Virtual Conference
Anneliese Dorr

Anneliese Dorr

University of Chile, Chile

Title: Marijuana, experience of temporality, and school performance from a qualitative and quantitative approach


The objective of the qualitative research was to study the experience of time in young people who smoke marijuana in excess, given the high rate of smoking in the teenage years, a delicate stage regarding the planning of the future. Our objective is to see how the relationship between past and future plans is manifested in their biography, through goals and actions, in light of their ability to anticipate themselves. Our guiding principle is the ability to “anticipate oneself”, proposed by Sutter, a phenomenological psychiatrist.

Regarding the method, we employed the analysis of autobiographies of young persons through the hermeneutical phenomenological method developed by Lindseth, based on Ricoeur. The results reveal that in the biographies the past temporal dimension is characterized by poor descriptions, the present is where they extend themselves most, describing tastes, how they visualize themselves, but showing a lack of clarity in their interests. In the future we see the absence of reference, giving the impression of no progression from the past, and without awareness of the fact that the future possibilities or lack thereof are heavily dependent on present actions.

Therefore, we found about our question, of what actually occurs with the dimensions of past, future and present in such young person’s. There is no real connection between past and the future projections and possibilities. The past, which carries the subject towards his future and which determines the course of his actions, appears impoverished. Thus, we see unrealizable projects, empty possibilities, reasons why they easily change their minds, what tells us that they do not consider their “factuality” at the time of projecting themselves. It could be said that they are living in an inauthentic future, dealing irresponsibly with it, in which though they have objectives, they do not show commitment to their plans. That is, the past and the future do not appear to be linked (of what I have been and what I will be), which does not allow there to exist a “from where” to project my future.

Regarding our second study, which approach was quantitative, our objective was to know how low consumption of marijuana affect cognitive ability in post-primary students. We analyzed the results of neuropsychological and Neuro-SPECT tests comparing schoolchildren who smoke marihuana with those who don’t, with emphasis on the effects on cognitive functions involved in learning. It was a comparative study, based the total sample on 565 school adolescents coming from four schools of Santiago, Chile.  All were interviewed in order to select a sample that was stratified by sex, class and consumption of marijuana.  Two groups were made: 40 marijuana-only users and 40 non users. The findings show statistically significant differences in the following areas: subgenual bilateral hypoperfusion, more marked on the left side (Brodmann area 25), frontal bilateral hypoperfusion (Brodmann’s areas 10 and 32), front cingulate gyrushypoperfusion (Brodmann area 24) and hypoperfusion of Brodmann area 36 that projects to the hippocampus. The results are highly matched with the neuropsychological tests given in the sense, that means, significant differences are found between the two groups as far as the tests measuring cognitive functions are concerned.  


Anneliese Dorr, Dr. Phil. Since 1996 professor at the faculty of medicine, University of Chile in the department of psychiatry and mental health. She has conducted research on drug-related issues and pathologies in children and young people. Due to her national and international research and publications, she is part of the Chilean Government Council that makes decisions regarding drug prevention policies. In 2019, she completed a diploma in human research ethics at the University of Chile. In 2013 she obtained her Ph.D. in psychology from the faculty of social sciences at the University of Chile. Her doctoral thesis was on adolescent habitual marijuana users and their experience of temporality. In 2005, she obtained a master's degree in clinical child and adolescent psychology at the faculty of social sciences of the University of Chile. Her master's thesis was a "Comparative study of self-concept in children of different socioeconomic levels”.