Amphetamine, opiate, cocaine, heroin and other synthetic substances can open the hell gate of addiction, misery, and often death. Is cannabis indeed a gateway drug, which invites you into a world of the serious high rides and addiction?
Translated and revised by Radek R. Kasa
First, to understand this, it is essential to make out the difference between cause and effect. In the following text, we discuss why people brand cannabis as a dangerous path to harder substances. Those who stand up to this opinion argue that there is no clear evidence. The opposition demonstrates the evidence of lab experiments with rats where it was proven that after getting high on weed, the rodents got hooked up on hard drugs eventually.
However, the logic behind the experiments is false. It cannot be taken as evidence that one action (event) causes the following action just because it has happened before. This phenomenon is known as a logical fallacy, ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’, which means ‘after this, therefore because of this.’ It explains the logic that the chronologic order of two actions concludes the existence of direct connection between them, which, however, isn’t there.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, in terms of this issue, states that “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, ‘harder’ substances. Also, cross-sensitisation is not unique to marijuana. Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs and are, like marijuana, also typically used before a person progresses to other, more harmful substances.”
The article also stresses out other factors like, for example, interactions with other users. Which leads to the consequences that these people are exposed to a higher risk that they will try different substances.
Miriam Boeri, an associate professor at Bentley University, goes even further as she writes that “in the United States, addiction researchers and addiction treatment professionals are heavily invested in the weakly supported claim that marijuana is a gateway to hard drugs. For decades, scientists who study addiction have received millions of dollars in government and pharmaceutical funding to perpetuate the gateway hypothesis.“
In April 2017, John Kelly, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, alleged that „marijuana is a dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.” However, a journal, The Hill, proves otherwise. According to the Centres for Disease Control, over half of American adults have tried cannabis, and the overwhelming majority of them have never gone on to experiment with other illegal substances.
Two years ago, The University of British Columbia published an article about their research which discusses evidence that cannabis can act as an exit drug. Moreover, the article also introduces findings that “cannabis may help with symptoms of depression, PTSD and social anxiety. However, the review concluded that cannabis use might not be recommended for conditions such as bipolar disorder and psychosis.“
Even DEA has removed over 25 false misinformation from their website and materials. Among others, the information misled readers about cannabis as a gateway drug too. It was done after a month of public pressure, pointing out that the statements violated the Information Quality Act.
Is it, therefore, safe to conclude that cannabis isn’t a gateway drug? The mentioned examples above are just baker’s dozen of many. However, around the world, there are still too many too influential people who are of the opposite opinion and demonise cannabis. They are ready to take other steps to enforce the campaign against this mighty herb.
Don’t let yourself fooled and make up your own opinion based on factual information. Seek for it. You don’t necessarily have to like the plant and its products, that’s completely fine. On the other hand, spreading lies by those people is not fair either.