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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug

It is no secret that people are motivated by pleasure. What can be pleasurable to someone may bring disgust to the other people. Pleasure comes in different forms and shapes such as music, nature, art, sports, and foods. Although we all have our own unique brains, all human brain processes pleasurable sensations in the same way. And it’s science.

When we do something that makes us feel good or awesome, our brain then releases dopamine. This chemical teaches us to seek activity in the future that can bring as a very good feeling. Our brains want to repeat this pleasurable experience. These good experiences that are stored inside our brains and from time to time, it always wanted to go back to that pleasurable moment.

Regardless of what drug you are taking, the chemical functioning of your brain is altered. The brain produces more dopamine than it would normally do. The reabsorption process is then blocked, prolonging the sense “feel-good” feeling or pleasure beyond what is normal and healthy for the brain.

Such a sensation is powerful and long-lasting enough that your body wants more of it as often as you can. Some say that using marijuana often leads to seeking out more and more potent substances over time, but is this true

You probably heard of the debate regarding marijuana as a gateway drug. Finding the right answers can be overwhelming since there is countless information available on the web today. There has been a significant increase of legislators who are pushing for the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes. This is why you hear many people claiming that marijuana is a gateway drug, but is it

If you want to verify such a claim, then this article should be very useful to you. The goal is to provide you with facts and real answers. This should equip you with the right knowledge about the topic, thus, giving you an idea of how to properly approach marijuana consumption. And before we provide you answers, let us first check what gateway drug is.

What is a Gateway Drug

According to Wikipedia, it is a catchphrase for the theory that the use of certain psychoactive drugs can promote or lead to the probability of using other further drugs. They say that marijuana is a gateway drug since once you use it, you then be tempted to try other drugs. Some people believe that weed is not good for people since such consumption can increase cravings toward other more serious and dangerous drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin, and so on.

It is known that gateway drugs are introductory. These habit-forming drugs or substances give way to more severe consumption and addiction. When we say gateway drugs, it typically means milder and accessible substances that can lead to consumption of stronger and more potent drugs. They say that trying out one drug can lead to trying out more.

The history of gateway drug theory become popular during the 1980s wherein experts found out that tobacco and alcohol can lead to using hard drugs, which are harmful and more life-threatening such as cocaine, heroin, and meth.

Check out this short video about cannabis as a gateway drug:

Meet Charlie

Let’s make an illustration to understand it better. We will name our fictional subject as Charlie. Now, if Charlie is first exposed to cigarettes or alcohol at home since his parents are smoking and drinking, then it is common that he will be tempted to try either one.

As Charlie gets older, his affinity for these things grows as well. And has he begin to like the warm and fuzzy feeling of alcohol, he then explores consuming marijuana. Then he gets bored with cigarette and alcohol that he now feels like moving on to other drugs.

What if Charlie starts smoking marijuana Can it cause him to consume other strong and more dangerous drugs You will read some article on the Internet today saying that there are a high correlation and probability that Charlie will indeed use other drugs after trying out marijuana.

However, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine wrote a research book about Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base”. So what have they concluded

“In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows the initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug. But because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common and is rarely the first, “gateway” to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.” – The National Academics Press (ch. 2, p. 6)

While it is true that the scientists and researchers agree that weed can be considered as a gateway drug, according to the studies, there is no supporting evidence for this. The study conducted is limited and could not ultimately conclude that an individual will eventually be tempted to try out other drugs after consuming weed or marijuana.

Some proponents claimed that marijuana, as a soft drug used for medicinal and recreational purposes, is relatively harmless and more socially acceptable compared to alcohol and other drugs. There are a number of parents out there who are scared for their kids who have tried consuming weed because it might lead to harder and more addictive drugs. But then again according to science and research, there is no airtight evidence for this. Such worry from loved ones or significant others is normal, but facts don’t lie.

The Legalization of Marijuana

Marijuana has earned its reputation as a non-problematic substance. Because of this, many governments and legislators all over the world are trying to legalize the use of it.

Apart from being a non-problematic substance, it is also used for treatment. Countless physicians today all over the world are prescribing marijuana to their patients, especially those who are suffering from stress, anxiety, pain, nausea, headache, migraines, and many more. It is also said that marijuana can help people who have cancer, PTSD, bipolar disorders, insomnia, and more.

