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September 1970

Temporal Disintegration and Depersonalization During Marihuana Intoxication

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif
From the departments of psychiatry (Drs. Melges and Tinklenberg) and medicine (Dr. Hollister), Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Calif, and the Veterans Administration Hospital, Palo Alto, Calif (Dr. Hollister and Mr. Gillespie).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(3):204-210. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750030012003

WE HAVE recently reported that marihuana extract, calibrated for content of (—)-Δ1-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), significantly impaired the serial coordination of cognitive operations during a task that required sequential adjustments in reaching a goal.1 Our term for this mental incoordination is temporal disintegration. From a cognitive standpoint, temporal disintegration means that the individual has difficulty in retaining, coordinating, and serially indexing those memories, perceptions, and expectations that are relevant to the goal he is pursuing. Subjectively, temporal disintegration is experienced as a confusion of past, present, and future while a person attempts to pursue goals. This paper focuses on the relationship of temporal disintegration to depersonalization (that is, the experience of the self as strange and unreal) during marihuana intoxication.

Hypotheses  Since the personal past, present, and future constitute a fundamental subjective framework through which an individual views and identifies himself, we postulated that the fragmentation and disorganization of temporal experience

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