Marijuana… Gateway or Exit Drug?
Is weed a gateway drug? For many years, and even in todays age, some ill minded people still speak of cannabis as the “gateway drug”. People often start with the “soft drugs” like marijuana, and then move onto “harder” stuff like heroin and cocaine. There might even be a few neighbourhood stories of someone’s path taking this unfortunate turn.
While we don’t wish to be completely dismissive of this opinion, it must be commonly known that science and collected data show that the gateway theory with cannabis is complete bull dung.
In fact, cannabis could be seen as an “exit drug” rather than an “entry drug”. There’s plenty of evidence from Canada and the US showing that cannabis legalization lowers heroin use. States that have a medical marijuana programs tend to see a reduction in opioid overdoses. Some have even predicted a dent in alcohol consumption.
So, the idea of cannabis leading onto harder drugs is not only possibly nonsense, but in fact it could be the complete opposite: Cannabis leads to a reduction in overall hard drug use? But why? Well, there could be a several reasons, both social and biological …
- Those looking to buy cannabis no longer have to come in contact with the black market, meaning they no longer get other drugs “pushed” onto them.
- The “everyone was lying to me” effect. Overblown horror stories about cannabis may lead to people thinking that what they’ve been told about other drugs is also wrong. This could lead to them trying harder drugs when they might not have originally.
- While opioids are massively over prescribed for financial gains. There are people with serious conditions who are in serious pain and who use prescription opioids. When these are tapered off and stopped, the pain is still there (even if it’s phantom pain), and they may look for pain relief in illicit substances. This suggests that prescription opioids are the gateway to hard drug use. Which is obviously a massive epidemic in its own right.
- There are good scientific reasons why cannabis could work in place of opioids – mu-opioid receptors could be involved in the stimulus rewarding effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), meaning that cannabis could help control pain and affect the body’s opioid receptors via the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
- The ‘Couch Potato’ effect. Data collected from smokers suggest that those who use marijuana frequently enjoy spending more free time at home. While one doesn’t need to become an actual lazy “couch potato”, its does suggest that you may find reading that book, painting, sculpting, gardening or other home and personal activities have new life and interest. Thus keeping people away from bars, pubs and other venues where alcohol is served.
With the change in government and policies, the rise of online dispensaries is here. Buying weed online has never been easier, cheaper, safer or more professional. While this wave of common sense is finally catching up with the issue, we just wanted to shed a light on some of the urban rumours that are still in circulation.
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