There’s always two sides to every story. And while many people–scientists and experts, especially–contend the gateway theory of marijuana causes people to graduate to harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, many also argue otherwise.
According to the Gateway Theory, trying marijuana, or cannabis, is a causal mechanism that biologically sensitizes users so that they are more willing to try harder drugs.
With marijuana users, their tolerance builds up and they may turn to more potent drugs to achieve the same high. They may also turn to harder drugs to escape the unwanted conditions that caused them to use marijuana in the first place.
According to a study, a vast majority of cocaine users (over 90%) began by first using a “gateway drug” such as marijuana, cigarettes, or alcohol. However, not everyone who smokes marijuana goes to use harder drugs later on. Some never do, while some quit marijuana altogether. Yet, there’s a big portion of them who do turn to harder drugs. Another study conducted to teens 12 to 17 years old proves that those who smoke marijuana within this time are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than those who did not smoke cannabis. Their findings also state that 60% of the kids who smoke pot before they turn 15 years old move on to cocaine later on.
Marijuana is not a gateway drug
Meanwhile, many studies also disprove the gateway theory. They uphold the significant number of pot smokers who do not go on to harder drugs. Most even stop using any drug after entering adulthood.
According to an article by Newsweek, there are many factors into play–none involves marijuana:
Poverty and poor social environment is a gateway to drugs, according to much research.
Association with people who use hard drugs is a better predictor of harder drug use.
Certain mental illnesses, such as antisocial personality and bipolar disorder, are found to predispose some people to use drugs.
Other research notes that criminalization and prohibition are real gateways to harder drugs.
So while many people still argue whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug and whether or not it should be legalized, one thing is for sure: marijuana is a gateway to jail as our country still criminalizes marijuana possession.
If you or someone you know is suffering from marijuana dependence and addiction, let us help: