ignorant and violent."

During research with Mr. Ellis I observed him smoking ganja many times in the fields. He only indulged when alone or among trusted friends — never in public. The effects on his work patterns can be seen in a well documented example: on April 20, 1971, he forked by hand a piece of land in preparation for sowing carrots and turnips. Beginning at 8:15 AM he worked for 60 minutes without rest. Analyses of videotape segments indicate that he averaged 31 major episode movements per minute. He covered 393 square feet or 6.55 square feet per minute. At 9:15 he sat and smoked .91 grams of cannabis with a Delta 9-THC content of 3.0. He worked again at 9 : 25 AM and continued for 77 minutes until 10 : 42. He completed an average of 36 major episode movements per minute. He forked 200 square feet of 2.6 square feet per minute. (That is, he covered considerably less space with more major movements per time period after smoking. From 10 : 42 until 10 : 49 he rested and smoked one-fourth of a tobacco cigarette. Then between 10 : 49 and 11 : 52 (63 minutes) he worked steadily forking 290 square feet or 4.6 square feet per minute. At 11 : 52 Mr. Ellis smoked one-half cigarette, forked a bit more and relaxed into sleep for 85 minutes. Upon awakening at 1 : 45 PM he decided to stop work for the day.

A micro-analysis of his movements before, just after, and well after smoking during this work period indicates significant alterations in micro-rhythmicity. In six body parts analyzed separately there are, on the average, 30 percent fewer points of change per second (change from movement to stasis or stasis to movement) after smoking. The number of "configurations" of change in multiple body parts moving together is also strikingly lower after smoking.16 These findings indicate that after smoking the internal organization of major movements is considerably less complex. We might have expected this finding given the increase in major movements after smoking.


The results of 12 Ellis tests carried out in the field with the KofraniMichaelis respirometer and the Lloyd-Haldane apparatus are summarized in Table 6. The data indicate that the number of kilocalories required to complete a task is altered significantly after smoking: for example, Mr. Ellis expends 31,500 kilocalories to weed one acre of cow grass. Before smoking he covers the same space while expending fewer kilocalories.

Questions concerning the relationship between the effects of smoking cannabis on the organization of micro-movements and energy expenditure on the one hand, and food consumption on the other, now become salient.

Summary figures on consumption indicate that Mr. Ellis takes in 1,135,040 calories per year» Monthly variations correlate with variations in total expenditure requirements (1,121,000 kilocalories per year). Weekly and daily figures indicate variations which are usually related to differences in day to day work patterns. Certain of these differences may result from acute and cumulative effects of smoking cannabis.

During the week of 1/18/71, for example, Mr. Ellis weeded his "middle year" congo pea crop. Daily work patterns are similar with regard to activity and space covered per unit of time. Energy expenditure was greater, however, on 1/20/71, the one day in the week on which Mr. Ellis smoked ganja. He smoked .6 grams at 8 : 25 AM and .5 grams at 10:48 AM: Delta 9-THC content was 2.25. Closer analysis shows that he covered the same number of square feet per minute (an average of 11.79 square feet per minute) on all four work days. The day on which cannabis was smoked (1/20/71), however, he expended an average of 1.1 more kilocalories per minute during field work.

A brief analysis of group field labor adds another dimension to a consideration of Ellis' ganja smoking pattern. On February 3, 1971, he and eleven other farmers plowed a field together with iron forks. Just after arriving, most men shared some of the ganja provided by the hostlarmer. For a short period (10 to 15 minutes) they "worked like demons," talking and laughing as they moved up the hill, forks pounding the earth in a close, straight line. Then, gradually, a quiet, dogged concentration replaced the gaiety. The sharply lineal work formation changed, as one, then another man dispersed to carry out his task in seeming solitude. The work pace, highly varied at first, became steady during the extended period of concentration and then slackened as evident fatigue set in. A farmer called for more "herb." Skliffs (ganja cigars) were rolled and passed and the acute effects began. Again, animation in social concert was followed by concentration, gradual dispersal, and fatigue. The process was repeated twice (a total of four times) during the day. Finally, after a filling lunch served in the field by the hosts' wife and a late afternoon hour of work, the party ended — the happy host satisfied with a "fine piece of forking."

