Preferred Name: Jacob
Jacob works in hospitality and lives with his partner and their housemates in a share house. He describes his ethnic background as ‘Jewish’: he was born in Israel, as were his parents.
Jacob started smoking cannabis in his late teens when he was studying for a tertiary qualification as he found it helped him concentrate on his studies. Since then he’s smoked it on a daily basis and says it is now become a ‘habit’, which he plans around his work. At the time of the interview, he’d recently started using a vaporiser to consume cannabis, which he says offers a healthier alternative to smoking. In the future, Jacob says he would like to reduce his daily cannabis use to ‘a weekend thing or every couple of days or with friends’.
A few years before the interview, Jacob stopped smoking cigarettes and has since stopped smoking cannabis mixed with tobacco. As he explains, ‘I stopped smoking cigarettes a few years ago so I’m cutting off the tobacco completely out of my diet and trying to be a bit healthier in my drug habit I guess’. To avoid the harms associated with smoking, he’s also invested in a vaporiser, which he now uses to consume cannabis. Although he has no desire to stop taking cannabis, he takes breaks from time to time. He decides to take breaks for various reasons, including a desire to ‘clean up [his] system’, or ‘be more productive’, or when he is travelling and ‘doesn’t really think about [smoking cannabis]’. He has no plans for regular breaks but would like to reduce his daily cannabis consumption to ‘a weekend thing or every couple of days or with friends’.
In the future, he plans to travel with his partner for a couple of years. He also plans to return to his studies and sees his cannabis consumption as being beneficial to his future studies as he says it helps him to concentrate.
Jacob (M, 33, works in hospitality, cannabis) links addiction to health issues and a pattern of consumption that disrupts work and other everyday activities.
I think it [is] more than the people struggling. [It’s] where it hurts you day to day. Where you don’t have a job […] It’s not like I’m all about, everybody’s just got to work. Like, I wish I could not work. I would be the happiest person to not have a job and just do my thing, but I think the minute you can’t really be a part of society, that’s where it becomes a problem […] Or you see this vicious sort of circle happening. I don’t know, that’s the stuff that scares me. That’s where I see addiction. That’s where you can’t go and have a job, where you can’t have a normal life.
Jacob challenges his parents’ negative assumptions about drug use.
Talking to mum, she was like, ‘Oh, you know, I can see that you are doing your thing but I still think it’s a very bad thing. And I’ve seen all those people that started with a joint and ended up doing crack and blah, blah, blah.’ And, you know, girls that came to lecture at her school who started with a joint and now they’re prostitutes and selling themselves. Yeah, well I’m not. I started with a joint 15 years ago and I’ve got a full-time job. And I’ve got my degree, and I’m studying again. And, you know, I’ve got my relationship and everything’s fine. But it’s still very hard to convince them to see that side.
He and his partner are trying to cut back a bit but they don’t want to stop altogether. He describes a number of benefits from smoking cannabis.
[My partner and I] are aware of the problem that we are abusing [cannabis] a little bit too much. But at the same time, it’s like, well, we’re still looking for work. We are still being productive and paying our taxes and doing great stuff […] So we talk about it. We are both trying to mellow it down a little bit. But at the same time, we don’t really want to stop because we enjoy it. And you know, it’s something we do together and it’s good […] Like I said, it helps me relax and be nice, and same for her. So we are better together when we are not cranky, so there’s less tension in the house. And like I say, we are a couple, you got your fights. So we are way more chilled out together when we are stoned.
Along with eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercise, Jacob smokes cannabis daily and says it ‘works well’ with his other activities to support his health and well-being.
[To look after my health and well-being], I eat well, I exercise. I’m pretty lucky to come from a pretty healthy family, so we just don’t really get sick, and don’t have any major illnesses in the family. But yeah, I cycle pretty much everywhere I go. The last couple of years living by the beach, I would surf four times a week. I try to have a balanced diet. Like I’m not a health freak. I’m not, you know, juicing kale and quinoa all day long, but I don’t eat McDonalds at all. Yeah, so I’m just trying to balance it as much as I can. Again, I’m not against any food. I’m not vegetarian or vegan or any crazy diet. I’ll eat anything, but I’m just sort of trying to sort of moderate what I eat, and just be active. I like being outside. I like being in the sun, and being in the park and yeah, riding my bike and going out, and playing Frisbee with friends. And again, I’m very lucky to be a healthy person so I don’t really have to worry about it too much.
[Marijuana fits] great [into my health and well-being]. Yeah, it works well together […] I don’t think it helps my health. Well, I’m not really sure. I’ve been reading a lot of stuff the last couple of years, researches [sic] about the health benefits of marijuana which is apparently anti-cancerous, and help[s] with diet, and help[s] with digestion, and all that stuff, but I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it too much because again, I’m so used to smoking weed with everything I do, so like riding to work and back […] I’d wake up and have my joint, and get on the bike and ride, and then I’ll finish work and have a joint, and I’ll ride back to work because I just enjoy the ride. I have my headphones on and listen to my music […] But [smoking weed] was never contradicting [my health]. Like, going to the park with friends and playing Frisbee and running around, it’s great. We’ll just smoke a few joints when we’re doing it as well […] Yeah, [smoking cannabis is] very much, very much [part of my social life].
Jacob says that smoking cannabis regularly doesn’t impair his ability to function, adding that he hopes in the future cannabis will be legalised.
I do think, especially if this website is going to go to lawmakers and stuff, I do want people to know that living with weed dependency (or habit) is not that bad. You can still function like a normal person in society, and go to work, and pay your taxes, and have a family, and do everything perfect.
People that think [cannabis] is like the devil and all that stuff, it’s not [like that]: it’s okay. Cigarettes are heaps worse than marijuana, and they are fully legal and taxed, and being stuffed in everybody’s face, so it’s really important to me [that cannabis be legalised], especially as a smoker, especially because what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis is illegal and I don’t want to break the law. I’m not out there, you know, to cause trouble and stuff. Like, I just want to smoke my joint and be left alone so it is very important for me the whole legalisation thing, which I’ve been into for lots and lots of years. [I’ve been] trying to sign whatever petition I can and go to meetings, and go to gatherings. But again, I will never go to a four twenty gathering [a pro-cannabis event] in the city and smoke a joint because it’s still illegal, and I don’t want to get into trouble. But I do want it to be legal because I think it’s not such a bad thing.