“Don’t make too much fuss about it.” Negotiating adult cannabis use – Københavns Universitet

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18. maj 2017

“Don’t make too much fuss about it.” Negotiating adult cannabis use

Together with his colleague Silje Louise Dahl, Associate Professor Jacob Johan Demant contributed with the article '“Don’t make too much fuss about it.” Negotiating adult cannabis use' to the journal 'Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy'.

In this article, Jacob Demant and Silje Dahl investigate how cannabis users from 23–40 years discuss their use and act to present themselves as adult smokers. Age remains an important explanatory factor for people’s drug use, yet few studies explore the social meaning of age in relation to drug use. How adults practise and present their drug use as members of particular age groups has received little attention in research. 
The analysis of the article is based on semistructured interviews with 25 experienced cannabis users.
The reseach showed that when cannabis users continue smoking in adulthood, they must negotiate their self-presentations within a discourse of adultness where maturing out of illegal drug use is expected. The participants presented themselves as adults by using three strategies: negotiating playfulness and obligations, mature narration of cannabis use and mature ways of administering cannabis. By continuing to smoke in adulthood, they challenge the notion that cannabis use is linked to youth. Simultaneously, they moderate their use to meet expectations of adultness, thus reproducing the idea that cannabis use belongs to the youth phase. When the participants project a mature lifestyle by under-communicating their excitement with cannabis, they simultaneously reproduce the notion of youthful smoking as driven by thrill seeking, intense highs and showing off.

Jacob Johan Demant, "Don’t make too much fuss about it." Negotiating adult cannabis use, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, May 2017.