As the behavioral patterns varied in concert among the men throughout the day, one had the impression of togetherness — of social cohesiveness. It was a cohesiveness based on similarities of behavioral patterns in sequence rather than focused social involvement. Ellis, himself, felt the effects: "Relations with other people are better when I smoke," he said, "I don't interrupt nobody... I feel good about everybody."

CASE STUDY II. "Poppy" Silver (age 55 years) heads a second case study household. His companion of 12 years, Miss Amanda, their son, and one of Poppy's young nephews occupy a relatively well-built, well-kept house near the northwest end of the Valley. Poppy's lands include four acres inherited from his father, 11/4 acre he purchased in 1965, and a rented 1/2 acre. Miss Amanda inherited another 13/4 acres from her mother. She rents 1 acre and reaps standing crops from several acres of ruinate family land.

Poppy farmed about an acre on his land in 1970. He rented out 21/2 acres — 1 acre to his first cousin, and 11/2 acres to a friend. Miss Amanda farmed 11/2 acres on her own with only occasional help from Poppy: she hired help or worked "partner" days.

Poppy is a specialist in other work activities: he is the most respected village sawyer, does carpentry on occasion, boils sugar in the only remaining private wet-sugar mill in the area, and cooks a fine curry goat for local holiday feasts.

As a heavy ganja smoker, Poppy is an interesting subject. He began smoking rather late in life (age 25) among friends and has been a daily user eyer since. Occasionally during the past 30 years he has also cultivated and distributed ganja. He says he smokes 3, 4, or even 6 or 7 times daily (as much as an ounce a day), with a friend or two. He relates use to work and to intimate social involvements with several smokers. He likes ganja because he thinks better, concentrates deeply, enjoys relaxation, and has a feeling of well-being after smoking: his work spirit is enlivened, is stronger and more motivated in both work and play.

My observations concerning dose, frequency of use, and effects provide contrasts to Poppy's account. During the heavy use season, August to December, he smokes 1/2 to 1 ounce daily in 3 to 8 sessions. Between January and August his use is more sporadic. The variations depend to some degree upon the availability of ganja and his financial status. Ganja becomes scarce toward and during early summer; as the congo pea crop slackens in January, and yams slow by April, income decreases as well. Variations are also related to activity patterns and cumulative effects. When Poppy works steadily for a time at weeding or sawing or when he works at carpentry among friends, he wishes to smoke frequently. Often after two heavy-use days, however, he is extremely tired and depressed; he rests to rejuvenate, usually without a smoke.


Figures on the effects of cannabis on work indicate that Poppy, like Mr. Ellis, alters the organization of movements after smoking. Energy expenditure and work patterns related to these alterations are affected as well (Table 7). In one Kofrani-Michaelis test in which he weeded small grass with a machete (first listing in Table 7), for example, Poppy covered 192 square feet in 12 minutes, while expending 48.12 kilocalories.

At this rate he would expend 10,923.24 kilocalories to weed one acre in 45.4 hours. In a comparable cannabis test he weeded 116 square feet in 11 minutes while expending 44.11 kilocalories. At this rate he could cover one acre in 71.1 hours, and would require 17,106.7 kilocalories.

A reduction of the Kofrani figures to percentages is informative. Poppy worked 1.56 times as long to weed an acre of bananas after smoking, and used 1.56 times as many kilocalories. When he weeded mixed grass with a hoe, he worked 2.29 times as long on an acre and required 2.16 times as many kilocalories. In both tests he was working alone.

Videotape analyses of several of Poppy's work sessions in agriculture indicate little variation in numbers of episode movements. His movements are, however, significantly more repetitive after smoking cannabis.

Poppy also smokes ganja during his non-agricultural activities. As a sawyer he exploits the extended period of concentration associated with cannabis by many workers to produce precise, repetitive movements essential to the task. During carpentry, a task usually carried out with other men, Poppy associates ganja use with social cohesiveness. Its effects are similar to those described on cooperation during field work. Just after smoking, animated movement commences followed by concentration on work, periods of immobility and staring, and eventual fatigue. On questioning during periods of quietness and staring, Poppy usually says "feeling good," "feel nice," "just all right."

