Of all the quarrels that have been used to demonize marijuana, few have been more influential than that of the “gateway effect”: the idea that while marijuana itself may not be particularly unsafe; it ineluctably leads to harder drugs like cocaine and heroin. Yet, is there anything to the ‘Gateway Drug Theory’? I’ve thought of 3 reasons the ‘Gateway Drug Theory’ is nonsense.
3 Reasons the ‘Gateway Drug Theory’ is Nonsense:
#1. Most people actually start with Alcohol and Nicotine prior to marijuana.
Outlines in development of drug use from youth to adulthood are unusually regular. Because it is the most commonly used illicit drug, marijuana is probably the first illegal drug most individuals come across. Not unexpectedly, a majority of users of other illegal drugs have used marijuana first. As a matter of fact, most drug users start with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana — typically before they are of permitted age. In the sense that marijuana use normally comes first rather than follows beginning of other illicit drug use, it is certainly a “gateway” drug. But since underage smoking and alcohol use normally go before marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is hardly the first, “gateway” to illegal drug use.
#2. There is no actual proof that marijuana is connected to the abuse of other drugs.
There is no definite proof that the drug effects of marijuana are causally connected to the following abuse of other illegal drugs. Several studies have failed to support the gateway notion. Each year, the federal government funds two vast examinations on drug use in the people. Over and over they discover that the amount of individuals who try marijuana dwarfs that for cocaine or heroin. For instance, in 2009, 2.3 million people testified trying marijuana — compared with 617,000 who tried cocaine and 180,000 who tried heroin.
#3. In all reality, addiction has nothing to do with the substance.
Despite what many people think, I’ve learned in my recovery that addiction actually has nothing to do with the substances we used. It doesn’t matter what I started with (which was actually Xanax) or what I ended with, I truly believe that addicts and alcoholics are born with a genetic predisposition to use substances. There have been studies that show that 40-60 percent of the predisposition to addiction can be attributed to genetics. We all have the genetic predisposition for addiction because there is an evolutionary gain to that. When an animal eats a specific food that it enjoys, there is an advantage to relating pleasure with that food so that the animal will look for that food in the future. In other words, the probability for addiction is hardwired into our brain. Although everybody has the possibility for addiction, some individuals are more inclined to addiction than others. Some individuals drink alcoholically from the start. Other people start out as a sensible drinker and then turn into alcoholics later on.
Even though my drugs of choice were alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines, it has nothing to do with the substances. Once the substances were taken away, I was even sicker because my solution to all of my problems was gone. It is all a symptom of a bigger problem which is me and my spiritual malady. People may believe that marijuana is a gateway drug, but in my opinion – if you’re an addict, the only way to not become addicted to substances is to never use them. No matter what you start or end with, I believe we are born this way. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.