A Myth Debunked: Marijuana is Not a “Gateway Drug”

  • Research based on survey data demonstrates that tobacco is, in fact, a more decisive factor than cannabis when it comes to the consumption of other substances.

"Marijuana is a gateway to drug addiction," stated New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a recent interview. But the Treatment4Addiction website has demonstrated that the governor's statement wasn't exactly accurate. The site analysed the results of a National Survey on Drug Consumption and Health to study how citizens begin to consume illegal substances

At first glance marijuana may seem to be a "gateway" to the consumption of other substances: one fifth of smokers had not tried any illegal substance before, and two thirds of those surveyed had not even tried alcohol. After consuming cannabis 60% had tried others - although in 17% of cases that substance was alcohol.

Meanwhile, 88% of those surveyed recognised not having consumed any other illegal substance before beginning to drink, and 90% reported not having tried drugs after that. This percentage contrasts with the 40% of people who, after consuming marijuana, made the decision not to try other substances. Alcohol is, in turn, a gateway to the consumption of cannabis: one third of drinkers end up smoking marijuana.

The scientists concluded that, in fact, nicotine is the most powerful gateway to all substances, with an experiment with rodents demonstrating that after consuming it, they like cocaine much more.

The site also indicates that cannabis hardly leads to cocaine consumption: just 11% of marijuana consumers begin to consume the drug. Miriam Boeri, Professor of Sociology at the University of Bentley, has indicated that poverty, friendships and diseases are much more pivotal factors when it comes to cocaine consumption.


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