The effects of cannabis on thought processes may be important in the sawing activity. Poppy learned to respond to a prearranged signal every 15 seconds while sawing with a brief statement concerning thought content. It appears that transcontextual ideas, interspersed among thoughts about the body, the tasks, or the immediate environmental context are significant after smoking. When Poppy saws after smoking ganja, 60 to 70 percent of his thoughts relate to the techniques of sawing, the saw itself, getting the job done, or his own body. Fifteen to 20 percent relate to things important in his daily life, e.g., his crops, a carpentry job, or meetings with other people. Abstractions concerning religion, worldly travel, and philosophical ideas occupy 5 to 10 percent of his thoughts. When he saws without ganja, his daily life (crops, etc.) assumes importance (60 to 65 percent of his thoughts). The immediate context (weather, trees) occupies 15 to 25 percent of his thoughts, 25 to 35 percent relate to the task at hand and few, if any, are abstract or philosophical.

CASE STUDY Ill. Two of the research households are single men households. A brief summary of each will serve as an appropriate background for several additional points concerning the effects of cannabis on work in Valley.

Elija Bickman is a 37 year old bachelor who regularly visits his long time lover and their children whom he supports by court decree. He owns 7 acres of inherited land, 3 of which he shares with his brother, Nathaniel. None of the land was under short-term crop cultivation in 1970. Standing crops covered Ph to 2 acres. These included 700 coffee, 100 cocoa, 300 banana, 10 breadfruit, 10 coconut, 4 citrus, 5 avocado, 1 ackee, "plenty" mango, a dozen other trees, and 400 yams. These crops must be weeded two or three times a year. Each weeding takes 90 hours (20-25 days) and requires 31,500 kilocalories.

In January, 1971, Elija received money from his sister in the United States to cultivate congo peas and carrots in anticipation of her return to Valley later in the year. Between January and June he prepared 3/4 acre for crops by weeding out cow grass, raking and burning debris, and building contours, for which he hired help several times. He also maintained a wage job as a handy man for a local shop owner during this period.

If the criterion is frequency, Elija is a moderate to heavy ganja smoker. He has smoked two to four times a day since he first tried ganja 18 years ago: he has "always liked it," he says, because it "make me feel happy, and whatever work I have to do I do it." He prefers to smoke alone during work and leisure time, primarily to remain unknown to the police.

In terms of quantity Elija is only a light to moderate smoker; his skliffs are small (.25 to .30 grams). He inhales deeply but quickly — much like a cigarette smoker in the United States, saying that "If you smoke a lot it ruin your body; it make you look meager; you spend money on weed (cannabis) and have no money to buy food." By titrating in this way, he is able to experience what he considers to be the "good effects" of cannabis frequently while avoiding undesirable effects, e.g., fatigue or hunger.

Our figures on work patterns, energy expenditure, consumption, and states of consciousness indicate that the effects of these smaller doses are insignificant. During seven weeding and forking days in the field, for example, Elija varied very little in either rate of movement or space covered before and after smoking. Summaries of variations in movements show an average minute to minute variation of .0519 before smoking: after smoking the variation is .0551. During weeding before smoking on one sample work day, Elija expended 313 kilocalories per hour; after smoking he expended 330 kilocalories per hour. Total space covered on two weeding days was practically equal (16.0 square feet per minute for 325 minutes on the non-smoking day and 15.4 square feet per minute for 300 minutes on the smoking day).

Comparisons of his thought content before and after smoking also indicate that the effects of small doses of cannabis in the natural setting are negligible (see Table 8).


To determine whether the minimal variations may have been due to the individual rather than the dose, we tested Elija under maximum dose conditions. On 6/10/71 we asked him to perform a repetitive task: then he smoked 1 gram of high quality cannabis (Delta 9-THC content: 2.5) and repeated the same task. The average variation in movements per minute before smoking was .0510. After smoking the average was .0661. During the first 40 minutes the average variation before smoking was .0461. In the comparable time period after smoking it was .0794. Elija said he was "really red" from the ganja.

In the Kofrani-Michaelis tests he was given ample amounts of cannabis. Variations in kilocalorie expenditures and space covered before and after smoking are significant (see Table 9).


CASE STUDY IV. Virgil Fisher (age 36), also a single man, is Valley's healthy warrior at 70 inches and 182.5 pounds. He has no land holdings and supports himself with day wages from road and field work. Generous friends and members of his family provide him with food and shelter as well.

