The Truth About Cannabis: Dispelling the Gateway Drug Myth
We've all heard those rumors before — "Cannabis is a gateway drug." Unfortunately, this bit of misinformation has played a big role in scaring people away from what is a very natural and very beneficial plant. There was even a movie released in 1936 called "Reefer Madness" that was essentially propaganda to turn public opinion against cannabis even further.
You yourself may be someone who has yet to enjoy the benefits of cannabis because you've heard the myth throughout your life. You may still have your reservations, even as acceptance slowly grows throughout the country. We don't want you to try anything before you're ready, but since you're here, you must be curious to know if the gateway drug myth has been scientifically debunked. This is the truth about cannabis.
The Science Doesn’t Lie
In 2002, the RAND Drug Policy Research Center published results from a study where 58,000 people in the United States were surveyed based on "drug use patterns" to find out if there was any link between cannabis consumption and engagement with illicit substances. While the research did not conclusively disprove the gateway drug myth, it was an important step in the right direction. The study determined it was possible "that it is not marijuana use but individuals' opportunities and unique propensities to use drugs that determine their risk of initiating hard drugs." This opened the door to further research that would truly put the old myth to rest.
Building off of that study, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has come forward to state that most cannabis consumers don't actually involve themselves in illicit drug practices. The CDC also backs this claim based on its own data. Instead, those who enjoy cannabis tend to stick to the plant they know and trust, as it is a natural source of wellness.
During a panel at the University of Calgary in 2018, Matthew Hill, one of its associate professors, had something else to add to the conversation around the gateway drug myth. Not only was he confident that cannabis does not lead people to experiment with illicit substances, but he asserted that legalization would actually protect consumers from being exposed to dangerous drugs. Hill explained that without legalization, someone who seeks out cannabis is forced to purchase from disreputable sources that sell the kinds of substances that should be avoided.
Closing the Gate on Harmful Substances
So now we can rest assured knowing cannabis won't lead us down a dark path. On top of that, we know that patients often turn to this plant to treat a number of ailments. But there's also evidence suggesting that cannabis can actually help fight addiction.
You heard that right.
Research has shown that when states legalize cannabis for medical purposes, alcohol sales decline. And if you're looking for an effective way to help you break your cigarette addiction, scientific evidence points to CBD as a potential candidate, which we know by now is a chemical compound that exists in cannabis plants.
Similar to its potential effectiveness in curbing tobacco and alcohol addiction, studies suggest cannabis may reduce opioid-related deaths. The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that states that legalized medical cannabis consumption saw "significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates."
In sharp contrast to the gateway drug myth that has been in circulation for far too long, cannabis could actually be the resource needed to kick those harmful habits!