Marijuana Myth #4: Marijuana is a Gateway Drug
Anti-cannabis proponents claim that if you use marijuana you will automatically start using and become addicted to more dangerous drugs.
In the past, drug addiction commonly referred to street drugs like cocaine and heroin. The prevailing sentiment was that people got used to breaking the law by using marijuana so they had no further compunction against other illegal drugs. That having gotten used to the high from marijuana, users would automatically start looking for something stronger. Addicts who used marijuana along with other drugs were presented as evidence of cause and effect. What was missing from all this was a look at the vast majority of marijuana users who never even tried any other drug.
Nowadays, addicts are more likely to start with something from a pharmacy than from the street. They avoid marijuana, believing that their legal drugs are safer. The reality is that marijuana is a valuable tool in fighting addiction. People with legal access to medical cannabis are abandoning their pharmaceuticals in favour of cannabis-based products. Not only is cannabis not a gateway drug, it actually reduces the use of more harmful substances.
The thing is, opioids don’t make you feel better or help you heal, they just make you feel numb. Cannabis not only improves the way you feel, it actually has the power to heal. It helps to knit bones and tissue back together, and has the ability to cure a litany of diseases. Medical professionals from Harvard tout its ability to relieve symptoms of chronic illness, and both the American and Canadian cancer societies have acknowledged early studies suggesting that cannabis can even cure cancer. It’s this ability to heal the body that enables some patients to give up their pain meds completely. In regions like Colorado where marijuana has now been legal for several years, reports of unexpected social benefits abound. As people switch from opioids to cannabis, both medically and recreationally, drug overdoses drop, as do numerous other social problems like car accidents and violent crime.