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A gateway drug is a drug that has the potential to lead to the use of other, more dangerous drugs. While cannabis has shown that it has medical value, people often wonder if cannabis can lead to more destructive drug use. This topic of conversation holds controversy and people have many different opinions. But with roughly 2 million cannabis users in the United States, it’s something that is definitely worth getting to the bottom of.
The vast majority believe that The gateway drug theory suggests that, after trying a drug, the user experiences pleasure which eventually tapers off, and this increases the desire for other, stronger drugs which can lead to experimentation.
Also, if someone’s peers use cannabis, they are likely to join in on the action. These peer groups are also more likely to use other drugs and substances, leading to the exposure of potentially more dangerous drugs.
A study suggested that cannabis users were 5 to 9 times more likely to experiment with opioids, leading to opioid problems 3 years later after being first introduced to cannabis.
While alcohol is a drug, it’s not considered to lead to other, more harmful addictions. This is a key comparison because many believe that cannabis and alcohol should be considered to be drugs on the same level.
While this could be a bit far fetched for many, this is still a good a point. Both cannabis and alcohol are similar in many respects, except that, while alcohol does not contain any medical benefits, cannabis does. Thus the legalization of cannabis is increasing in many countries.
Researchers are supporting the fact that cannabis can be used to treat chronic pain conditions, and conditions that were once said to be the cause of cannabis use in the first place such as:
This is due to two out of 113 chemical compounds from the cannabis plant that hold medical properties. These compounds are called cannabinoids and the two cannabinoids responsible for holding medical properties are Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In relation to cannabis not being a gateway drug, it’s said that almost all heroin users didn’t begin their drug use with cannabis. It’s also said and preclinical and clinical studies on cannabis suggest that cannabis can be used to treat addiction, including those addicted to heroin, alcoholism, tobacco and other drug use.
In fact a study in Canada revealed that 87% of people used cannabis to replace alcohol, prescription opioids and other harmful substances. 52% of these people reported that cannabis had helped them reduce their alcohol consumption.
It’s clear that, while this topic of conversation is still being debated, there is more and more evidence pointing in the direction that cannabis is not a gateway drug.
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