The powers that be have been attempting to brainwash Americans about the effects of marijuana for far too long. Using scare tactics to mold the public’s perception of a harmless plant is unethical. Fortunately, there are independent groups who fund unbiased studies on the effects of marijuana. The results are in – the data again refutes marijuana as a gateway drug.
The study is based on data collected from the Cannabis Access for Medical Purposes Survey (CAMPS), the largest Canadian survey of medical cannabis patients to date.
“While cannabis is not benign, most research suggests that it’s safer and less addictive than many substances, particularly prescription opiates,” said lead author Philippe Lucas in a written statement.
The study found that 87% of respondents reported substituting marijuana for one or more of alcohol, prescription drugs or other illicit drugs. Of those using marijuana as a substitute, 80.3% reported using marijuana instead of prescription drugs. Interestingly, this group of people expressed difficulties affording sufficient amounts of marijuana. This insight shows us that either the addiction to prescription drugs is so severe that it requires large amounts of marijuana to overcome, or those regions with high prescription drug addiction rates do not have affordable marijuana options.
The data also showed that respondents under the age of 40 were more likely to substitute marijuana for all three substances. This indicates that younger people have tried other drugs (other gateways) before marijuana and then substituted or that they recognize marijuana as being safer and healthier than the studied alternatives. Either way, this evidence further refutes marijuana as a gateway drug.
The real gateway drug
According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health 88% of people try alcohol before any other substance. So if nearly everyone tries booze as his or her first drug, shouldn’t we be calling alcohol the gateway drug? The report shows that 50% of people who try alcohol first stop there, and that 40% try marijuana but never move on to other prescription or illicit drugs.
Miriam Boeri, an association professor of sociology at Bentley University points out, “poverty, mental illness, and friend groups are all much stronger predictors of drug use. Marijuana isn’t a “gateway” to harder drugs in the same way that ordering an appetizer isn’t a “gateway” to an entree: One comes before the other, but you’re eating both because you’re already at the restaurant.”
Have a look at this interactive map. You can see the “pathways” from each substance illustrating the progression of drug use in America.
Back to reality
Anti-marijuana groups will continue to push propaganda into mainstream media, but we have the facts. Refuting marijuana as a gateway drug will eventually become a thing of the past. Until then remain skeptical and responsible. Time and truth are on our side; soon it will become too expensive for the naysayers to push their agenda of lies and scare tactics.
What do you think—was marijuana a gateway drug for you or anyone you know? Tell us on social media.