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Is Cannabis Really a Gateway Drug?

05 July 2021
Cannabis being a gateway drug might be misleading or completely wrong.
05 July 2021
2 min read
Is Cannabis Really a Gateway Drug?

We’ve all been told that cannabis is a gateway drug, meaning that those who use or have used cannabis will most likely try “harder drugs”. However, this is wrong. Most consumers deny the fact that it is a gateway drug but there’s no scientific evidence to back up the fact. Not everybody who consumes cannabis consumes “harder” drugs but there are those who consume cannabis before trying other substances. So what’s right and wrong?

Cannabis and “Harder” Drugs

The idea of cannabis being a gateway drug is inconsistent. Obviously, there are those who started consuming cannabis and then went on to use “harder” substances but this is not unique to cannabis. It’s been proved that alcohol and nicotine promote the use of other drugs, just like cannabis in specific cases.

These cases are not exactly the same but scientists think there may be a correlation. This means that there could be something else that leads to cannabis use and, later on, the use of “harder” substances. An alternative to this hypothesis is that those who are more vulnerable to taking drugs are more likely to start with substances that are easier to find such as cannabis, tobacco, and alcohol. Then, social interactions with people who use other drugs increase the chances of trying “harder” drugs.

The Gateway Drug Hypothesis

This hypothesis claims that there isn’t something like a gateway drug, but what can influence someone to take any type of drug, including cannabis, has to do with genetics and your social circle. The hypothesis has been partially accepted, even without concrete data, several country representatives and private unions are now accepting the idea. And despite not recommending cannabis use, they’ve partially accepted the fact that there are multiple elements that affect the probability of using “harder” drugs after trying other substances such as cannabis, alcohol, or tobacco.

The majority of people who consume cannabis do not go on to use other “harder” substances, in fact, a study performed a couple of years ago concluded that less than 50% went on to take other substances. If there was concrete data and the majority of cannabis consumers went to use harder drugs then it could be seen as a gateway drug but, as cannabis is legalized around the world, cannabis consumption has increased exponentially and in most cases, the use of harder drugs has decreased or remained the same. This means that, with the information we have at the moment, cannabis cannot be considered a gateway drug.