Remember those anti-drug, anti-weed assemblies in school? As an example, a D.A.R.E officer probably told you that if you smoke cannabis, you would try other drugs like heroin. This is the Gateway Drug Theory. It claims that using weed makes it more likely to become a drug addict later in life. Spoiler alert: Weed is not a gateway drug. Here’s why that theory is not true.
1. Prescription Drug Abuse
One of the main arguments against the Gateway Drug Theory is that weed can replace some prescription drugs. Of course, you should check with your doctor before discontinuing any medicine you are taking. But multiple studies have shown that cannabis can provide better and safer treatment for certain disorders than prescription medications can. The health benefits of weed make clear that weed is not a gateway drug.
2. Opioid Abuse Epidemic
Speaking of prescription drugs, opioid abuse is a serious problem. The Gateway Drug Theory claims that smoking pot will increase the likelihood of using hard drugs. For example, drugs like heroin. Or dangerous opioids like Oxycodone. Turns out, the exact opposite is true. In fact, recent studies show that cannabis can be used to treat opioid addiction.
3. Loretta Lynch Says So
In a town hall meeting about heroin addiction last year, Loretta Lynch said that weed is not a gateway drug. Furthermore, she said that prescription opioids are to blame for the recent rise in heroin use. Good ol’ Loretta Lynch. Too bad she was succeeded by a racist misogynist.
4. The DEA
The Drug Enforcement Administration has never been a fan of making weed legal. But in recent months, even the DEA has been forced to alter how it thinks about weed. For example, the agency DEA published a statement that said “the federal government now admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug.” The statement also said that weed “doesn’t cause long-term brain damage, or psychosis.” Although the DEA is still anti-weed, this seems to be a step in the right direction.
5. Correlation =/= Causation
In January 2003, researchers published an important study about the gateway theory. More specifically, the article concluded that “it is not possible to draw strong causal conclusions solely on the basis of the associations shown in this study.” Put simply, if a person goes from weed to a dangerous drug it’s probably for some other reason, not because cannabis is a gateway drug.
Weed is not the dangerous drug conservatives say it is. Know what is a dangerous drug? We’ll give you three hints: it’s legal, it’s common, and people use it all the time. It’s alcohol. And studies show that this is the real “gateway drug.”
Anti-cannabis pundits like to talk about addiction to pot. Similarly, they cite a supposed increase in the number of youths entering treatment programs to treat their “addiction” to cannabis. But these claims aren’t backed up by the data. In fact, the study we mentioned earlier concluded that most youths in treatment for “cannabis addiction” were pressured to go by a judge or an academic institution.
8. Weed As Medication
It’s important to remember that THC isn’t the only thing in weed. In fact, the non-psychoactive component of weed, a chemical called CBD, has many medical properties. Unfortunately, CBD often gets lost in the conversation about cannabis. CBD’s medical qualities are another reason that weed is not a gateway drug. Instead, it’s a plant that can very often be used as medicine.
9. Chris Christie
Chris Christie believes in the gateway drug theory and has even compared weed to heroin. That alone should be enough to convince you that weed is not a gateway drug.
10. Antiquated Theories
The Gateway Drug Theory, first called the Stepping Stone Theory, has been around since the 1930s. At the time, racial segregation was an acceptable practice, antisemitism was encouraged, and people thought that homosexuality was a mental illness. Times have changed. Time to ditch the old theories.
11. The History Of Prohibition
The history of cannabis prohibition, which led to the Gateway Drug Theory, is bizarre. It’s weird and infuriating. Ultimately, cannabis prohibition is rooted in racism, and thousands of people are arrested on weed-related charges every year. Honestly, that should be enough of a reason to abandon it.
12. Critical Thinking
Take a moment and think about the Gateway Drug Theory critically. Does it make sense to you that the act of using weed will increase your chances of using hard drugs like heroin or crack? It probably doesn’t.
13. Adapting Laws
It’s moving slowly, but you can’t deny that cannabis legalization is making strides. Plenty still believe in the Gateway Drug Theory. But the people in charge of writing bills and passing laws have adapted their politics to align with the most current research. Weed is not a gateway drug, and the people in charge are staring to realize that.
14. General Silliness
When it comes down to it, prohibition is just silly. Furthermore, so is the Gateway Drug Theory. Especially when you consider that research indicates that the opposite of the Gateway Drug Theory is true.