Science

Marijuana Isn't A Gateway Drug... If Anything Is, It's Alcohol.

Earlier this year, Obama said "we should follow the science, not the ideology" when dealing with marijuana legalization. I get the feeling that most places in the world would have legalized the plant if we actually did that.

One of the foremost arguments against legalization of cannabis so far has been that weed is a "gateway drug," meaning it represents the first drug used in the slippery slope toward more damaging drugs. But how true is the claim?

Not very.

In a 2012 national survey on drug use and health, it was found that 60% of cannabis users went on to try other types of drugs. Sounds like a gateway drug, right? Not when you consider that 88% of drug users started with alcohol, not cannabis.

(Picture: Mic, Data: NCBI)

About 50% of alcohol drinkers don't go any further than drinking alcohol, but the consumption of alcohol almost always precludes the consumption of marijuana. So if you're going to look for a gateway drug, marijuana probably isn't what you're looking for.

As The Atlantic put it: "Marijuana isn't a 'gateway' to harder drugs in the same way that ordering an appetizer isn't a 'gateway' to an entree: One comes before the other, but you're eating both because you're already at the restaurant."

So right now, if we're doing what the president says we should be doing, we should be considering weed harmless and passing laws to reflect the science. We'll see how that goes over the next few years.

Featured Image Credit: http://www.mpp.org/media/marijuana-vs-alcohol.html

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