Further Reading


The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, 5 October 2000.

Guidelines for Sensible Cannabis Use

Prepared for, and with the assistance of, Cannabis Action Network, Berkeley, CA

Stanton Peele & Archie Brodsky


Keywords: marijuana, marihuana, cannabis, guidelines.


Personal use of cannabis is illegal in the United States. Despite this fact, it is widely used, both here and throughout the world, and has a written history of more than 3000 years. Most often, cannabis use is viewed as pleasurable and, unlike alcohol, it is not associated with violence. In many places and times, its use has been socially accepted and regarded as normal. Its analgesic and other medical benefits are well recognized, and the therapeutic use of cannabis has been legalized in many states and localities.

However, like any other psychoactive substance, cannabis can be misused. Excessive recreational use can contribute to problems including sleepiness, overeating, and time management issues. Due to the political climate surrounding cannabis research, clinical studies have produced widely conflicting conclusions about the true benefits and potential side effects of cannabis use. Some research reports potential dangers to the throat and lungs from smoking cannabis. Moreover, people may overuse cannabis in place of a normal range of life experiences.

Personal users of cannabis must make responsible decisions and use good judgement. The following Guidelines help identify ways of using cannabis in a positive manner.

  1. Adults should use cannabis as part of a healthy, balanced, and responsible lifestyle.
  2. The decision to use cannabis should be made freely, and not as a result of social pressure.
  3. Cannabis users should be well informed about its effects on themselves and others. These effects should include both legal and health risks and personal consequences.
  4. Never use cannabis as an excuse or a cue for antisocial or irresponsible behavior.
  5. Cannabis users should model and reward responsible use, particularly with new users.
  6. Use cannabis as a part of positive social interactions, rather than primarily in isolation or as a remedy for negative feelings.
  7. Develop sensible cannabis use limits for yourself based on personal, health, situational, and cultural factors. It is important to be objective about your cannabis use and listen to the constructive advice of others.
  8. Avoid cannabis use that puts you or others at risk, such as when driving, at work, or in public places. Remember, personal use of cannabis is still illegal and penalties are stiff.
  9. Use of cannabis by children is inappropriate and should be discouraged.
  10. Cannabis use should contribute to, rather than detract from, users' health, well-being, creativity, work, relationships, and social obligations.