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The OH at position C·2' is in itself necessary for CNSactivity
206 The Total Synthesis of Cannabinoids
In a second synthesis (Chart 1
| es alive).
We are not claiming that the effects of one drug have nothing to do with whether a user
will later use another drug whose effects are similar. But what we are saying is that if the
effects-hypothesis holds up at all, it cannot explain the marijuana-heroin link. If anything,
it casts doubt on it. A sociologist might say that it is possible for a subculture to define the
effects as similar, and users will think that they are similar, isolate similar characteristics
such as the feeling of euphoria, but then we have to move to an altogether new level of
explanation, which the proponents of the pharmacological theory of the escalation are
unwilling to do.
The social theory of the progressive drug use underplays the pharmacological
characteristics of the two drugs. It is not so much that getting high pushes the drug user
from marijuana to heroin, as Henry Brill claims: "... the association is not a direct
pharmacological association, which means that if you take marijuana ipso facto you
become physically vulnerable to the opiate. It isn't that way."13 Furthermore, "there is
no pharmacological relation between the two drugs in the laboratory, but it is far from
certain that there is no association in the street."14 Rather, it is that a specific social
group defines both as acceptable and pleasurable, offering opportunities for members to
use both. As the New York State Narcotics Control Commission data show, it is entirely
possible that in slum and ghetto milieu, marijuana use leads to, or, in a very broad sense,
potentiates, heroin use. But it is not marijuana, specifically, that provides the impelling
force. Marijuana and heroin use in the slum are mutual components in a subculture.
Marijuana is experienced sooner in the encounter with this subculture; it is on the
periphery of this quasi-criminal subculture. Yet the involvement with marijuana is
obviously a matter of degree. Taking a few puffs of a marijuana cigarette during a school
lunch period may not implicate one in any heroin-linked activities or associations. But
daily use has a far higher chance of doing just that. In the ghetto milieu, progressive
involvement with marijuana is likely to precipitate encounters with heroin users. The more
that one uses marijuana in the lower-class slum, the greater is the likelihood that one will
later use heroin; the two exist in the same subcultural context. Interactions, friendships,
associations, which are carried out as a result of marijuana use are likely to precipitate
(15 of 24)4/15/2004 1:07:52 AM
The Marijuana Smokers - Chapter 8
heroin-using involvements, particularly if they are frequent and intimate. In this sense, and
in this sense only, marijuana use leads to heroin use.
One subcase of this line of reasoning is the "supplier" theory of drug progression. By
smoking marijuana, one is to some degree forced to interact with the criminal underworld.
The seller of marijuana is also invariably a narcoUs Seed Banks Cannabis">
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