Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? The Answer Will Surprise You

a theory that is common by individuals who oppose cannabis legalization is that the intake of cannabis results in making use of harder drugs, such as for instance Heroin and cocaine.

People who utilize the alleged gateway drug concept being a reason to protest the legalization of marijuana point out trends and information they see as supporting the idea. But does the data they count on really show that marijuana is really a gateway drug?

The short response is no. Correlation will not imply causation. A couple of thingsoccurring together does not mean that one of those plain things causes one other thing to happen. Alternatively, the technology and communities that are medical to ecological facets, maybe maybe not cannabis, as prospective gateways to drug that is hard usage.

The Gateway Drug Theory

Let’s begin by reviewing the details of this gateway drug concept (also called the stepping-stone theory, development theory, or escalation theory). As previously mentioned, the gateway drug concept posits that the employment of a psychoactive medication, such as for example cannabis, is connected to a heightened danger of attempting harder medications. The concept shows that the increase in medication usage from cannabis to, say, heroin flow from to facets such as biological alterations and a comparable attitude about drug usage.

Biological Alterations

In some diagnostic tests, early cannabis use in rats increased the chancethat the rats would self-administer smoking, morphine and heroin (1) later in life. Test indications revealed that anatomical changes into the rats’ Brains reward that is took place due to the sooner cannabis consumption. Comparable results were found whenever rats had been confronted with nicotine at the beginning of life, in the place of cannabis. But, diagnostic tests on rats usually do not show causation, nor are they conclusive relative to people. They merely mirror sequence. Once again, correlation doesn’t imply causation.

Comparable Personality

Proponents associated with the gateway drug theory think that comparable attitudes about illicit medication use among peers can lead to an escalation in an interest that is person’s in trying out specific medications, including cannabis. ecological and individual facets, such as for example social and conditions that are economic (including contact with cannabis and nicotine at the beginning of life), can lead to use.

Nevertheless, in human twin studies where one reports that are twin usage while the other twin doesn’t, the effect that familial experience of cannabis at an early age could have on a person’s decision to test it is debunked (1). In reality, other studies claim that strong family members ties assist dissuade people from using illicit medications (12).

Other environmental factors, including relationship with different peer groups, may affect an attitude that is person’s cannabis as well as other harder medications, but that doesn’t make marijuana a gateway. In conclusion, pointing to ecological facets will not make cannabis a gateway medication. Alternatively, the ecological factors themselves would act as the gateway.

Marijuana: Scope of good use, Impacts, and Potential Dangers

What exactly is Marijuana?

Marijuana is an assortment of plants yielded from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is a plant that is versatile, with its many types, could be consumed utilizing a selection of practices, including cigarette smoking, eating, vaporizing, and consuming (2). Typical cannabis consumption types include the immediate following:

Smoking: bones, cigars, bongs, pipelines.

Consuming: Bakery products, candy, butter.

Vaporizing: hash oil, shatter, fluid resin.

Drinking: tea, oil, cannabis leaves.

Marijuana’s primary element that is psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more often called THC. The feminine cannabis plant, particularly its leaves and buds, is when all of the plant’s THC is located. Nonetheless, the cannabis plant also includes in more than 500 chemicals that are additional including significantly more than 100 compounds that are THC-related. They are called cannabinoids .

Scope of Marijuana use within the usa

Based on the 2016 nationwide Survey on Drug utilize and wellness , cannabis is the absolute most widely utilized drug that is illicit the usa. The study, sponsored because of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), represents the absolute most current information available. The study also offered the data that are following cannabis usage:

Associated with 28.6 million individuals aged 12 years and older who utilized illicit medications in 2016, 24 million of these had been cannabis users.

The figure represents 8.9 % for the united states of america population of individuals aged 12 and older .

6.5 per cent of adolescents (1.6 million) between 12 and 17 utilized marijuana in 2016 .

20.8 % of people (7.2 million) aged 18 to 25 utilized marijuana in 2016 .

7.2 per cent of individuals 26 and older (15.2 million) utilized marijuana in 2016 .

The 2016 study records that the percentage of cannabis used in 2016 among People 12 years of older and age was higher compared to the usage for similarcollective group between the full several years of 2002 and 2015 . Nonetheless, usage among those who work in the 12 to 17-year-old sub-group had been less than in certain associated with previous years, based on the survey. The downward change in youth Marijuana usage might be pertaining to legalization, that will be discussed later into the article.

Results of Marijuana Utilize

When vaporized or smoked, the results of cannabis are thought nearly instantly. Lots of people report a feeling of euphoria, anxiety decrease, delight, a sense of leisure, and relaxed . The results of smoking cigarettes cannabis will last approximately someone to three hours.

Whenever cannabis is used or eaten in products, the results usually takes longer to area. Broadly speaking, it might simply simply take half an hour or so long as 1 hour prior to the effects are recognized. Because of this, some individuals may consume more cannabis than had been intended . The results of eating or drinking marijuana will last much longer than if it is smoked.

Marijuana might also cause visitors to feel hungry, and that is a great idea for the people struggling with specific conditions or medication that is taking stops them from attempting to consume.

Feasible Dangers of Marijuana Use

Marijuana impacts every person differently. The sort of cannabis ingested might also affect the experience if you typically do relish it. Negative Side effects of consuming marijuana might consist of panic, anxiety, and fear . Those who ingest too marijuana that is much additionally experience hallucinations and delusions or even a short-term loss in individual identity.

Running cars while intoxicated by marijuana is unlawful, since it is regarded as driving while intoxicated, exactly like with liquor. Detectable traces of THC may stay in the physical human anatomy for a number of months, even following its psychoactive results subside. So, folks who are stopped for traffic violations may test positive for THC, even though they will haven’t smoked marijuana recently.

Marijuana Just Isn’t a Gateway Medication

Individuals who have utilized cannabis do sometimes carry on to make use of harder medications, such as cocaine or heroin. Anti-marijuana proponents make use of that given information as evidence that cannabis is just a gateway medication. Nonetheless, of this tens of millions of individuals in the usa who possess tried cannabis, only a portion of them have used harder medications.

Based on the SAMHSA survey, 28.6 million People in america as a whole utilized illicit medications in 2016, with 24.0 million of these users citing cannabis as the drug they ingested . Meaning that around 4.6 million people utilized drugs that are illicit Other than marijuana, with many of those social individuals most likely never ever using cannabis at all. Once the numbers obviously reveal, the usage of marijuana does maybe not cause individuals to check out illicit drugs, which include both and that is legal unlawful narcotics.

Exactly What perform some Science and Medical Communities Say About Marijuana Being fully a Gateway Drug?

The usa science and communities that are medical been learning cannabis as a gateway that is potential since at the very least 1938, whenever “The LaGuardia Report” was commissioned by new york Mayor Fiorello Los angeles Guardia. Released in 1944, the six-year research discovered that cannabis will not trigger the addiction of harder drugs. The report notes, “… instances are excessively unusual where in actuality the practice of marijuana smoking cigarettes is related to obsession with these narcotics.”

Fast ahead to 1972, when President Nixon commissioned an expert panel to examine the policy that is federal cannabis. To some extent, the addiction scholars assessed whether cannabis had been a gateway medication. The panel determined that in accordance with cannabis cigarette smoking, “… the incidence of other medication usage was reasonably low, even among frequent cannabis users.”

The Institute of Medicine circulated a written report in 1999 that covered a wide variety of facets of marijuana, including whether or not cannabis is a gateway medication. The institute indicated that no conclusive proof exists to aid the idea that marijuana’s drug results are linked to the abuse of other medications. Furthermore, the Institute of Medicine explained, “Patterns in development of medication usage from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is probably the most most likely utilized illicit medication, cannabis is predictably the very first drug that is illicit individuals encounter. And in addition, most users of other illicit medications have actually used cannabis first. In reality, many Drug users begin with nicotine and alcohol before marijuana – often before they truly are of appropriate age.”

Studies carried out by other notable companies, like the RAND Corporation, the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, while the Nationwide Institute of Mental Health, all reached comparable conclusions. In Short, the global worlds of science and medicine constantly conclude that cannabis just isn’t a gateway drug.

Marijuana Can Help Eliminate Tough Drug Utilize

Not just has technology shown over and over that cannabis isn’t a gateway medication, but evidence that is empirical shows that cannabis can behave as a buffer for people who are attempting to stop making use of harder drugs, including opioids. In reality, cannabis might help reduce mortality that is opioid. In other words, cannabis can help, maybe perhaps not hinder, with regards to combatting medication addiction.

Medical Marijuana Combats Opioid Addiction and Death

The Journal of the American healthcare Association published a study in October 2014 that examined the impact of state cannabis that are medical and exactly how they affect opioid mortality prices. The research, which covered the years between 1999 and 2010 and included all 50 states, discovered that states that legalized medical cannabis “… had a 24.8% reduced mean opioid overdose that is annual mortality price weighed against states without medical cannabis guidelines.”

Healthcare Marijuana Reduces Utilization Of Prescription Drugs

Overview of brand New England’s marijuana that is medical people determined that prescription medication usage is paid off whenever medical cannabis rules are passed away. Reductions being used those types of polled included the drugs that are following and percentages:

Opioids: 76.7percent

Antidepressants: 37.6%

Anti-anxiety medication: 71.8per cent

Migraine medicine: 66.7per cent

Sleep medication: 65.2percent

Participants associated with the brand New England medical cannabis dispensary study also reported a decrease in alcohol utilization of 42%. While extra research needs become carried out to verify these findings, the figures add up when combined with similar findings various other studies.

Cannabis Helps Control Crack Cocaine Cravings

It would appear that cannabis might have the effect that is opposite of gateway drug whenever it comes down to break cocaine. Between 2012 and 2015, the University of Montreal in addition to University of British Columbia gathered data from individuals whom utilized marijuana to attempt to control their cravings for crack cocaine. The efforts repaid, since 122 individuals stated that consistent cannabis utilize did assistance curb their wish to have break. The data is particularly crucial, considering that you will find presently no pharmacotherapies that efficiently assist in the treating crack cocaine addiction.

Factors That Act as being a Gateway to intense Drug Use

Marijuana is certainly not a gateway drug, however some cannabis users fundamentally do proceed to utilizing harder drugs. Therefore, which are the factors that resulted in jump from a reasonably benign medication like cannabis up to a possibly life-ending medication like heroin, as an example? Because it ends up, you can find a few factors at play.

Poverty and Social Environment

Too little training and meaningful social relationships are strong indicators of possible drug use, based on research through the National Institutes of Wellness . Familial and work commitments allow it to be more unlikely that a person will participate in self-destructive actions, including illicit medication usage and violent crime. Without those good motivators, hard medication punishment is more likely.

Those who don’t have school that is high are less likely to want to have significant work, and people that do work frequently earn much less than their more educated peers. Being result, less educated people have a tendency to are now living in more metropolitan, low-cost areas. Located in the confines of concentrated poverty and people that are seeing sell and employ medications to be able to deal with their environments may play a role in your choice of brand new users trying harder medications . This can be particularly so if you are maybe maybe not held accountable by household (a partner or kids) or any other duties.

Association with People Whom Use Intense Drugs

The environment users surround by themselves in, perhaps maybe not the cannabis itself, is very likely to lead individuals to utilize harder drugs. An example for this has got todo with the known proven fact that marijuana continues to be unlawful to buy generally in most states. Therefore, those who desire to buy cannabis must obtain it from an unlawful source . Individuals involved with the unlawful cannabis medication trade could also offer harder Drugs, and/or they might be enclosed by other individuals who offer and utilize harder medications aswell.

Being a total outcome, cannabis users are confronted with harder medications in addition to individuals who usage and offer them. Whenever cannabis users have been in the ongoing business of these medications and folks, a number of them may elect to decide to try lethal substances. Without experience of such people, the probability of seeking out harder medications is paid off. Therefore, does not it sound right that the legalization of Marijuana might lessen the utilization of these substances since those who buy cannabis from a dispensary are less inclined to encounter such negative ecological facets?

