Couldn't connect with Twitter
Personal stories addiction women 50+, heroin addiction, cannabis addiction, ice addiction, prescription drug addiction, OTC addiction, men & women 18-60, women 50+, personal stories addiction men aged 30-39, Personal stories addiction men aged 50+, Personal stories speed addiction, personal stories ice addiction

Experiences with Cannabis

Preferred Name: Pauline

Gender: Female

Age: 51


Pauline is single and lives on her own. She works casually in administration and volunteers at a local non-government organisation. She was born in Australia and is unsure of her ethnic background.

Brief Outline:

Pauline started smoking cannabis daily in her mid-teens and continued during her twenties while at university. In her early thirties she began practising yoga regularly and reduced her consumption to a few times a year. Several years later she came out as a lesbian and found she was ‘suddenly surrounded by all these party people’. She resumed smoking cannabis daily, and occasionally took cocaine and MDMA socially. She has continued to smoke cannabis daily for over ten years and now in her early fifties has no plans to stop. She describes her cannabis use as ‘an addiction’, which she manages by smoking only in the evenings.

Pauline's Story:

Pauline loves being in ‘green open space’ and recently bought a house in a regional town. She works casually in administration and volunteers at a local non-government organisation. A keen singer, she sometimes sings in a choir.

Pauline’s parents died when she was in her teens and she went to live with relatives in what she describes as an emotionally ‘abusive home’. A few years later she decided to leave school and enter full-time work, which she says she found ‘empowering’. She moved into a boarding house and then into a share house with friends. Around this time a friend offered her cannabis and she accepted. She says she ‘liked [smoking cannabis] straight away’ and found the ‘counter culture’ associated with it appealing. She started smoking every evening when ‘winding down’ after the working day.

Pauline continued to smoke in the evenings for the next few years while studying at university. Later in her early thirties she started practising yoga and living a ‘yogic lifestyle’. She stopped smoking cannabis except for a few times a year with her partner at the time. After a few years their relationship ended and soon after Pauline came out as a lesbian. She says that coming out made her ‘happy on so many levels’ and she found herself ‘suddenly surrounded by all these party people’. She resumed smoking and started taking cocaine and MDMA occasionally.

In her late thirties Pauline moved interstate and began a new relationship. She continued to smoke in the evenings but this became a source of conflict between her and her partner who saw Pauline’s smoking as ‘a problem’. Pauline says she started to feel that she had to hide her consumption. A few years later the relationship ended and Pauline moved to a regional town. She began a new relationship but her partner became abusive and a few months before the interview, their relationship ended. She remembers feeling ‘depressed’ and ‘disempowered’ after the breakup, and says that, without cannabis, coping with the breakup ‘would have just been hell’. She now smokes cannabis daily and considers her consumption ‘an addiction’ because she says she feels ‘wedded’ to it. To manage it she only smokes in the evenings.

Although Pauline says she feels ‘free’ since the move, she’s found it difficult to get well-paid work in the town where she now lives and has had to use her savings to fund her living expenses, which she finds quite stressful. A few weeks before the interview, Pauline bought a house in the area and plans to settle there and find more work.


Pauline’s (F, 51, works in administration, cannabis) ex-partner was ‘very judgmental’ about her cannabis consumption, which made her feel she had to hide it. (Played by an actor)


I came out of a relationship [a few years ago…] with another woman who was very judgmental about my pot [use]. I guess I played it down a bit at first, but it was a real problem in the relationship […] Somehow in that time I was with her, I was aware that […] my pot use changed. So if I was at home before her from work, which was quite common […] I’d have one [joint and then] I would start thinking things like, ‘Do I quickly have time to rush and have that second one before she gets home?’ You know, like, hiding it. And even when I’d have those thoughts, my intellect was horrified. You know, I didn’t want to be that sort of person, but it did [push] me a bit down that path. And it’s really only now that I’m living alone […] that I can just have it in the middle of my lounge room if I want to. But I still I feel I have to […] keep it hidden.

Pauline takes a long detour to avoid roads where police are known to do roadside drug testing as she’s aware that the test can detect cannabis even if it was consumed some time earlier. (Played by an actor)


There’s a big police operation on in the area […] They are rolling [out] this new dual testing and we’re hearing stories on a weekly basis – ‘Oh, did you hear so-and-so got done?’ So, you know, I just don’t need this extra stress. I’ve just moved to [a new suburb, near a major road and…] a friend visiting from [the city] two weeks ago got picked up on that road and tested positive for marijuana in her system […] So, you know, there’s me never driving on that road again. So instead of driving from there to there, I now do a big loop, which probably almost doubles the distance so I avoid the bit where the police are known to sit.*

* A person may test positive for cannabis some time after they last consumed it. The length of time varies, depending on the amount consumed and the individual’s metabolism.

Pauline is concerned that her ability to find work could be affected if she loses her driver’s licence due to cannabis consumption. (Played by an actor)


Being low income is a big factor playing into all of this. So I knew when I moved up to this region that employment would be really hard […] and I knew that what I did in [the city] was fairly niche kind of work. The reality of it was really awful though […] So I’ve just been living off my […] savings and getting what part-time work I could.


I’ve just gone for a rare […] well-paid […] job [in a nearby city]. If I lose my [driver’s] licence for pot use I’ll be screwed.* I could live in [this town] without a car [but] it would be difficult […] I could get a pushbike and I could walk around. It’s 15 minutes’ walk from my house into town, so it’s no biggie, but that means I’d have to limit my possibilities of where I work.

* A person may test positive for cannabis some time after they last consumed it. The length of time varies, depending on the amount consumed and the individual’s metabolism.


In the past Pauline enjoyed taking cocaine and MDMA but now finds it takes her too long to ‘recover’ afterwards. (Played by an actor)


I would occasionally have what I would call ‘party drugs’: cocaine or MDMA. I do find though in the last say four […or] five years, it just knocks me around so much. It’s almost not worth it. And I’ve been at things, like say a small boutique dance party, where I feel very comfortable and safe and entertained [with] all my loved ones around me. And after about five hours, my physical body just says, ‘No’. And I’ve still got the drug pumping through, but I’m over it. My physical body’s tired, I just want to be in a quiet space again. And then it [takes] days to get over it.

Pauline sometimes finds it hard to eat a nutritious diet because of work commitments, stress and a routine of smoking cannabis after work. (Played by an actor)


A regular week for me would be smoking [cannabis] every night […] If I’m really focused on my health, I won’t have it until after dinner, but often the craving for the pot is more than [the feeling of], ‘Gee I want my dinner’, which then leads to naughty patterns around not eating properly because I can’t be bothered […] Then at 8.30 or 9pm, I’m sort of looking in the fridge for just anything I can shovel down, where[as] I could have […] cooked up some beautiful organic vegetables and meats that I’d bought.


Even just last night, I was sitting there and I thought, ‘No, before you have a second joint, you have to have that soup that’s heating on the stove. It’s ready now. Just go and eat it’. So [regular cannabis consumption] does link in to some disordered eating patterns for me.