Since Virgil's father is a local dealer, he has been familiar with ganja since childhood. By the time he was 14, he was "tiefing" some for his older friends andtaking an occasional puff himself; he liked feeling the "bright spirit" once a day or so. Soon he became a regular smoker — one round a day (two or three smokes). By age 20, he was smoking two to three rounds or more (four to seven times a day). He maintained this pattern until ganja became scarce a few years ago. Between January and August in 1970 he consumed two rounds a day in morning, noon, and evening smoking sessions. During the heavy crop season he smoked "all the time — very hard."

Virgil associates three primary effects with cannabis: it helps him work faster; it gives him a big appetite; and it allows him to concentrate. He prefers smoking in solitude for two reasons: "Too many people start foolish argument (i.e. discussions) when they smoke," and "If you share with everybody you don't get enough for yourself." He does have one friend, however, Norman Hadley, a heavy user, with whom he smokes regularly. Hadley supports himself with savings from two years' wages as a ship hand on transatlantic freighters.

During research days in the field, along the road, and in the yard with Virgil, I was impressed with his ability to consume large amounts of cannabis without evident major effects. He did respond with brief periods of talking and laughter just after smoking and he did, on occasion, lapse into sleep two or three hours into the effects. Most of the time, however, he continued his day in the quiet, unobtrusive manner his Valley neighbors have come to expect.

Objective measures suggest interesting conclusions. The two example figures on Table 10 indicate that Virgil's reaction to cannabis with regard to kilocalories expended per unit of space is similar to that of other users.


Variations in movements per minute or in the organization of movements related to cannabis, however, are not evident. In two example comparable tests, the variation per minute is .0584 before smoking and .0601 after smoking— an insignificant difference.

It seems that Virgil either compensates to some degree in his behavior after smoking cannabis, thereby reducing the evident effects on the rate and organization of movement, or that, for some reason, he does not experience strong effects. The first suggestion is probably correct since expected alterations in efforts and associated energy requirements occur in his work after cannabis.


To summarize tentative conclusions from these case studies: 1. Smoking cannabis is related to effective alterations in the rate and organization of movement and the expenditure of energy.

a. Behavioral changes related to light or moderate use (defined by either dose or frequency) are not significant in agricultural pursuits over extended time periods.

b. Behavioral changes related to heavy use are significant in agricultural pursuits over extended time periods.

c. Alterations related to both moderate and heavy use are appropriate to social cohesiveness during work in group situations.

The four cases were chosen as examples of contrasting types in an attempt to emphasize the importance of understanding contextual phenomena, e.g., frequency, dosage and type of activity during use. As I proceed now to summaries of more inclusive data this emphasis remains crucial.

Data on agricultural pursuits and other activities among ten heavy users, eight moderate users, and twelve light users corroborate the data summarized in the above Conclusion. Total space covered or amount accomplished, in number of plants reaped, is usually reduced per unit of time after smoking. The number of movements per minute is often greater after smoking as is the total number of movements required to complete a given task.

In conjunction these findings may indicate that the user is more intense and concentrated after smoking — that he does a better weeding job, for example, because he enacts sufficient movements to root every weed. Alternatively, the extra movements per time and space unit may be related to cumulative inaccuracies r esulting in the need for repetition. Several farmers watching themselves on videotapes commented on the completeness of their work, suggesting that the smoker supports the former view.

Data from the energy metabolism and exercise studies support the field observations. The comparative studies with the K ofrani-Michaelis respirometer and the Lloyd-Haldane apparatus covered 15 activities in 47 tests before, and 29 tests immediately after smoking, and 11 tests 2 to 4 ,hours after smoking cannabis. In addition, records of ventilation rate were acquired without gas analysis in 63 tests. The 12 subjects included our 4 case study subjects.

Results concerning energy expenditure during agricultural work indicate significant effects. The mean expenditure in a representative sample of heavy activity tests before smoking cannabis was 5.30 kilocalories per kilogram per hour, compared to 4.62 kilocalories per kilogram after smoking. The difference is significant at the 5 percent level. Tests of sitting showed no significant alterations before and after smoking cannabis. The findings, therefore, are probably not related to fundamental changes in metabolic rate but rather to the effort put forth by subjects.

Results from the laboratory exercise studies are as follows:

1. There was no evidence of any effect of smoking cannabis on the relationship between oxygen consumption and work done (i.e., metabolic function was not altered by cannabis).

