The use of cannabis popularly referred to as skunk or weed in Nigeria has continued to rise.
From findings, it is not as sweet as honey in taste, but it could drag someone to the gallows. It is highly addictive and those who cannot control their desires fall for it.
I sat at the lounge of a popular hospital in Fagba area of Lagos, waiting for my turn to go into the doctor’s office for diagnosis.
My thought was on what the doctor was likely to tell me when some boys came in.
They were three of them.
Two held on to another staggering like he had lost all stamina.
He collapsed into a chair close to me. One of the most difficult things for him to do at the time was to sit still.
I continued to observe the young man who consistently behaved like someone that had received an anointing of the devil’s bean.
He laydown on the iron chair, sat, lay down again and the other two were holding him desperately.
All I could see was someone near madness. Could this be fever? I reasoned.
I looked closely and saw that his eyes were dim. His lips were dry and I could figure what his problem was.
Because of his condition, I allowed him to go in before I did.
When I had the opportunity to see the doctor, as a journalist, I made a suggestive statement about the boy and the doctor’s response confirmed my doubts.
He was high.
I thought of his friends that held him closely, with all desire to save him from the road he was walking and I figured that friendship is something cherished by everyone.
It takes time and a whole lot of efforts to build friendship. Many would do anything to keep a friend.
However, one of the very things that sustain a relationship is the amount of trust that each person in the relationship has for the other.
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Here, lie new findings published in a report on the use of cannabis among young Nigerians.
We have seen different reports on the use of illicit drugs by young Nigerians. But we have not seen any like this one.
The rising cases of drug abuse in Nigeria had become so delicate that it resulted in the ban of codeine and some other over-the-counter drugs.
It became a major debate in the National Assembly and even birthed a song, with the axiom; Science Students, made popular few years ago.
In October 2020, researchers dug deeper into why young Nigerians are engaging in the use of cannabis.
They found very interesting things that reinforce the need for parents and governments to change the way they have treated the issue of drug abuse.
The researchers, who conducted their studies among youths in the eastern part of Nigeria, found that cannabis was used for social conformity, and enhancement motives.
As stated earlier, friendship is a cherished affair and people go out of their way to get it.
The research stated that, cannabis served as a social lubricant and was taken when the young men met for drug-related leisure.
According to the study, “social cannabis use facilitated enacting new friendships and fostering existing relationships.
“Taking cannabis in friendship networks cushioned the effects of discrimination and enhanced trust-building, which was essential for sharing secrets among drug-users”.
It further stated that cannabis use within friendship networks was normalised and seemingly compulsory.
People conformed to group norms, without which peers would not accept them.
Conforming to masculinity norms to avoid shaming necessitated excessive cannabis use among men, the report added.
Cannabis For Enhancement Motive
You may have heard people say that they get inspiration when they take cannabis.
How true this claim is have been faced with different views, but the interviewees told researchers that cannabis aided their academic performance.
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Academic enhancements also motivated cannabis use, the research led by an expert in Sociology of Addiction, Dr. Emeka W. Dumbili read:
Inspiration, alertness, assimilation, and enhancing better performance in oral and written examinations motivated cannabis use.
Also, findings indicate that gender and the motive for taking cannabis determined the quantities participants used, thus, supporting differentiated normalisation.
The Nigerian government is doing its best to address the abuse of substances by young Nigerians, but the researchers believe the government needs to rethink its strategy.
They suggested the need for a review of contemporary policies in Nigeria that criminalise cannabis use based on the view that it is a social evil.
Please, not that this article was not written to promote the abuse of cannabis, but to truly identify some of the issues that the government should look at in addressing its use.
What are your thoughts about this findings. Please, share in comment section.