Updated: Mar 27, 2022
For centuries, there have been tons of myths and misinformation circulating about marijuana. You may have heard that marijuana prohibition effectively protects the kids. Some may agree and some may not, but I can recall a few times I’ve skipped school with my friends to smoke pot. Or, using marijuana can lead to a life of crime and delinquency. Hence, hundreds of thousands of innocent people in prison for small possessions of marijuana. Let’s not forget that most pot-users are heavy smokers myths are completely untruthful. But, the myth that tops all is the popular misinterpretation of marijuana being a gateway drug to other illicit substances.
Dating back to the sixties, marijuana was speculated to have been linked to teenage rebellion, social catastrophe, and government opposition that the reigning president Richard Nixon declared the nation was facing a “War on Drugs”. In simpler terms, “War on Drugs” was used as a defense to keep marijuana illegal. Preceding Nixon’s term, Regan double down on the “War on Drugs” creating an era that was known as “Reaganomics”. Around the time cocaine was on the rise and marijuana was declining.
There is no real evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug. Marijuana is the most widely illicit drug in the world. People who use hard drugs such as- heroin and cocaine are most likely to use marijuana too because of how pot is easily obtainable. Literally, you can grow weed in your back yard. Wouldn’t you think the statistics would reflect more people being on harder substances since weed is considered a gateway drug with it being easily available? On the contrary, people who use drugs are more likely to use multiple drugs in their lifetime compared to a person who never used drugs. Individuals that are tempted to try other drugs might have an underlying weakness or could be affected by their social environment. A persons’ social interaction and biological mechanisms can increase the risk of harder drug use.
In essence, marijuana can be used as an “Exit Drug”. Marijuana has the ability to serve as a terminus that can help alleviate addiction to other substances- such as alcohol and narcotics.