Up2U – Substance Misuse Service for 18s and under in Cardiff and the Vale.
Interview with a fourteen year old female, living in the Vale of Glamorgan
When did you start using?
I started using cannabis when I was age 12.
Why did you start using? What did you like about it?
I started using because everyone else around me was doing it and so I thought I would join in. I then started to use it every day because I liked the effects.
When did you start to think you should cut down and stop?
I first thought that I should start cutting down at the start of the 2014. I noticed my chest was getting bad and I couldn’t breathe as well when I was doing sport. My mother also noticed and started to say how bad it was and when she found out I had been smoking cannabis I got grounded for ages. When I then started to meet with Up2U and talking about cannabis I learnt about the damage that it could do to my brain, especially my memory. I decided then that I should stop as I need all my brain for school and work when I’m older.
How did you start to cut down and then stop smoking cannabis?
Seeing Up2U and getting support from other services has helped. I started putting less cannabis in each joint and then started not using on certain days of the week. I also stopped hanging around with certain friends at certain times, like when they were using. As I started to cut down and continued to learn about the risks of cannabis, it kept me motivated to carry on cutting down and eventually stop.
What has been good about stopping your use of cannabis?
I feel happier and more motivated. I go out much more and enjoy seeing my friends. Waking up in the morning is not as bad as it used to be and getting my school work done is much easier. I also feel closer to my family now as I am not keeping my cannabis use a secret. I also have more money now to spend on things and my health, especially my chest, has got better. I have also helped friends to cut down on their cannabis use, which has been really rewarding.
What do you think about drugs now that you have stopped?
I should have never started as it is a horrible thing, you don’t do anything, just wake up and smoke and sleep.
What would you say to other young people thinking about starting to use cannabis?
Don’t start as it is a disgusting habit and you may not be able to stop. Don’t give in to peer pressure.
What would you say to other young people who are thinking of cutting down/ stopping?
By cutting down, put less weed in it and keep yourself occupied. Cut down now before it’s too late.