Cohen, Peter (1990), Cocaine and Cannabis. An identical policy for different drugs?. In: Peter Cohen (1990), Drugs as a social construct. Dissertation. Amsterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam. pp. 15-31.
© Copyright 1990 Peter Cohen. All rights reserved.


III. Cocaine and Cannabis. An identical policy for different drugs? - Notes

Peter Cohen

  1. The text that follows was written in November 1985 for the Board of the Municipality of Amsterdam, after some members of this board had shown interest in a possible cocaine policy. I wrote the article as Adviser to the Board in drug policy matters. It was published as "Cocaine en Cannabis:een gelijk beleid voor verschillende drugs?" in Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, 1987(6), p. 244-268 in another-slightly enlarged-version.
  2. Both Ashley 1975 and Spotts and Shontz report the potential of cocaine to raise allergic effects with some people, in rare cases with lethal outcome.
  3. Cf Smart, C and Anglin, L: Do we know the lethal dose of cocaine? Jrnl of Forensic Sciences, Vol-32/2, 1987, p. 303-310 for the most recent overview of the available but highly inconclusive knowledge about the lethal dose of cocaine.
  4. I do not know of reports in which extremely high dosages of THC, the active alkaloid of cannabis, had resulted in death. I do not know if a lethal dosage of THC would be completely impossible. Since THC is not found in isolated and pure form on the consumer market for drugs I will in this text assume that lethal dosages of THC do not deserve mentioning.
  5. Drinking patterns may vary per class, per society, per historical period. The picture given here is what present middle class hard working Dutch people would find tolerable. A "reference drinking pattern" for 19th century Dutch harbour workers, or for present day Norway or Saudi Arabia would look quite different.
  6. If modern pharmacological research into cocaine would produce some evidence of the development of both tolerance and physiological dependence, cocaine and alcohol might end up having the same pharmacological risk value.