2. Resting heart rate and sub-maximal heart rates during exercise were normal before smoking cannabis. After smoking both resting and submaximal heart rates were increased. Consequently, heart rates were high relative to the work load after smoking cannabis.

3. Sub-maximal ventilation was normal in all but one subject (.04 hyper-ventilated) and was unaltered by cannabis. The tidal volume was reduced however, during exercise after smoking. The breathing frequency was increased.

4. Maximal ventilation and the maximal oxygen intake achieved were higher before smoking. That is, exercise performance appeared to have been reduced by smoking cannabis.

Results from the field ergometer studies concern movement rate and time of activity. Variations in pedal rate and distance per minute are, on the average, greater after smoking. Average speeds are not altered. In five of the six comparative cases the time required to complete the 50 kilometers was greater after smoking due to longer rest periods.

These energy-exercise results indicate that the primary effects of smoking cannabis are related to alterations in patterns of movement and associated energy requirements during work. Depending upon the task, greater numbers of movements and/or greater variations in numbers of movements per unit of time occur after smoking. These alterations are probably related to alterations in the tidal volume/breathing frequency relationship, especially under maximum work load conditions.18 It is also remotely possible that the heart rate/stroke volume relationship is altered during work (exercise of any kind) after smoking cannabis and that, as a result, the maximum cardiac output is reduced. However, this could only be demonstrated by direct measurement.


The implications of these findings for the total population are difficult to determine given the scope of the present research. Tentative suggestions based on limited results, however, are appropriate.

Men in our sample of 16 Valley households were found to expend an average of 1,116,725 kilocalories per year») Average expenditures per month, week, and day vary in accordance with seasons and the exigencies of farming Primary tasks requiring considerable kilocalories, e.g., weeding, contouring, and forking, must be completed in limited time periods between January and March, and for some farmers, in September and October. During other months, leisure time activity takes precedence and energy requirements for work decrease.

Average figures on consumption indicate that men in the sample households are, in general, getting sufficient calories to meet expenditure requirements (1,110,554 calories per year). Both ganja smokers and nonsmokers are adequately fed.

Average anthropometric values on height, weight, arm circumference, and triceps skinfold thicknesses for a sample of 31 male adults in the community (including men from the sample households) corroborate these findings. They are 66.6 inches, 141.7 pounds, 28.5 centimeters and 5.0 millimeters, respectively.20 No significant differences appear when averages for heavy smokers and non-smokers are compared.

No superficial signs of specific nutritional deficiencies or of undernutrition were apparent in medical examinations of 31 male residents of Valley. With the exception of one case of hypertension, no serious disease was detected. Hemoglobin levels were adequate: seven protein values (albumin and globulin) fell within normal limits: intestinal parasites, when present, resulted in only slight infections. One may conclude that cannabis, no matter what the frequency or number of years of use, need not affect general physical health.21

With regard to energy expenditure related to the exploitation of land resources, the effects of smoking cannabis seem to be somewhat more significant. Members in the 85 Valley households hold a total of 406.5 acres. (The general distribution of these lands by household types can be seen on Table 3.) In ten of these households, lands are cultivated to capacity by men or women who expend the minimum number of kilocalories to exploit maximum land resources. None of the farmers in these households are heavy cannabis smokers; three are light to moderate smokers. Maximum land is exploited in six households with wage labor help; in one of these households the male adult is a heavy ganja smoker: he is also a dealer and is able to hire wage laborers to do most of his farming.

In 27 households available lands are partially uncultivated; in fifteen of these the potential farmer is old and/or infirm: two of the farmers are alcoholics who rarely work. Five are heavy ganja smokers; one of these never farms, four farm small acreage and do odd jobs.

In another 48 households adequate lands are unavailable. Men in seven of these households expend minimum possible kilocalories per task and experience great blocks of enforced leisure time. Several take odd jobs when possible; twenty-eight potential farmers are old and/or infirm; three of the women cannot maintain their acreage alone: two men are alcoholics; one farmer is also a butcher. Seven households are headed by heavy ganja smokers; four of these men prefer odd jobs to farming.

