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News, Research

It’s Time to Refute the Cannabis Gateway Theory Once and For All

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

August 17, 2021 03:00 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
It’s Time to Refute the Cannabis Gateway Theory Once and For All

A recent study from the University of Pittsburgh suggests that the United States federal government’s current stance that cannabis is a gateway drug is bunk. Cannabis is a gateway drug is nothing more than another Reefer Madness propaganda tactic. It is just about as old as cannabis prohibition itself. The gateway theory suggests that people who consume cannabis are more likely to continue on to experiment with other drugs and alcohol. Basically, if you decide to smoke weed, you’re just as likely to do cocaine, meth, heroin, drink alcohol, participate in prostitution, and all kinds of other horrible things.

The majority of our political representatives are clueless about cannabis. They know it as marijuana and associate it only with criminal activity. Coleman Drake is an assistant professor that specializes in health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Drake is the lead author of the study that finds the gateway drug theory to be false. In an official statement to media sources, Dr. Drake said;

“We don’t find any evidence to support the theory that cannabis functions as a gateway drug… if anything, we find that recreational cannabis legalization decreases opioid-related emergency department visits.”

Drake and his team of researchers studied data collected from Nevada, Massachusetts, California, and Maine. Could you imagine one of our politicians taking the time to do this? Mr. Drake went on to say that many begin using opioids to treat pain and then go on to become addicted. “Cannabis is a substitute for pain relief, but it’s not a treatment for opioid use disorder. People might be finding that cannabis does help treat pain for opioid use disorder but ultimately isn’t treating other symptoms of the condition”.

Alice Bell of Prevention Point Pittsburgh said, “This data hopefully once and for all puts a nail in the coffin that marijuana is a gateway drug. It would be useful to do qualitative research and ask people who use drugs what they are actually doing.”

Okay, United States Federal government, what do you have to say to this study? Let me guess, the same thing you said back in the 1940s and in the 1970s, there’s a lack of scientific evidence to support these accusations. How long can you cling to the same propaganda? There is more than enough scientific evidence to support the therapeutical attributes of cannabis.

Marijuana is a gateway drug, really? This theory was debunked in 1944 by the New York Academy of Medicine and again in the 1970s by the Shafer Commission Report of 1972. Standing here in 2021, how can any political figure that is able to read a book and still say that marijuana is a gateway drug?

Where Did the Term Gateway Drug Even Come From? 

Just what is a gateway drug? Where did this term come from, and what caused it to become part of our language? The term gateway drug is said to have originally been coined by Denise Kandle roughly 40 years ago when she was doing research on cannabis and other substances. Much to the dismay of the United States federal government, her research pointed to nicotine being a gateway drug.

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Moving forward a little bit in 1984, the gateway drug theory made a comeback at the hands of D.A.R.E.  They eventually acknowledged that the overwhelming majority of individuals that consume cannabis don’t graduate to powders and pills.

A study from Columbia University showed alcoholic rats were more likely to push levers releasing cocaine than non-alcoholic rats. Can we just take a minute to reflect on this? We have major issues in trying to legalize cannabis in our country, yet studies are being done creating alcohol and cocaine-addicted rats to compare to human behavior?

Another study was done in 2011, and it suggested the same effect with nicotine and mice. It’s nice to see we went from alcoholic cocaine-addicted rats to nicotine-addicted mice. I guess it’s showing a step in the right direction. Thankfully the newest study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh doesn’t compare us to rats or mice but just basically debunks the theory of cannabis as a gateway drug altogether. They may have been on to something. They just didn’t go in the right direction.

Cannabis is a Gateway to Many Other Things

In my opinion, cannabis is a gateway. It is a gateway to a happier life. It’s sometimes a gateway to the refrigerator. It’s a gateway to the determination to earn enough money to be able to have cannabis and the finer things in life. This makes it a gateway to work. It is a gateway to a healthier alternative versus prescription drugs such as opioids, benzos, and others. Cannabis is also a gateway drug to future generational wealth.

Those who put forth effort in the legal cannabis industry in bringing it to fruition also have a chance at establishing the foundation of financial freedom that previously was non-existent. So yes, it is possible that cannabis is a gateway drug. However, if these are the gates it opens, what’s the problem? Would prosperity and the improved health of a nation be a bad thing? Perhaps our elected representatives like it better when we are divided, conflicted, and addicted to substances they control, such as prescription drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and let’s not forget fashion.

The theory that cannabis is a gateway drug is absolute madness; you might even call it Reefer Madness! End the madness today, and let’s abolish this theory and propaganda once and for all!

Post Your Comments

Christopher G Casey says:

August 21, 2021 at 7:46 pm

Hey Ashley

Nice article and so accurately stated. I could see that cigarette smokers enjoy the taboo lifestyle, therefore inclined to try and overuse stronger stuff. And alcohol use in excess definitely becomes a gateway to doing anything taboo and irrational, leading to drug problems.

Marijuana in the same theory? Impossible to fathom. As you said quite humorously, gateway to ice cream, salty snacks and overindulging in couch cushions.

Robert Henry Adelman says:

August 22, 2021 at 2:49 pm

Marijuana helps more people then you can ever imagine. I’ve been a user for quite some time and never had the desire to try any “gateway drugs that you speak of” I also don’t look at Marijuana as a drug but only medicine. Narcotics and others related are far much worse. Of course Marijuana is not for everyone and just like anything else you should have some precautions. Too much of anything can be bad, people are addicted to caffeine for God’s sake, too much sugar can make your heart rate increase. God gave us all free will. If someone wants to drink 24 cups of coffee in a day then that’s on them? They can fall out for over consumption so why isn’t caffeine on the ban list? or looked down upon like Marijuana? Or even Alcohol? I don’t even have to explain how many lives lost to this liquid danger. I believe there should be some regulations to Marijuana which through the years its getting more familiar and more regulated. Still today it’s looked down upon when there is Alcohol at the for front resulting in many lives lost, that can be consumed and can impair you to function. I can smoke all day and may get tired but wouldn’t cause any damage like consumption of alcohol. Even children can benefit from the help of cannabis to keep them away from pills or hard drugs. The Doctors can regulate a small dosage of THC to help what ever problems they may have if its surgery , cancer , or anything major that would require cannabis. Which would be a lot safer then hydrocodone or pain killers. It’s a new day and age trust your scientist and the movement for a better life with Cannabis.

Glen Collins says:

August 25, 2021 at 8:17 am

If marijuana is the gateway drug, then what is alcohol?. To me alcohol is worse than anything in this category of conversation. Statistics all point that anything and everything in moderation can be accepted in society, hopefully we can all step back, and lose the Cape of discretion concerning the cannabis world.


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