Debunking the “gateway drug” myth

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Marijuana is less of a gateway drug than alcohol

One time, absent any scientific research, a handful of politicians decided to assert that marijuana was a gateway drug that inevitably led to consumers using harder, more dangerous drugs like heroin or cocaine. In the states that have already legalized recreational marijuana, this has been proven to be false, in line with several scientific studies on the subject, and the truth is even more startling. Marijuana is not a gateway drug – it never has been and it never will be. However, alcohol, on the other hand, often leads to the consumption of dangerous illicit drugs.

According to some polls, as many as 52% of Americans over 18 years of age have tried cannabis at least once in their life. As of last year, 42.5% of Canadians over the age of 15 had tried it at some point. However, in neither case is there evidence that those consumers went on to use harder substances.

Another study, conducted in 2016, showed that teenagers are not that interested in experimenting with cannabis. The University of Florida study showed that high school seniors were four times more likely to consume alcohol than try cannabis. They were also three times more likely to consume tobacco than cannabis. With that in mind, compared to the number of people who take up serious illicit drug use, both tobacco and alcohol could be viewed as the true gateway drugs.

Cannabis is now being seen as an “exit drug” and not a gateway drug. It helps an individual escape other addictions, remain sober and lead healthier lives. While there’s nothing wrong with holding firm to one’s beliefs, when those beliefs are fundamentally invalid and scientifically proven to be false, they definitely need to be let go.