Since these statements are correlative, no firm conclusions concerning relationships between land exploitation patterns and smoking cannabis can be drawn at the present time. I do feel, however, that the data justifies a hypothesis and, possibly, further research. In Valley, heavy use of cannabis seems to alter the relationship between perception and action in such a way that the movement-energy-production pattern link in the agricultural system is altered. The results seems to be appropriate in the social-economic-cultural context. Briefly, a significant number of potential Valley farmers hold small acreage; due to slope degree and soil type some of this land is unsuitable for farming. Of the lands which can be cultivated, some must be left in ruinate for extended periods to avoid severe decline in crop yield. As a result, many farmers cannot farm. In a village in which the ethical code includes hard work and long hours in the fields, such farmers face a dilemma. They can leave the area to search for work elsewhere and some do. They can complete their field work quickly and maintain odd jobs in their spare time — a rare possibility due to the scarcity of such jobs. Or, they can work longer hours in the field and expend more kilocalories than would be necessary in the Valley context to adequately exploit available land. While doing so they can maintain a subjective impression of enhanced physical effort and capacity for work. The heavy use of cannabis during agricultural pursuits may be related to this alternative.

Lest this tentative conclusion be misunderstood as a suggestion that a direct and constant relationship exists between the heavy use of cannabis and decreased production, a word of caution is in order. The interpretation and exploitation of the effects of cannabis in Valley are systemic. They cannot be analyzed in proper perspective separately from the phenomena among which they occur and to which they are intricately related. Given another set of contextual phenomena one could expect different conclusions concerning their significance.

Two examples clarify this point. As mentioned above, the farmers with whom we worked, insist that cannabis-induced alterations in perception and action are associated with quality work. One weeds more completely or forks better, they say, after smoking cannabis. In Valley this improvement, if, indeed, it occurs with cannabis use, is achieved at an expense of time, space, and energy. Unfortunately, results are not worth the price. The terrain, soil, and climate are such that a partially clean weeding or chunk-dirt fork job are no less advantageous than clean weeding or fine-dirt forking. Crop yield and/or quality are about the same either way. One can well imagine a situation, however, in which alterations in focused energy and thought processes related to smoking cannabis may well pay off — a situation in which population pressures exist, available land is minimal, and soil, terrain, and climate are such that crop quality and yield are considerably increased by careful, concentrated farming.

Secondly, cannabis-induced alterations in perception and action may well be associated with increased production during work in other than farming activity. I am at present analyzing videotapes of cannabis users in sugar plantation areas in Jamaica.22 I may find that cane loaders exploit rapid movements after smoking cannabis to accomplish more in, say, number of canes loaded per given time period.


An extensive literature indicates that psychoactive preparations of cannabis affect primary centers of thought, perception, and emotion. As a result the users' frame of reference when he is "high" for seeing, thinking, and dcting in a psychological-social-economic-cultural context is altered.

An important problem related to this conclusion concerns the significance of cannabis-induced alterations to individual users as members of psychological-social-economic-cultural systems. A specific research question is implied by this problem: How are processes in relationships among individuals and between individuals and material elements in the environment altered when cannabis is in use? What are the consequences of these alterations in an ever broader systemic context?

Our specific concern in the present paper is the relationship between cannabis smoking and work in agriculture. Tentative results are based on analyses of detailed written observations, 200 segments of videotape, 150 tests with metabolic research equipment, laboratory exercise tests, and interviews.

Intensive data on 30 smokers indicates that the use of cannabis is related to effective alterations in the rate and organization of movement and the expenditure of energy during work. Most smokers enact more movements per minute — often with greater variation — and expend more kilocalories per unit of space immediately after use. Between 20 and 40 minutes into the effects of cannabis the alterations decrease and patterns of behavior appear to be normal. Between 80 and 140 minutes after use, feelings of fatigue are often expressed in movements. Thereafter, the effects are no longer evident.

These effects depend to some degree on dosage, frequency, psychological set, and the situational context. The behavior stream is hardly altered when the dose is small. Infrequent use results in alterations seemingly irrelevant to the user's position in the larger socioeconomic context. Effects can be consciously reversed to some degree even after relatively heavy doses. They are greater, on the other hand, when the user wishes to exploit them. Varying elements in the environment mediate behavioral alterations. Weather, soil quality, and plant type, for example, must be considered in relation to the effects of cannabis.

