Cannabis is illegal in Nigeria. Its production, distribution and use are criminalised by local laws. Cultivated mostly in southern Nigeria, the drug is affordable and readily available through street drug-running. Cannabis users are also widely seen as social deviants, and are liable to arrest and imprisonment.
Despite the stigma and danger from the law, the use of cannabis in Nigeria is growing fast. Studies show that it ranks just below alcohol as the second most used psychoactive substance in Nigeria. It is mostly used by people aged 25-39 years.
In my recent research leading to two publications, I explored access to recreational drugs, and the factors that encourage and motivate young adults in an eastern Nigerian city to use cannabis. My study also examined cannabis normalisation among users and their social networks. I recorded how the participants connect cannabis to their academic, leisure, social and sporting lives.
It’s important to understand why young people are using drugs, and if policy and legal frameworks are to be effective in reducing any harm. My findings show that cannabis is readily available in the city where I conducted our interviews, and it is easily accessible.
Cannabis has many uses
For my study, I selected 23 young men and women who were either university undergraduates or graduates who use cannabis. I interviewed them to find out their habits and why…