Marijuana is not a gateway drug for teens

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The long-held belief that marijuana users move on to harder substances is refuted by science

For decades, marijuana opponents have tried to argue that those who consume marijuana always move to harder drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. They made this argument in view of the fact that there was literally no evidence to support the claim but now there is evidence to help them – help them finally put the tired, incorrect arguments to rest. A multi-year study shows that there is no propensity among adolescents to move to harder drugs just because they consume marijuana.

The study followed 364 adolescents over an eight-year period, beginning when they were 10-12 years old. Five annual surveys were conducted, as well as one follow-up survey when they turned 18 and 19. The results were clear – there was no evidence that cannabis consumption led to the consumption of other drugs.

The study also indicated that marijuana consumers don’t go out of their way to find other consumers. There was no indication that marijuana consumption led to behavioral issues, such as stealing or skipping school.

The evidence continues to mount that cannabis can no longer be classified as a Schedule 1 drug. It no longer fits the criteria that has, for the longest time, lumped it together with LSD and heroin. It no longer can be classified as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” as is the definition of Schedule 1 drugs.

Fortunately, it looks like more people are finally waking up and understanding the true value of cannabis. As states continue to relax their policies, and the federal government is on the verge of changing its position, cannabis will finally get the recognition it deserves.