The implications of these findings are difficult to determine without conclusive evidence based on analyses of a larger number of individuals and without extensive information on the social-economic-cultural context of use. Our hypothesis, however, is that cannabis use is subtly related to population, land, and economic pressures in Valley. Tomversimplify : Land resources are relatively scarce. The topography is not conducive to cultivation. Average farms are small. Common agricultural products in the area do not bring high market profits. A population decrease has ended due to international pressures against migration and the difficulties of city life. Two results are particularly significant to our concern: (1) Valley inhabitants have a vested interest in decreasing total cultivated acreage and consolidating production. (2) Social cohesiveness among farmers is now more appropriate than rugged competition.

Both results may be related to cannabis smoking patterns. If relationships between cannabis use and alterations in patterns of movement and, consequently, energy expenditure during work discussed in this paper are substantiated, we may suggest a connection between heavy use and decreases in total cultivation in Valley. Preliminary analyses also indicate a connection between cannabis use, cohesion in social and exchange relationships, and cooperative effort during work and leisure time activity. A discussion of these analyses is in preparation.


In Valley we found that cannabis use is related to alterations in the stream of consciousness and in the stream of activity which, in turn, are probably related to alterations in the central nervous system. Though subtle, these alterations seem to be significant in the biological-social-economiccultural system. To test these findings we suggest multi-disciplinary research. A team of anthropologists will carry out detailed studies in a research community at several levels of inclusiveness: 1. to determine the subjective interpretation of cannabis-induced alterations; 2. to determine cannabis-induced alterations in the stream of activity; 3. to determine the social-economic-cultural context for the use of cannabis; and 4. to determine the implications of use to the user as a member of a population in the defined social-economic-cultural context.

Concurrently, medical researchers, neurologists, and psychologists will carry out detailed studies with selected subjects; 1. to determine the relationship between cannabis use and physical health; 2. to determine alterations in psychological states after smoking cannabis and the relationship between those alterations and cannabis-induced alterations in perception and behavior during daily activity; and 3. to determine the relationship between the direct effects of cannabis in the central nervous system and alterations in the stream of consciousness and/or activity associated with cannabis.

Systems theory will permit the integration of findings and consequent statements concerning the relationship between the use of cannabis and

1. alterations in information processing and organization in the brain;

2. oll"servable alterations in the stream of behavior at several levels of organization; and 3. alterations in the structure and organization of social-economic-cultural institutions in a research community.

1 For the time being I have arbitrarily used Edith Clark's classification (1966:117). She distinguishes six types of residential groupings in Jamaica: "(A) simple family type households consisting of a man and woman with or without their children and possibly adopted children and non-kin persons; (B) extended family households, being an extension of simple family by the addition of other kin; (C) and (D) denuded family households, containing either a mother, or a father, living alone with his or her children. These might be either of the simple or the extended type; (E) single person households, and (F) sibling households. Type A is subdivided into two main groups: (I) a primary type containing children of the couple only and (II) a secondary type showing the presence of outside children. Thus 11(a) shows households containing outside children of both the man and woman, 11(b) those with outside children of the man, and II (c) with outside children of the woman.... Type II (d) households have adopted children only. Type III households are childless." Our term "common law" applies to relatively stable unions which have not been legally consummated.

2 Many of these households are connected by historical family ties or by marriage or common-law relationships. The most important connections — those which are maintained and cherished over time — include exchanges of goods and services.

3 These lands are sloped between 10 and 40 degrees. The shaley soils (slightly acid in reaction and low in phosphate and potash) are far from ideal for farming.

4 A heavy user smokes 3 to 8 times a day (2 grams to 1 ounce). A moderate user smokes once a week to once a day (.5 grams to 2 grams). A light user smokes once a week to once a day. A very light user smokes less than once a week.

5 Older smokers emphasize the importance of outside contacts in histories of use.

6 Ras Tafarians are members of a Jamaican religious, race-conscious, "back to Africa" group in which cannabis is used heavily.

7 Several men for whom first experience with cannabis was unpleasant (nausea and dizziness) declined a second trial. Their decision was supported by others who said, "His brains are too light so he can't use it."

8 Several report using cannabis to "calm" themselves when they are particularly "vexed" (angry). That is, cannabis itself is used to control behavior.

9 All names used are pseudonyms.

10 The USDA Handbook No. 8 was employed for analysis of nutritional data to establish baseline caloric and food composition values; these values were related to precise data for each informant to determine daily intake.

