Preferred Name: Anika
Anika is studying for a tertiary degree and lives on her own. She describes her ethnic background as ‘New Zealander’: she and her parents were born in New Zealand.
Anika has smoked cannabis throughout her teens, both alone and with friends. She has also occasionally taken MDMA and psychedelic drugs on the weekends with friends. At times during high school when she was smoking cannabis every day, she began to think she might be ‘addicted’. Although she enjoyed smoking, she felt it had become a ‘routine’ that was difficult to break. Her parents suggested that she get counselling to stop smoking, but Anika felt able to ‘control’ her consumption by herself and continued smoking. She plans to continue smoking cannabis and ‘experimenting’ with psychedelic drugs.
Anika began to think she was ‘addicted’ to cannabis when she was smoking heavily every day during high school. Even though she says smoking helped her to ‘have a great day’, she was uncomfortable that it was becoming ‘a routine’ that she found difficult to break. She also began experiencing mood swings which concerned her.
During high school, Anika’s parents discovered that she smoked cannabis and suggested she see a counsellor. Although she appreciated her parents supporting her and asking if she ‘needed help’, she says she felt counselling was unnecessary because she was able to ‘control’ her cannabis use herself.
In her mid-teens, she began taking MDMA on the weekends with friends, and occasionally LSD and DMT. At various times, she says her MDMA use became ‘a bit scary’ when she took it frequently, and for several days at a time. Anika says she was ‘addicted to the high’ of MDMA at that time, and felt very ‘negative’ in the days following consumption, but she found it hard to avoid taking it when her friends offered it to her.
Anika continued to smoke cannabis after moving to Australia to attend university. While she considers her cannabis consumption to be an ‘addiction’, she doesn’t see this as ‘a negative thing’ because it ‘fits’ in with her ‘lifestyle’ of going to university, making art and socialising. To avoid cannabis use becoming a ‘routine’, she does outdoor activities, meditates, practises yoga, and talks with her partner, which she finds helpful to get into ‘a different headspace’.
In the future, after finishing her studies, Anika plans to find work, and to continue on her ‘self-journey’ to ‘find’ herself. She sees smoking cannabis as part of her life, and plans to continue smoking cannabis. She also intends to continue ‘experimenting’ with psychedelic drugs. She hopes there will ‘be a lot of colour’, ‘light’ and ‘happy things’ wherever ‘the future leads’ her.
When Anika’s (F, 19, studying, cannabis) parents expressed concern about her well-being and she was smoking cannabis every day, she began to think she had an addiction and should cut down.
Every day I’d wake up and have a cone, wake up and have a cone. And […] my parents would see me and would just be like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ And, you know, they would never know, but yeah, it wasn’t good […I started to think I had an addiction to cannabis] when I [was buying] big quantities. I think I would buy an ounce with friends and you know, halve it. You’d have this bowl of weed and […] until that’s gone, you can’t get [on] with life. Like, I don’t know, with me, it’s like if there’s a bowl right beside my bed, I will wake up, I will smoke weed. I’ll have a great day, but at the end of the day you’re like, ‘Okay, tomorrow will be a new day’ but then you just consistently get into a routine of smoking weed every day.
Anika describes the enjoyment she gets from cannabis consumption. (Played by an actor).
Weed is such a tasty thing to have […] because literally there are no worries. Fear does come in but only if you really abuse it. But the minute you have a joint in the sun, or something like that […] it’s the best and it gets addictive. Like, why wouldn’t you want to go to that happy place? Or why wouldn’t you want to eat really good food and have a good pizza on the munchies, you know? Like, it’s the best […] Food tastes better, music [sounds] better. Even running is, like, amazing because you’re flying. Swimming is amazing, even in the winter. I think cold nights are the best when you have a joint.
I always dance when I’m alone and stoned, because you’re in your room and no one’s watching, so you’re like, ‘I’m just going to go all Michael Jackson’, you know. It’s really fun.
After smoking cannabis, Anika sometimes experiences sudden changes in mood, which can cause issues with her partner. (Played by an actor)
[My partner] tells me sometimes that […] when I smoke weed I get very angry and then all of a sudden I get all lovey dovey and happy. And then he does something, like a little thing, and I just shoot off and go mental […] I mean, normally yes, I can get very angry but when weed comes into the picture, I take it too seriously. And, you know, I think anger management problems start to come in […] and that freaks me out when I hurt people […] Like, the last person I want to get angry at is the person I’m in love with, and I can scare him so much. I can even get physical sometimes and weed does not help. Like, when we’re in a confined space, you just want to breathe. And that’s why I say, getting outside is probably the best thing, or sleeping on it.
When Anika’s parents became aware of her cannabis consumption, they asked if she needed counselling. (Played by an actor).
[Once my dad found out I was smoking weed] I think [he and my mum] just had to sit me down and go, ‘Do you do this?’ […] and I fully just had to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m pretty addicted’. And he actually asked me, ‘Do you need to see a counsellor or do you need to get help?’ And that was actually quite nice for my parents to, like, support me and ask if I needed help, but I just said, ‘No, look I’m fine. I’m a good kid. Like, I haven’t done anything wrong’. And I think they just believed me. But yeah, I think my parents were the first ones to sit me down and go […] ‘Is there something wrong with you?’
Anika says some of her friends judge her for taking drugs and suggest that she is going ‘off the rails’. (Played by an actor) (Note: strong language)
When I […] did acid [while travelling…] I told my friends about it and they were just like, ‘You are going to go off the rails’ […] And then the next minute they see all this amazing artwork [that I did…] and they’re like, ‘This is great’. And I’m like, ‘Well, you were calling me a druggo […] and here you are applauding me when I’m a normal person doing normal things’. [As soon as] the word ‘drug’ pops up [people start suggesting I have an] addiction and [I’m a] druggo, and all those negative things. And that’s what the shit thing is: there are people who look at the word ‘drugs’ and go, ‘Oh no, you are going to be a bad person when you grow up’. [But] there are people like me and my other mates [who] are just like, ‘It is not that bad’.