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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

Apr 30, 2015 • 5:37 PM EDT
medical-681119_1280.jpg
2 MIN READ  •  By Michael Berger
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President Obama recently said, “I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue.”

In order to follow the science as opposed to ideology advocates must present facts that disprove the myths. One of the biggest myths is that marijuana is a gateway drug. Even though there are correlations between marijuana use and the use of other drugs, there is no conclusive evidence that one actually causes the other.

A 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine said, “In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation into the use of other illicit drugs, it is indeed a gateway drug. However, it does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse; that is, care must be taken not to attribute cause to association.”

Alcohol, not marijuana, is the gateway drug

President Obama has said that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. While arguing for its enforcement, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that marijuana is a “gateway drug”. Recent data, however, proves that alcohol, not marijuana, is a gateway drug.

Data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 60% of marijuana users end up trying other drugs. The survey, however, showed that 88% of drug users started with alcohol.

The data shows that 50% of people who drink alcohol do not try any other substances. The data also shows that 40% of people who use marijuana do not try any other substances. As such, marijuana is no more of a gateway drug than alcohol.

There was recently a study conducted in Japan on heroin users between the age of 18 and 29. The study found that the first substance tried by 83.2% of the subjects was not marijuana. The results showed that only 16.8% of the subjects tried marijuana first.

Marijuana has been shown to be 114 times less deadly than alcohol. The reason why the evidence behind this hypothesis is not scientific is because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule I substance. That prevents researchers from being able study the drug and its effects in recognized scientific environments.

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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners, LLC and Founder of Technical420.com. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Michael was an Equity Research Analyst at Raymond James Financial covering the Energy Sector. Michael has been featured in publications such as The Street, Bloomberg, US Money News, and hosts various cannabis events across North America.

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