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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

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More Studies Show Marijuana is Harmless

As the marijuana legalization debate continues to heat up, so do the ‘gateway drug’ arguments. The anti-cannabis community has been repeating itself for years saying marijuana is a gateway drug, or a drug leading to a myriad of hardcore, fatal drugs like cocaine and heroin.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey often use this argument to squelch making marijuana legal.

New York Times piece cited several articles and studies concluding this is simply not fact. One of the studies by Science Advances showed that rats consuming alcohol are more likely to push the lever that releases cocaine. However, other researchers have debunked the idea by reversing the order, letting rats take cocaine before alcohol, but this did not affect rats behavior and make them want more alcohol.

“I think it sounds like a relatively lame attempt to resuscitate a theory that’s been largely debunked,” said Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and former executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance said to New York Times. “The simple fact that they’re involving studies on rats to make claims about people is a real stretch.”

Besides these questionable studies, others have found that weed use has reduced alcohol use, and legalization has caused less use in teens rather than an increase in usage. An article by the Washington Post said alcohol beverage sales have fallen by 15 percent after medical marijuana laws were established according to a study. It also shows that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes, and legalizing marijuana has caused a decrease in alcohol usage.

Washington Post also reveals that after legalization, teen use in Colorado fell, along with, an overall decrease in use of marijuana in 2016. However, cannabis use increases among young adults 18 to 25 and adults age 26 and up. Where there is an increase in weed use, there is a decrease in alcohol use. This is good news for some as alcohol seems to damage the body more than marijuana, according to most opinons.

 

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