Whether it was your 7th grade Health teacher, your childhood friend’s mom, or your high school guidance counselor, at some point in your life someone told you a terrifying tale that ended with a dire warning that marijuana is a gateway drug. Even public service announcements as recent as 2008 shared haunting warnings about how smoking marijuana can put you on the irreversible path to self-destruction:
According to the flawed gateway drug theory, smoking marijuana dooms the user to seek a more powerful high in the form of more potent, more addictive, and more dangerous substances like heroin, cocaine, crack or methamphetamine. While we can appreciate any effort to steer anyone away from dangerous opioids, there’s no scientific evidence to prove that marijuana is a gateway drug. Don’t just take our word for it, check out what D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) states on their website (see Paragraph 4) :
“After decades of studies, the research is still inconclusive regarding whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug.”
If you’re not familiar with D.A.R.E., it’s a respected, non-profit organization dedicated to helping children around the word to resist peer pressure and lead productive drug and violence-free lives. As great as it is to hear from an anti-drug organization that marijuana is not a gateway drug, it’s even better to hear it from a doctor.
At 1:51 of the video above, Dr. Sanjay Gupta states:
“I don’t think it’s a gateway drug in the sense that your body now changes and you crave other drugs as a result of trying marijuana. I don’t think that’s true. The science doesn’t back that up.”
Dr. Gupta goes on to share his thoughts on a popular reason why so many Americans have bought into the lie that if they smoke marijuana, they’re destined to become heroin addicts. He cites the fact that prior to legalization, the only way to acquire marijuana was from unscrupulous drug dealers. Not only do illegal drug dealers have access to more potent, addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine, “pushing” their marijuana customers to try those harder drugs and come back for more is their job. So while illegal marijuana users put themselves in position to be exposed to cocaine and heroin, the decision to try those drugs is driven entirely by their free will and decision making process, not the “scourge of marijuana”.
Dr. Gupta’s theory that marijuana is not a gateway drug is supported in a July 2018 blog post published on PsychologyToday.com by Adi Jaffe PhD. Dr. Jaffe also believes that by breaking the law to purchase marijuana in states where it’s not legal, marijuana users are then more likely to break the law again and try harder substances. “I believe this is the reason why most people who try alcohol don’t try illegal drugs, because they work within different regulatory systems,” Dr. Jaffe states. “Alcohol is both legal and socially acceptable, and yet can have just as damaging physical and psychological effects as marijuana and other illicit drugs (if not more so). But most people choose to stay on the side of socially acceptable and legal drug use as opposed to crossing over to harder, illicit substances.”
So there you have it, the credible conclusion of a foundation with a 30+ year track record of helping children to make smart life decisions and the professional opinions of both a physician and a mental health doctor. As Dr. Jaffe says: “All in all, the Gateway Drug Theory of Marijuana has several weak spots and in light of its decriminalization in most states of the United States, it may be even completely irrelevant.”
Now that’s a public service announcement we can all feel good about.
At Revolutionary Clinics, we’re here to help you understand the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and debunk the myths that have kept those benefits out of reach for millions of Americans for far too long. We look forward to answering all of your questions and learning how we can connect you with the right product for your situation. To schedule an appointment or to connect with one of our friendly Patient Advocates, please contact us today!