Marijuana is NOT the 'Gateway Drug'

The gateway theory presents drug use as a progression in which users move from legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol to marijuana, and from there to harder drugs like heroin, cocaine and crystal meth.  While it is an interesting theory, in several studies conducted, scientists have disproved the theory. Medical marijuana doctors and other parts of the nation may step up to disagree as well, considering their background knowledge of the controversial plant.

According to the findings of a RAND study conducted in 2002, experimenting with marijuana does not lead to the use of harder drugs.  This study dismisses the 'gateway theory,' thereby doubting the legitimacy of federal drug policies. (

Additionally, researchers analyzed data from the U.S. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and concluded that teens who did try hard drugs were predisposed to do so whether or not they tried marijuana for recreational purposes. The survey excluded those who may be taking medical marijuana from a Nevada medical marijuana clinic, or other clinic in a state where the usage of medical marijuana is legal.

Statistically, for every 104 Americans who tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin.  Judging from this notion, marijuana is clearly not a “gateway drug.”

Among the minority of marijuana smokers who do not move onto harder drugs, it is marijuana prohibition rather than the use of marijuana itself that serves as a doorway to the world of hardcore drugs.  The more users become integrated in an environment where harder drugs can be obtained, the greater the chances they will experiment with hardcore substances. Doctors that recommend marijuana in Las Vegas and other cities are well aware that marijuana that is withheld by federal or state governments is likely to be obtained anyhow, illegally, posing a great risk for a segment of the population to be exposed to “harder drugs.”

A Canadian Senate report concluded that marijuana is not a “gateway drug.”  The most consistent predictors of serious drug abuse appear to be based on the intensity of marijuana use and psychiatric disorders or a family history of psychopathology, including alcoholism.

In a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study, researchers tracked the drug use patterns of 224 boys from the ages of 10 to 22.  Some followed the gateway paradigm, starting with tobacco or alcohol and moving onto marijuana, but some did the opposite, starting with marijuana first.  Some never even progressed from one drug to the next at all.  When researchers looked at the data on these boys, the researchers found that the gateway theory didn't hold; environmental factors such as neighborhood characteristics played a much larger role than which substances the kids used first. 

So translated in plain English, the data fails to show that marijuana causes use of other drugs, but instead indicates the same factors that make people likely to try marijuana also make them likely to try other substances.

For information on the medicinal purposes of marijuana along with a quality consultation, contact doctors that recommend medical marijuana in Nevada in medical marijuana clinics or other locations.






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