I was probably into my early teenage years before I knew that drugs even existed apart from over-the-counter medicines. I think the first time I did know about drugs was when I heard that the uncle of someone I was at school with had died of a drugs overdose. I didn’t notice anyone using drugs at school or on my teenage nights out. When the Master of my college asked about drug use in the establishment, someone joked that the only drug problem in college was that there weren’t any!
My first cannabis experience
My first cannabis experience was at a party at a friend’s house in my early twenties. He was a barrister and there were a group of teachers sitting together. I sat down with them purely because my new shoes were hurting me. Suddenly I was offered a joint and was so naive I thought it was a cigarette. I was never particularly street-wise.
Friends and family
Friends and family have told me of their prior experiences of using cannabis. It appears my brother and husband did not enjoy taking it so gave up after a couple of experiences. My mum had made me swear not to use drugs so I didn’t. I have never even smoked. My drug of choice is probably alcohol or coffee! I did wonder if my husband should try cannabis to help him deal with the agony he experienced due to his severe psoriasis.
I lived in France for about 3 years and frequented local bars. In one bar it became clear people were using cannabis quite openly. In another it was banned and in the third it was frowned upon. Fueled by too much wine,, I once took a joint and put it in my mouth. I didn’t know what to do with it and it wasn’t lit. I ended up discarding it in an embarrassed fashion. I used to smile as I saw friends using rolling papers like on this website. It seemed to me cannabis use in groups did not lead to any trouble and just a relaxed and convivial atmosphere which I enjoyed. Having said that I am aware for some, cannabis is the starting point that leads them down a path of using more dangerous drugs.
Cannabis and the law
Despite campaigns to legalise cannabis use, it remains illegal to smoke weed anywhere in the United Kingdom, including within one’s own home. Data however suggests that this law is regularly flouted. In my experience, it is professionals who are using it and often people like teachers who ironically are telling our children not to use drugs. My kids report that they were aware of drug use in school contrasting with my own childhood and teenage experiences.
Cannabis in medicines
Most people know that cannabis is used in a prescription drug called Sativex to help ease the pain of muscle spasms linked to multiple sclerosis. Nabilone is another drug that is used to ease nausea in people undertaking chemotherapy for cancer. Clinical trials are under way to see if cannabis-based drugs can help with a whole range of illnesses that affect adults and children.
I find the whole issue of cannabis is a complex and emotive one.
What do you think about the use of cannabis?