Sociol Health Illn. 2021 Mar 15. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.13244. Online ahead of print.


Cannabis use by women has been under-researched, particularly use by marginalized women in developing societies. This article draws on qualitative research in Uyo, Nigeria, to explore how intersecting stigmas around social identity categories (e.g. gender, sex work) shapes cannabis use and contributes to health harms for marginalized women. Qualitative data were collected via in-depth interviews with street-involved female cannabis users, and transcribed, coded and analysed thematically. Initiation of cannabis use was influenced by social networks and sexual relationships. Heavy cannabis use enabled some women to perform alternative femininity thereby challenging the boundaries of appropriate gendered behaviour, while others were pressured by normative expectations to enact moderation according to traditional femininity. Recreational cannabis use overlapped with marginalized forms of use, including using heavily to cope with the mental health sequalae of gender-based discriminations and structural inequities. Cannabis use attracted heightened stigma, operating as part of intersecting stigmatizing identities that adversely impacted mental health and wellbeing. Cannabis stigma does not exist in isolation from other social identity categories that shape women’s lives. There exists a need to combat stigma through interventions that seek to mediate changes in gender relations, improve living conditions and access to health-care services for marginalized women.

PMID:33720404 | DOI:10.1111/1467-9566.13244

Source: ncbi 2

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