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Cannabis 'drugspeak' from young people in Easterhouse, Glasgow

Ross, Alastair and Davies, John B. (2009) Cannabis 'drugspeak' from young people in Easterhouse, Glasgow. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 16 (2). pp. 152-166. ISSN 0968-7637

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This qualitative study involved young people from an educational project in Easterhouse in Greater Glasgow. The main aim was to investigate how they would describe and explain onset and continued use of cannabis, with a focus on functional discourse and psychological issues. The range of ages reported for cannabis initiation was 11-15 years (modal age 13), with use taking place with friends or older siblings. Non-use was reportedly relatively rare in participants' social circles. Participants appeared to accept cannabis use as a part of growing up in Easterhouse and were not motivated to explain in detail how their own use had come about. Some young people reported symptoms often associated with cannabis dependence, including daily use, increased tolerance and absence from school/project. They also spoke in contradictory terms about cannabis use, alternating between a hedonistic outlook and one that recognized problems with continued heavy use. Cannabis use commonly involved burning the drug in foil and inhalation through the use of improvised pipes or 'buckets' in places frequented primarily for smoking drugs. Language used could also be seen to mimic closely some aspects of heroin use. Questions are raised about the appropriateness of traditional images of 'recreational' cannabis-using behaviour in such settings.