Why Marijuana Is NOT A Gateway Drug
When I was growing up, I was fed with so many myths about marijuana. Of course, I had only come to realize that these were indeed myths, and not proven facts, once I was old enough to try pot for myself and eventually learned about all its benefits.
One of the biggest myths surrounding marijuana is that it’s a gateway drug; which means that once users experiment with cannabis this will cause them to try harmful hard drugs later on in life. In particular, the theory hypothesizes that marijuana users tend to graduate to cocaine and heroine. People think that once you’ve smoked pot, you tend to develop a stronger desire to try the hard stuff. We can’t call marijuana a gateway drug just because of the prevalence of users who are codependent on both hard drugs as well as pot. Some studies have pointed to marijuana as a causal factor that sensitizes the human body and encourages people to try other drugs. But if these studies are reliable and true then it simply doesn’t make sense especially if we take into consideration the drug addicts who have never even used marijuana in their lives.
There’s no doubt that anti-marijuana activists are responsible for spreading misinformation.
Many of the studies that try to prove that marijuana is indeed a gateway drug are actually funded by pharmaceutical companies and government organizations. It is also in the best interest of addiction doctors and experts to keep the gateway theory alive and kicking because most of their patients are “addicted” to marijuana. They will continue to earn money for as long as pot is perceived as addictive. It also makes total sense that this theory is still widely being used because it’s being used by people to discourage kids from using marijuana in the first place.
Alcohol: The REAL Gateway Drug
Research shows that the gateway drug theory isn’t true, because a majority of cannabis users don’t go on to use hard stuff later on. In fact, marijuana users tend to have better outcomes especially when it comes to reducing dependency on opiates. Instead of being called a gateway drug, cannabis is even use as an ‘exit’ drug that has helped treat harmful and even fatal opiate addictions. In states where marijuana is legal in some form, studies show that deaths from opiate overdoses have declined. And even the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine has declined since more states began legalizing marijuana.
It’s also more common for people to start using alcohol and cigarettes before trying hard drugs.
A recent French study also found that individuals are more prone to try tobacco first before progressing to marijuana, instead of trying marijuana first and tobacco next. The study also found that the less than 4% of the subjects who went on to use marijuana after tobacco moved on to use illicit substances. The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse also agrees with this:
“Most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances.”
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that as much as 88% of people experiment with alcohol first before they try other substances. There is also tons of evidence on the internet that prove alcohol use is way more harmful than using marijuana. In this case, we should all just agree to stop calling marijuana the gateway drug. Even more importantly, let’s stop brainwashing our youth with myths and misconceptions on pot.
Causes of Drug Abuse
Many other socio-economic causes are at play when it comes to analyzing hard drug use and dependency among people. Despite this there has been no strong scientific evidence that points to marijuana as the actual gateway drug that leads to illicit drug use, dependency, and abuse.
Instead we should be looking at these reasons instead:
Poor social environments
If you want to examine teen drug use, there are even more factors that come into play. These include parent to child communication, peer pressure, lack of supervision, and too much freedom. There is enough anecdotal and scientific evidence that one’s environment or external factors plays an important part in drug use. This is why the gateway theory, will always only remain as it is: a theory (that should be abolished completely).