Journal of Advances in Health and Medical Sciences
Journal ISSN: 2517-9616
Article DOI:
Received: 08 September 2016
Accepted: 18 September 2016
Published: 25 October 2016
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  • Perceptions of marijuana use: Chronicles of marijuana smokers from two marijuana-Growing communities in South Africa

Emmanuel Manu, Mohlomi Jafta Ntsaba

Published online: 2016


Marijuana use in South Africa has been extensively researched and documented over the last thirty years. Functionalist theorists posit that societal norms and practices, which are passed on from generation to generation in a top-down approach, sometimes play a role in inϐluencing individuals to use illicit substances such as marijuana. Perceptions of marijuana in a community are likely to be passed on to adolescents from adults, inϐluencing them to indulge in marijuana smoking. However, the perceptions that marijuana smokers hold of the drug, especially in marijuana-growing communities, have not received the needed academic attention. This article therefore seeks to shed light on the perceptions of marijuana smokers in rural marijuana-growing communities in South Africa. Qualitative research methods, underpinned by constructivist philosophical assumptions, were used in this study. Face-to-face semi-structured interview questions were used to collect the data. A total of 17 marijuana smokers, comprising 15 focus-group participants and two key informants, were interviewed in two communities. Two-staged, non-randomized sampling techniques, both purposive and snowballing, were used to select the communities and the individual participants for the study. Purposive sampling was used to select the communities, while the snowball sampling technique was used to select the interviewees. This was done by making contact with a few individuals who smoked marijuana in both communities, who helped recruit the rest of the participants. The thematic content analysis procedure was used to analyse the data for the study. The results obtained revealed that marijuana smokers in the sampled communities hold the belief that marijuana is not harmful. The only negative effect they associate with marijuana use is a social one; that after using the substance, they are perceived by others as being disrespectful and lazy. It was also established that most users smoke marijuana for the perceived spiritual and medical beneϐits that they associate with marijuana use. Female marijuana smoking was uniformly frowned upon by all participants in the study, who regard such users as social outcasts. Perceptions toward marijuana use among the youth in marijuana-growing communities need serious attention if the prevalence of marijuana use in such communities is to be stemmed. Intervention programmes tailored for rural marijuana-growing communities need to be designed to deal with the complex social and economic factors that uphold marijuana’s position in such communities.