11 Dr. Michael Ashcroft and Mrs. Eric Cruickshank from the University of the West Indies Hospital visited the community to administer medical history interviews, examine the subjects, and obtain venous blood samples and feces specimens. In the hospital laboratory hemoglobin and packed cell volumes were measured and a thin blood film examined. Serum albumin and globulin were estimated and VDRL tests performed. Stool specimens were examined for ova and parasites.

12 Tests la and Ib (before and after cannabis) began at a cycle power load of 30 watts. This load was increased by 30 watts at three-minute intervals to the subject's maximal performance. In tests 11a and lib subjects cycled 10 kilometers at a speed and in the manner of their choice against a flywheel load of one kilogram. Inspired ventilation, breathing frequency, heart rate, expired air composition, and pedal rate were monitored continuously during all tests. A second series of tests were carried out in the field situation with the Monark ergometer. I installed the machine in our yard to reduce the effects of a long journey to the city before testing and to facilitate increased numbers of tests on alternative days. Six subjects were presented with the task of riding a total of 50 kilometers on two successive days at the speed and in the manner of their choice against a flywheel load of one kilogram. Three subjects smoked one gram of cannabis before the test on day one and none on day two. The process was reversed with the other three subjects. Another six subjects were asked to complete the test only once. Three of these smoked cannabis before the test, and three had none. Pedal rate, distance, and time were monitored every 30 seconds during 14 of the 18 tests. In 4 tests they were monitored every 5 minutes. The exercise tests were analyzed to determine heart rate at specified oxygen consumptions, ventilation at specified oxygen consumptions, tidal volume (size of each breath), and maximum oxygen consumption achieved. Results indicate effects of smoking cannabis on oxygen consumption during exercise, on resting heart rate, on submaximal heart rate during exercise (heart rate up to the point of maximum work output), on submaximal ventilation, on tidal volume, on maximal exercise, and on oxygen intake.

13 An exchange and social network summary was prepared from the daily activity episode summaries and the weekly interviews acquired in research households. It includes information on place of activities, persons met, purpose of meeting, nature of relationship, and exchanges of goods and services. Special subject interviews on cannabis and stream-of-consciousness tests were analyzed for specific classes of response. These were categorized and compared with those reported in the literature on subjective effects of cannabis.

14 The Kofrani-Michaelis device consists of a dry gas meter for measuring the total volume of expired air during any type of activity. It is connected to an aliquoting device containing a 100-ml butyl rubber bag which continuously removes samples of each breath of expired air. Rubber bladders are employed to retain samples of the air for analysis. The Lloyd analyzer is constructed so that materials absorb first the oxygen and then the carbon dioxide in the air sample. The amount of each absorbed can be measured precisely to determine by extrapolation the energy used when the sample was collected.

15 In all such statements the content refers to percent per amount smoked. We also have analyses of Delta-8, CNB, and CBD content of each cannabis sample mentioned in this article.

16 Body parts often change in concert — that is, the hand, arm, and leg change from movement to stasis at precisely the same moment. We borrow the term "configurations of change" from microanalysts of communicative behavior for these mutual changes.

17 The figures on calories and kilocalories were extrapolated from daily information on consumption and expenditure covering the first 180 days of 1971.

18 Increased breathing frequency relative to ventilation achieved after smoking cannabis tends to induce a premature sensation of breathlessness. Maximum oxygen intake is reduced by low ventilation.

19 These figures were summarized from daily information on consumption and expenditure for 15 men. The data cover the first 180 days in 1971.

20 Two points: 1) These figures are in striking similarity to those from other agricultural areas in Jamaica. 2) Figures on consumption for women and children indicate that the seeming health of the adult male farmers is gained at considerable nutritional expense to other household members.

21 Our field study was part of a collaborative project of the Research Institute for the Study of Man and the University of the West Indies. Detailed psychological, neurological, and physiological studies were carried out on chronic smokers and non-smokers of cannabis. Results indicate no significant long-term effects of cannabis smoking.

22 These tapes were produced by Melanie Dreher, a member of the Research Institute for the Study of Man project, during recent field studies in Jamaica.


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Our valuable member Joseph Schaeffer has been with us since Tuesday, 21 February 2012.