No evidence supports marijuana as a “gateway drug”

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Science debunks the myth that marijuana users will turn to harder drugs

Marijuana uses can “fly into a delirious rage, and they are temporarily irresponsible and may commit violent crimes.” At least, that was the opinion of Harry Anslinger, who created the U.S. Marihuana Tax Act, in 1937. His opinion had no scientific foundation, but was able to take control of the public sentiment of marijuana, which has held until today. However, his view – and the view of all marijuana opponents – is wrong and there has been no scientific evidence to support the claim, or the claim that marijuana is a gateway drug.

In 2017, researchers with the Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at the State University of New York (SUNY) published findings of a study that was conducted on marijuana. They showed that there was extensive research indicating marijuana’s effects paled in comparison to those of both tobacco and alcohol; yet, marijuana continues to be ostracized. One of the study’s authors, Eve Waltermaurer, Ph.D., explained, “There has been no evidence proving that [marijuana is] a gateway drug.”

The study covers 100 years of investigations into marijuana, including the 3,000-page Indian Hemp Drug Commission Report. That report, which was completed in 1894, showed that even moderate marijuana use had negligible effects.

Waltermauer adds, “I think it’s a combination of politics and misinformation. For some, it’s more comfortable to be anti-marijuana in fear of what their constituents might think of them: being pro-drugs. But I think there are also many who are just misinformed and are buying into the myth of marijuana being a gateway drug.”

Other studies have also reached the same conclusion, with one asserting, “The theory that [cannabis] somehow opens the door or is a cause of later drug use, that theory is no longer regarded as credible.”

Marijuana opponents will, once again, have to try to find a reason to keep up their anti-marijuana sentiment as the number of excuses they use continues to dwindle.