3 Women Who Shun Alcohol But Smoke Cannabis Tell Us Why They Do It

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt
The world has been talking a lot about weed in the last month. Canada passed legislation to fully legalise the drug, becoming only the second country to do so (after Uruguay); meanwhile the US approved its first marijuana plant-derived drug for epilepsy, and in the UK calls for cannabis to be legalised for medical use are getting louder by the day following the high-profile case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell. The medicinal cannabis oil that he uses to treat his epilepsy was confiscated at the UK border, to mass uproar, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid is now considering making cannabis easier to prescribe for medical use.
Cannabis use is a contentious topic, with people arguing passionately for and against its legalisation in the UK. But many young people wonder what all the fuss is about. Many see cannabis as safer than alcohol, and recent figures from NHS Digital showed that British secondary school pupils were more likely to have taken cannabis in the previous year than any other drug. In the UK, a recent study also found that more young people are turning to marijuana rather than cigarettes or alcohol as their substance of choice.
Of course, both cannabis and alcohol come with a host of well-documented negative side-effects, but people persist in taking both regardless. Three women told Refinery29 UK why they avoid alcohol in favour of cannabis.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please visit FRANK or call 0300 123 6600 for friendly, confidential advice. Lines are open 24 hours a day.

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