Every state that votes to legalize marijuana gives science another opportunity to study the drug that, despite being legal in some capacity in much of the U.S., is still listed as a Schedule 1 drug. The presence of cannabis on the Schedule 1 list may begin to explain the emergence of the ‘pot a gateway drug’ theory, originally.
According to information published by Treament4Addiction.com, aided by scientific studies now allow that previously were not, marijuana is no longer the ‘gateway drug’ theory leader. In fact, it’s no longer even #2.
Backpedaling Through the ‘Gateway’
First and foremost, it’s important to define what is generally meant by a ‘gateway drug’. In this instance, it’s defined as a substance that leads to the use of more, harder substances.
The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use showed 60% of marijuana users go on to try harder drugs. A significant amount until you learn that over 88% of alcohol users go on to try harder psychoactive drugs (not including marijuana).
Even the originator of the ‘gateway drug’ theory, Denise Kandel of Columbia University, told NPR last week that a new study put out by the Columbia University Scientist points to nicotine as the most ‘biologically potent gateway drug of all’.
Consider the fact that teen nicotine use via e-cigarettes has jumped threefold in the past year, and maybe it’s time to start barking up the nicotine tree for ‘gateway drug’ answers.
That’s two separate studies suggesting two separate substances as the ultimate gateway drug, neither of those substances being marijuana, and both substances being legal nationwide for decades.
Substances or Psychosis?
According to Bentley University Sociology professor Miriam Boeri, abuse of other substances such as alcohol and nicotine isn’t even the major factor in predicting hard drug use.
In a recent article for The Conversation Boeri pointed to poverty, mental illness, and peer pressure has far more influential factors in predicting future hard drug use.
It’s time to drop the ‘pot a gateway drug’ theory, entirely. Science has debunked it multiple times over by multiple study groups, many believe mental illness and poverty to be much more major factors of future hard drug use, and even the originator of the theory, itself has changed her tune.
It’s now on the public to allow their mind to be opened to the fact that marijuana is simply not as harmful as we once believed. I think I can hear the ‘FINALLY!’ from the collective states of Colorado, Washington, and Oregon from here.