Marijuana has gone by many names. Mary Jane, Bud, Weed, Dank, Reefer, Kush, and a host of others. There’s lots of names for marijuana but is the term ‘gateway drug’ really a fair assessment?
Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?
The definition of a gateway drug is: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug (such as cocaine or heroin). Are people who use marijuana more likely to move on to stronger substances? For years, the prevalent thought on this was a resounding yes. Most doctors, research clinics, and health authorities were in agreement with this notion. However, recently studies and observations about this viewpoint are beginning to shift.
In 2002, Jocelyn Elders, former Surgeon General said, “much of their [US drug-policy leaders] rhetoric about marijuana being a ’gateway drug’ is simply wrong. After decades of looking, scientists still have no evidence that marijuana causes people to use harder drugs.” Many people still hold to this theory that simply put, has no data to substantiate the claim that marijuana use leads to use of harder drugs. There has been evidence that drug use of any substance that is readily available such as nicotine via cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana can lead to use of stronger drugs. Consequently, it’s not necessarily due to the chemical structure of marijuana but several other factors:
- the availability of the substance
- the predicative behavior of the user
- social interactions with other who are using these substances
What do other experts say about marijuana being a gateway drug?
The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that from a study done in 2015:
“these findings are consistent with the idea of marijuana as a ”gateway drug.“ However, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ”harder“ substances.”
So there’s definitely evidence to support the theory that marijuana is a gateway to cocaine, heroin and similar narcotics but it’s a shallow assertion.
Lastly, the argument has become more about the individual than the drug. Andrew Morral from the RAND Corporation who is Director of the Safety and Justice Program in Infrastructure, Safety and Environment in a discussion with the British journal Addiction stated:
”The people who are predisposed to use drugs and have the opportunity to use drugs are more likely than others to use both marijuana and harder drugs. Marijuana typically comes first because it is more available.“
Legalization and the ‘Gateway Drug’ Stigma
With recreational use now legal in most of the US does this mean that marijuana loses the ”gateway drug“ stigma? Will it takes it’s seat next to alcohol and tobacco who aren’t branded similarly but have similar results? It probably won’t change soon but as marijuana use increases it will become more accepted. As a result, it may someday also lose the “gateway drug” moniker.
Interested in having a doctors recommendation for medical marijuana? If so, Dr. Bob Blake has years of experience and can help you safely use marijuana for your specific needs. Call today Call 1(888)-215-HERB(4372) OR simply: