Is Marijuana the Gateway Drug?
Is Marijuana the Gateway Drug?
I find myself correcting many folks these days, regarding the harmfullness or dangers of Marijuana. As a fairly recent convert to cannabis, both Hemp and Marijuana varieties, I’ve had to do a LOT of research to find the right products for myself, to use medicinally. Now that Canada has legalized Cannabis, at least the plant itself and some of its resulting products like oils, more citizens have access to it.
The governments around the world have spent a lot of money on propaganda, telling YOU that Cannabis is dangerous. Is Marijuana the gateway drug that your governments have been telling you it is, since before WWI?
First, what does this mean, gateway drug? Gateway drug is a title given to marijuana, which is considered a ‘soft’ drug, which some people believe can lead a user to harder drugs, more harmful drugs, like heroin or cocaine and others. I find this so hypocritical, it’s like saying that regularily drinking a cocktail (which might have 1/2 an ounce of alcohol) will lead you to more potent alcohol like whiskey and will ultimately turn you into an alcoholic.
In general, most of the World’s population has been brainwashed into believing this theory. However, these days, even physiologists are disputing this theory. In fact, this article in Psychology Today states that the ‘gateway’ is more likely to be related to accessibility, meaning that a person buying marijuana from a street dealer, would have access to the harder drugs.
The authors’ opinion, based on his own research, also states that ‘gateway’ is also more likely to be socially based.
When I Googled ‘is marijuana addictive’
there was a regular snowstorm of medical and/or government related websites that popped up. So much of it was the same old brain washing information that has no basis in fact.
I noticed that there were newer medically based, websites popping up that admitted that there simply is not enough information on marijuana to make this statement true.
When you have a plant that most of the world has vilified as an illegal plant, you are not going to get a lot of research on it, right?
What little research there is, has come up with this interesting fact… I quote again from Psychology Today, the following…
“Only about 9% will have a serious addiction. Compared to other substances, marijuana is not very addicting. It is estimated that 32% of tobacco users will become addicted, 23% of heroin users, 17% of cocaine users, and 15% of alcohol users. Cocaine and heroin are more physically harmful and nicotine is much more addictive. It is much harder to quit smoking cigarettes than it is to quit smoking pot.”
While I was on a roll, I also Googled ‘is sugar addictive’
and the results were overwhelming in agreement that sugar, in all it’s refined forms, including chocolate is indeed addictive and harmful. I found this very interesting article on sugar addiction in Psych Central written by Suzanne Kane.
She interviewed Dr. Keith Kantor, CEO of NamedProgram (National Addiction Mitigation Eating & Drinking).
Dr. Keith Kantor is quoted regarding sugar consumption… “the dangers of too much sugar consumption, Dr. Kantor says there are a lot of them, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver syndrome, which is liver disease. Alcoholics have alcoholic fatty liver syndrome. This is nonalcoholic.
Some research suggests that sugar is more addictive than cocaine,” says Dr. Kantor, “and it’s in almost everything that we eat. So what you’ll see in a lot of the addiction recovery centers is the addicts switch drugs for food addictions, mostly sugar, but also gluten or dairy. They’re just transferring, substituting one addiction for the other to keep their opiate receptors stimulated” You can read the entire article for yourself through the link.
What does this have to do with Marijuana being a gateway drug?
Nothing except to show you that many people have addictions to sugar, yet sugar is not illegal. Would you say sugar is a gateway drug? It is certainly addictive to many people, and could lead to other more dangerous habits….I would say that based on how sugar damages the liver and pancreas and feed cancer cells, it’s very dangerous indeed.
Seriously, You’d be safer with cannabis.
So far, with limited research indeed, it appears maybe up to 10% of cannabis users could become addicted to cannabis, through long term use BUT THERE IS NO PROOF THAT IT LEADS TO HARDER DRUGS! It’s not a plant that will cause damage to your body or *brain like cocaine, heroin, Meth, Ecstasy, Designer drugs (Flakka, Bath salts),Krokodil and the opiate related drugs. All of these can cause death.
*The medical community is still figuring things out regarding what damaging effects, if any, cannabis has on a still developing adolescent brain. The few studies that have been done, were done on heavy users of cannabis and focused on the THC of the cannabis, not the CBD. You can read the article from the American Psychological Assoc. titled Marijuana and the developing brain.
So from a conservative point of view, it would seem that young people under the age of 19 or so, should be wary of using high THC cannabis products until more is definitively known. Here’s an interesting video, that makes comparisons of Marijuana and other drugs.
So many people are addicted to tobacco
and can’t seem to get through a day without smoking multiple cigarettes. They most likely started smoking cigarettes when in their teens, and yet no one put the stigma on them that cigarettes would lead to hard drugs. We all know that cancer is a very real danger with smoking cigarettes.
I have noticed that heavy smokers are often regular to heavy drinkers too. One could claim that tobacco is the gateway drug for alcohol. Cigarette in one hand, Beer in the other, yet no one says ‘don’t smoke, it will lead to hard drugs!’.
Now take a person who’s chosen to smoke or vape cannabis to relax or for pain, more than likely that person is not going to reach for alcohol. Most experienced cannabis smokers , when talking about this subject in on line Forums, admit that they don’t mix the two. In fact, they don’t need the alcohol to relax, because the cannabis does it for them.
Mixing the two, often has an unpleasant effect. Cannabis is not going to be the gateway drug to alcohol. Cigarettes on the other hand…. very well might.
Cigarettes have absolutely no health benefits
Cigarettes (first and second hand smoke) are the leading cause of lung cancer. Cigarettes and alcohol are common bedfellows. Cigarettes are legal everywhere.
Alcohol, (except for the resveratrol) in red wines, has no real health benefits (maybe as a germ killer). Alcohol causes deaths, stats show 88,000 deaths every year in the US alone, Alcohol can make people aggressive, alcohol influenced violence often leads to murder and manslaughter. Alcohol is legal almost everywhere.
Many of the prescription and non prescription drugs that cause so many side effects, some of them fatal, come from your Doctor. They are legal.
Smoking or vaping cannabis has health benefits for healing and pain relief. Cannabis does not cause cancer*, in fact quite the opposite. Cannabis will not directly kill you. The only way cannabis can cause your death is if you are stupid enough to toke and drive! Cannabis and alcohol are not usually taken together. Cannabis is illegal almost everywhere.
*Note, there have been some studies regarding whether cannabis smoke causes a higher increase of lung cancer, but none that I have read, have come to a definitive conclusion. There are simply too many variables. In this study in New Zealand, lung cancer rates were at 8% compared to non smokers but it was admitted that many smokers mix the cannabis with tobacco.
A study in California, showed NO increase in lung cancer from smoking cannabis. Burning plant material to create smoke and inhaling it, does create tar, no matter the plant used, which is why I and many others recommend vaping instead of smoking.
Well that’s it for my take on the subject of whether Marijuana is the gateway drug that governments and the medical communities have claimed. Let’s hope that legalization will bring about more research, but most of all, more freedom to use this amazing plant in healthy ways.
This is a really interesting post and topic. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I especially agree with the part where you said that the reason Marijuana is a gateway drug is because of the accessibility it brings for other, harder drugs. Dealers who sell marijuana often stock other sorts of drugs and it is much easier to be persuaded to get something when it is there in front of you, being sold by an intimidating person. If marijuana was legalised in certain countries, I feel that it would reduce the amount of people going to ‘dealers’ and therefore reduce the gateway that marijuana is said to create.
Thanks for a great post.
Joe ….. just to be clear, this article is actually about my DISAGREEING, that Marijuana is a Gateway drug. Gateway drug refers to the fear or the theory that using Marijuana will lead the user to harder more dangerous drugs due to addiction. I am dis agreeing with that theory or train of thought. Some psychologists believe that if there is indeed a ‘gateway’, its only due to the fact that people are forced to buy from dealers (due to it being illegal), many of whom may offer harder drugs. I think that’s what you are saying too. Thanks for commenting.
So, am I correct in guessing that you live in Canada? It didn’t really say on the about me page. If so, I hope you are thrilled that cannabis is now legal in the country.
I live in Colorado. I pretty much bought into the propaganda against cannabis my entire life. This year, I made a decision to become better informed. So, this is the types of articles that I enjoy reading. I don’t know that I particularly like your analogy of a cocktail being a gateway drink to hard liquor. As someone that does enjoy drinking, I just can’t seem to have it make sense in my mind.
On the other hand, your examples with sugar are excellent. It also makes me think about what is addiction and what causes addiction. I am addicted to sugar. I have friends that are alcoholics and I have seen ravages that alcoholism, a disease, causes.
As far as being a marijuana being a gateway drug, as a mom, I tend wonder. Is marijuana itself the problem? The gateway? Or is it the choice of friends that the kid is hanging out with really the problem? Kids that start smoking cigarettes typically have friends that smoke cigarettes. Kids that have friends that engage in illegal activities, tend to start engaging in illegal activities with their friends. As kids get bored, they look for more exciting things to get their thrills. This is just a theory of course, my theory.
Sondra, yes I am a Canadian 🙂 I am NOT saying that a cocktail leads to hard liquor, the paragraph says this…. “First, what does this mean, gateway drug? Gateway drug is a title given to marijuana, which is considered a ‘soft’ drug, which some people believe can lead a user to harder drugs, more harmful drugs, like heroin or cocaine and others. I find this so hypocritical, it’s like saying that regularily drinking a cocktail (which might have 1/2 an ounce of alcohol) will lead you to more potent alcohol like whiskey and will ultimately turn you into an alcoholic.”
What I am saying is that it’s ridiculous and hypocritical to assume that a soft drug leads to a hard drug, like a cocktail to harder liquor. I hope this makes sense?
It’s a good theory that has been explored by many psychologists, that marijuana has more of a social connection than an additive one. Thanks for checking in Sondra.
The benefits of hemp and marijuana have been known for sometime, but the government wants to have control over the substance like alcohol so they can tax the heck out of it.It is no more a gateway drug then sugar or tobacco and alcohol but those things are legal. People can get addicted to anything even food, that does not mean that it should be banned or considered harmful. Alcohol is much worse for you and can easily impair your judgement.Why is alcohol not considered a gateway drug?The use of alcohol can easily lead to other drugs.
Thanks for checking in here Andy. I agree completely, which is exactly why I wrote the article. Governments need to stop preventing their citizens from using whatever plant or food this planet provides.
Wow. You have done quite a lot of research to come out with such an informative article. You have broken so many myths here. I myself used to consider marijuana as a drug. Seriously! I was not aware of so many uses of it. I used to think it as very addictive. One puff and you are gone! Thanks a lot for the enlightenment.
Thanks for commenting! I love that “one puff and you are gone!”. That is unfortunately the belief of many due to the false information pounded into citizens heads since the 1930s.
Ok, well first off, let me say, “I love, love, love” the video you have here, it is great. I do not currently partake and it has been many years since I have, but I do not think that it should be illegal. I mean, especially since alcohol is legal and, as you point out, much more dangerous.
I even skipped over to another post that talked about the Cannabinoid Receptors we have in our bodies. That means we are created to receive cannabinoids, both CB1 and CB2. I am very aware of my body and I am very much about natural health and wellness. I believe that everything that we need to be and stay healthy is in nature. But, that is a whole different post there.
Great work and don’t stop. Thank you.
Thank you very much! I will keep on presenting the case of cannabis to my readers, it’s certainly something I am very passionate about.