Certain Mental Illnesses

The National Institutes of Health reports that certain illnesses that are mental predispose visitors to addiction. Particularly, individuals who suffer with ailments over the bipolar spectrum are at an elevated danger for substance abuse .

In most cases, the nationwide Institute on drug use recommends that individuals who suffer with even moderate disorders that are mental self-medicate by abusing illicit medications. Furthermore, psychological conditions and medication usage problems share factors that are overlapping can include hereditary weaknesses, mind deficits, and trauma exposure that is early .

Criminalization and Prohibition

In accordance with the medication Policy Alliance, present reports show that leisure cannabis medication usage among teenagers actually reduced in states where marijuana is approved for medical usage. Since cannabis isn’t any much longer regarded as forbidden or taboo, it doesn’t attract young individuals want it familiar with .

Also, young adults can use cannabis less, considering that the law needs users whom purchase it in shops to be 21 years old and older. Some states enable individuals who are only 18 to get marijuana should they have a legitimate medical cannabis card.

While teenagers may nevertheless purchase cannabis from unlawful dealers, legalization efforts have relocated sales through the streets that are unregulated the legal dispensaries, making unlawful product sales less lucrative and unlawful cannabis less available.


Almost all of the research connecting cannabis to harder medication usage originates from the correlation between the two. Nonetheless, as any scientist that is junior let you know, correlation doesn’t mean causation. When analyzing what will act as a “gateway” to drug that is hard, there are certain facets at play. None involve marijuana.

Based on the Marijuana Policy venture, a lot more than 107 million People in america have attempted marijuana. That’s over 40% associated with United States’ populace born since 1960 . Compare by using the sum total of 37 million that have tried cocaine therefore the four million that have tried heroin , also it’s clear that other factors are in play. If marijuana to be real a gateway medication, wouldn’t a lot more people be making use of harder medications?

Opponents of marijuana try to erroneously demonize it by linking the relationship between cannabis utilize and harder medications. Fortunately, the science and medical communities have actually dispelled that myth over and over, showing us with years of research that cannabis just isn’t a gateway medication. Would you agree in what the research states in regards to the not enough proof linking marijuana use to harder medications?


Is marijuana a gateway medication? Why or you will want to?

No, cannabis just isn’t a gateway medication. The science and communities that are medical concur that other facets, including environment that is one’s psychological problems, act as the gateway to harder medications.

What exactly is a gateway medication?

A gateway drug is the one that will resulted in usage of other harder medications.

exactly How is cannabis a gateway medication?

Marijuana isn’t a gateway medication.

Do we’ve solid proof that cannabis isn’t a gateway medication?

Research has revealed that the majority that is vast of whom utilize cannabis usually do not springboard into using harder medications. Studies show that other facets, such as for example one’s socio-economic environment, having less cannabis legalization legislation, and psychological problems, are more prone to act as gateways.

How come cannabis always reported to be a gateway drug, as the same is not stated about alcohol use?

This may be stated about liquor which, like marijuana, reduces inhibitions. The consequences of alcohol consumption likewise incorporate, for a few people, the aspire to take to drugs that are different. In component, this can be because alcohol factors Some people to aggressively act out and show antisocial and self-destructive actions.

But, unlike with liquor, social inhibitions which are lowered while Using marijuana do not include engaging in self-destructive or antisocial habits, such as for instance tinkering with hard drugs. Instead, acts of lowered inhibition more typically include habits such as for example uninhibited dancing and spontaneous laughter. It’s believed that the reason behind simply because of the sense of relax and euphoria many experience after making use of marijuana.

Alcohol’s impact additionally diminishes the greater frequently it’s consumed, therefore sooner or later anyone consuming it needs more to have the level that is same of euphoria. As a result, some individuals may begin to chase the high by trying other medications so that you can go through the same emotions that they felt once they first started to take in.

Is cannabis a medication?

In line with the United States government that is federal marijuana is a drug, because the THC in cannabis creates a psychoactive impact.