To add more to its benefits, this miraculous herb can also help patients with HIV and Crohn’s disease combat pain.

The gateway drug theory has been used by many people to resist the legalization of marijuana. The anti-legalization party argues that consumption of marijuana can be very harmful to long term users. They also claim that weed is an introductory drug for stronger chemicals and substances. But the pro-legalization party insist that there is no concrete evidence for gateway drug theory.

In fact, consumption of marijuana can promote healing, treatment, and improve health.

If you are looking for a reliable video regarding the pros and cons of marijuana legalization, then you will find this video very useful:

No Proof of Marijuana as a Gateway Drug

As of now, it is close to impossible to measure that weed can lead to using consumption of stronger drugs. What is true is that there are countless marijuana users out there who do not progress to using other drugs. There are many factors at play when a marijuana user decided to try out other drugs, but the herb itself is not the main cause of such a decision.

Here are some common factors that can make the individual try out stronger drugs:

1.    Community and neighborhood

2.    Level of parental or guardian supervision

3.    The unique traits and biology of the individual

4.    His or her life experience

5.    Perception with drugs

Some reasons why people who try marijuana also try other drugs according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse:

1.    Individuals who have tried using marijuana during their younger years, about the early 20s, have a changed reward system in their brains. This makes them crave for other drugs and may become more vulnerable to trying out different substances.

2.    Those who are buying marijuana from other people who also sell other drugs are tempted to try out other substances.

The Benefits of Cannabis

It is not good and factual to state that a marijuana consumer is also a lover of other drugs. Parents and educators must not assume that a marijuana user is also craving for stronger substances. What is important is that parents should educate their kids and give them solid facts about marijuana.

Of course, if it is still illegal in your state then it is not good parenting to encourage them to use this drug. However, if your child is suffering from a certain ailment or disease that is curable with marijuana and you live in an area where it is legal, then grab the opportunity to try out its benefits.

There is no research the support marijuana as a gateway, however, there is a piece of strong evidence about the many positive effects of cannabis. Using medicinal cannabis for pain control in the United States has become very common nowadays. Although the herb is not strong enough to treat severe pain such as a broken bone or a post-surgical wound, it is proven to be effective in treating chronic pain.

What makes marijuana even more beneficial is that it is a lot safer than opiates. There are strong pieces of evidence about getting overdosed with opiates such as Advil and other NSAID’s Drugs. This is why marijuana is the safer option.

For countless of people who are using marijuana, the discovery of its health and medicinal benefits is a huge blessing. This herb was able to treat their ailments and cure their loved ones of painful and debilitating diseases. No wonder why more and more people are favoring its legalization. If you notice, even the famous and popular scientists and celebrities are promoting the use of marijuana.

It is also good to know that using marijuana can improve the focus and creativity of the individual. This can help you conceive beautiful ideas that can help you become a better individual and at the same time help you reach your goals.

There are many artists today who are using marijuana in order to boost their creativity. Marijuana is definitely one of the best drugs to try out when you are trying to accomplish certain projects and wanted to achieve a masterpiece.

Not only is cannabis used to treat pain, but it is also used as a muscle relaxant.  Many families all over the world are so thankful for the discovery of marijuana as an incredible drug to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Check out this video below about a man with Parkinson’s disease being treated with marijuana:

Along with treating Parkinson’s disease, marijuana is also efficient when it comes to treating interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia. It is also good to know that marijuana can help people who want to lose weight. Also, there is promising research that is being conducted these days about the use of marijuana as a treatment for veterans returning from combat zones and is suffering from PTSD.

Consulting Your Doctor

It is advisable that you talk to your doctor first before you start consuming weed or marijuana. If you are a bit apprehensive about using it, then do your research and educate yourself about its benefits and advantages. And if you think that consuming marijuana can lead you to try out other forms of drugs, then it is best that you talk to your doctor personally.

Remember to always be honest when talking to your physician. Do not feel embarrassed about bringing this topic up with your doctor. But of course, you also have to make sure that you only consult to a reliable and reputable doctor who has adequate experience in medicinal marijuana.

The opinions of different doctors may differ, but what is important is that you also do your research about this topic. It is necessary that you stay with what is true and factual. Bear in mind that although the internet houses myriads of information, not all of them are true. Check out what Dr. Sanjay Gupta has to say about the use of marijuana: