Preferred Name: Lucy
Lucy is studying for a tertiary qualification and works in retail. She’s married and lives with her husband and two children. She describes her ethnic background as ‘Australian’: she was born in Australia, as were her parents.
Lucy began smoking cannabis in her mid-teens with her boyfriend. She’s continued to smoke it regularly, except while pregnant with each of her two children. She describes herself as having a ‘cannabis habit’ and a ‘mental dependency’ to cannabis. She smokes it in the evenings while relaxing, reading and writing. She says she experiences a range of benefits from regular cannabis use and has no plans to stop.
In her early twenties, she and her partner moved to a new suburb where she felt ‘really lonely’. She became pregnant and stopped smoking during her pregnancy. Soon after her child was born, the child became ill and Lucy resumed smoking daily to help her cope with the ‘stressful situation’.
Her relationship with her partner later ended, and she stopped smoking cannabis. Around this time, she began studying and working in the health sector. After about a year, she resumed smoking cannabis with friends and found her experience of it had changed. Now ‘happier in [her]self’, she felt that consuming cannabis was ‘really fun’ and ‘enjoyable’, and became her ‘way to chill’ and ‘relax’.
Several years later, Lucy and her current partner were married. She became pregnant with her second child and stopped smoking until six months after the birth. It was around this time that Lucy was diagnosed with postnatal depression and went to see a counsellor. Living in a small town where smoking cannabis as an adult was considered ‘taboo’ and ‘dodgy’, she says she didn’t feel comfortable mentioning her cannabis use to the counsellor because she thought she would ‘just be judged’.
Lucy has since recovered from the postnatal depression and says she now feels ‘happy’. She enjoys smoking cannabis in the evenings after her children and husband have gone to bed. She calls this her ‘own […] private time’ in which she listens to music, reads and writes. She says she ‘likes the way [cannabis] makes [her] think’ and finds it ‘opens [her] mind up a little’ so that she can ‘see things in a different way’.
Given the benefits she enjoys from cannabis use, Lucy thinks cannabis will continue ‘featuring in [her] life’. She’s soon to complete her course of study with a view to developing a new career, and in the future, she and her family are planning to move ‘to the beach’ and buy a house.
Lucy (F, 34, works in retail, cannabis) says smoking cannabis generally helps with her studies, but sometimes she finds it makes her ‘go in circles’ when writing essays. (Played by an actor)
[Smoking marijuana] opens my mind up a little. I see things in a different way. You know, I’m a pretty deep thinker but I notice with it I’ll really sit and think over things. I’ll think more philosophically. I believe it’s giving me a bit more depth when I’m writing, or maybe that’s what I tell myself, but I think for me, it can be really fun.
I write a lot of poetry and stuff, so for me, smoking is great. Like, it’s really good. But then if it’s, like, essays or whatever […] I’ll be working on something and then I’ll have a [joint] and I’ll start thinking, like, ‘Oh yeah’, and [I’ll] get a whole other avenue of thoughts […] But then when I actually go to sit down to do it, I’m really going in circles […] you know. Whereas if I was straight I would just write that out and I wouldn’t keep going over it […So in that sense] it probably isn’t always useful, but otherwise, I’m pretty fine.
Lucy describes her daily cannabis consumption as a ‘mental dependency’ as she relies on it for ‘comfort’. (Played by an actor)
If you’re having [marijuana] every day, but then you’ve just got to go without it for a night or two, you’re all right […] because that’s the thing, there is no physical dependency […] It’s not like other drugs, like, even cigarettes, where you’re just […] going mental. Marijuana is the one thing that I think is more a mental dependency […] I wouldn’t really consider myself like an addict, smoking [marijuana]. I’m just dependent on it, mentally dependent because, like I said, it’s my comfort […] It’s not like I’m actually full on tearing my hair out without it. So I guess, yeah, dependency is just more of a reliance, whereas an addiction is, if you don’t have it […] you are, like, suffering, or there’s terrible pain. I guess that’s the difference I have in my mind about it.
Lucy describes her mother’s response when she told her about her cannabis consumption. (Note: strong language) (Played by an actor)
I finally thought that I could maybe open up to my mum, because my mum and I have a lot of problems. I thought I could open up to her and that was the worst mistake of my life because my mum […] just used it against me. She went and told everybody I was on drugs. It became her story. It became about pity[ing] her because her daughter was on drugs. And she just lost it. She just didn’t have a rational sense [that…] it wasn’t even that bad [She didn’t ask] ‘Why?’ or, ‘Are you okay?’ or anything, you know. She just went like, ‘Holy shit, you’re a druggo. Oh my God, my daughter’s a druggo’. And she’ll still say that about it. And I’m like, Jesus, you know […] So my family […] judge me for it too really […] They’re definitely not […] understanding of it.
Lucy avoids telling some of her friends about her cannabis consumption because she thinks they will judge her. (Played by an actor)
I kind of have two sets of friends: ones who have been there and done all that, and they are way past [drug use] and the others who still like to have a smoke. I tend to hang out with them more to be honest because I know they’re still on my level. And they’re not judging me for it […] But then there’s the other friends who are the more judgmental types, who I would try and keep [my marijuana use] from […] I’m not going to go to great lengths to hide it. But if I tell them, I know that they’re, like, judging me for it.
Lucy fears being ‘judged’ by mental healthcare services if she tells them she smokes cannabis. (Played by an actor)
I have been to see a counsellor because I had postnatal depression [but] I wouldn’t tell her that I was smoking [marijuana]. Maybe I’m judging myself more than they would [judge me], but I didn’t even tell them […] I guess I felt more comfortable when I was younger if I was seeing a doctor and admitting [I smoke], but now that I’m older, I feel like I’ll just be judged […] I wouldn’t mention it and I have never really ever gone for drug counselling or anything, you know, it’s never been a thing. So, yeah, and I guess I wouldn’t probably, even though I’ve had times where I’ve thought, ‘Yeah, this is becoming a problem’. Like, why do I need this every day? Why do I tell myself that? Yeah, I don’t go [and] do anything about it, because I don’t want people to judge me, quite simply.
An active person, Lucy goes for regular walks and plays sport. She’s also careful of what she eats, and meditates to relax. (Played by an actor)
[To look after my health and well-being] I write, I play netball, I walk all the time, walk my dog. I’m pretty active. Yeah, I like to go bush walking. I’m not lazy, I do lots of stuff and I eat pretty well […] I used to be really lazy but I definitely eat better now, because I mean, I’m getting older, you[‘ve] got to be more conscious of these things. So yeah, I eat pretty well, and I’m starting to really take an interest in growing my own food and buying organic food, things like that. I sometimes do meditation at the local Buddhist Centre, because I know that’s good for me, because I do tend to get a bit frazzled [laughs] Sometimes when everything is going on, it’s nice to relax.