Is Marijuana A Gateway Drug?

The marijuana activists get very upset at any suggestion of marijuana being called a gateway drug.  Of course not everyone who starts using marijuana uses other drugs; some just go on to stronger versions of marijuana, such as “wax,” “dabs” or vapes.  Others may not use anything stronger than the old-fashioned weed of the last century.   

Yet the scientific evidence suggests it is a gateway drug which can open the doors to other addictions, including alcohol. Studies show that marijuana affects dopamine receptors and our brain’s reward system which may lead to the use of many other drugs. In one study done by the University of Michigan Medical School, researchers found a negative correlation between the amount of marijuana consumed over time and the amount of dopamine that was released in the brain in response. Smokers will then seek other drugs in order to achieve the high they used to experience with pot.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says cannabinoids are able to decrease the reactivity of brain dopamine reward circuits over time, leaving frequent marijuana users vulnerable to other drug addiction. Additionally, THC promotes an enhanced response to other drugs in the same way that alcohol and nicotine do, which may lead to the progression of more drug addictions that may cause toxic overdose.

Our new video explains why marijuana is the foundation to other substance abuse. We thank One Choice Prevention organization, www.OneChoicePrevention.org,
for the use of their studies and graphs.


Thought Provoking Facts

Marijuana + Xanax

In 2017, PopPot did a story about the troubling trend of young people adding Xanax to marijuana. They do it to get a specific high. This article contains some shocking tragedies from such polysubstance abuse, and ends with a video of a local politician talking about the addiction crisis and her son’s death caused by his drug use.

Read more: Teens, College Students, Young People add Xanax to Marijuana.

Marijuana is a factor in the U.S. Opioid/Opiate Crisis

The statistics on the above chart are based on a U.S. national survey on drug use and health.

A PopPot article explains why efforts to stop the opiod/opiate crises need to focus on marijuana prevention, Time for a Paradigm Shift Away from Heroin to Marijuana.

Former Inner City Pastor and Former Gang Member Speak Out

Ex-prisoner, former gang member Eddie Martinez explains why marijuana is a foundation drug. Pastor Darrell Glover tells of his struggles to influence kids in a positive direction, when politicians are legalizing the drug.

What does the Science Say?

The 25-year Christchurch Longitudinal Study demonstrated that in 86% of cases of those who had taken two or more illegal drugs, marijuana had been the drug the study subjects had taken first. The correlation is in the mathematics and can’t be denied.

The researchers concluded that the use of marijuana in late adolescence and early adulthood had emerged as the strongest risk factor for later involvement in other illicit drug use. Read more at Mathematics Proves Correlation to Marijuana as Gateway Drug.

Australian researchers found that twins who use cannabis by age 17 are 2.1 to 5.2 times more likely to develop addiction issues.  An Australian twins study determined this likelihood by comparing twins who used pot to the co-twins who hadn’t used marijuana. Read more Australian Twins Study Supports Gateway Effects of Marijuana.

Does exposure to marijuana make you more vulnerable to addiction in later years?

…a study using longitudinal data from the National Epidemiological Study of Alcohol Use and Related Disorders found that adults who reported marijuana use during the first wave of the survey were more likely than adults who did not use marijuana to develop an alcohol use disorder within 3 years; people who used marijuana and already had an alcohol use disorder at the outset were at greater risk of their alcohol use disorder worsening. Marijuana use is also linked to other substance use disorders including nicotine addiction.  Read more at DrugAbuse.gov, Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

When drug users go over to other types of drugs such as opiates, meth, benzos and heroin, do they stop their marijuana use? Generally not. Marijuana enables the use of other drugs by mitigating withdrawal symptoms of heroin, for example. As a companion drug to meth and Xanax, it can bring specific types of highs that one drug alone will not achieve. For some people who achieved sobriety after opioid addiction, using marijuana again was an entry back into addiction.

Finally, as the toxicology reports of several high profile celebrities who died from overdose show, marijuana is often in the system at time of death. We suggest that the term foundation drug is the best way to describe marijuana and its many functions: gateway drug, enabler drug, companion drug and relapse drug. Certainly the legalization of marijuana, with its normalization, is increasing all drug use in the United States today.

Watch What the Marijuana Lobby Does, Not What They Say

It is important to note that the marijuana lobby denies it is a gateway, yet at the same time their agenda is to legalize all drugs. Drug consumers, once cultivated, will be the best customers for other mind altering substances. We have already seen the industry push for psychedelic mushrooms to be legalized! Decriminalization of psycho-active mushrooms or psilocybin began when Denver, Colorado, became the first city to decriminalize in May 2019. Next to do so were the cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, in June 2019 and January 2020, respectively. Guess where you go to buy these magic mushrooms– marijuana dispensaries!

We know from their public statements of cannabis lobbying groups that their ultimate aim is to promote legalization and consumption of  LSD, Heroin, Meth, etc. Despite how aggressively they dispute the gateway role of marijuana, these drug marketers are anxious for more profit from being able to sell more products.

Watch what they do, not what they say.

Testimonies about Marijuana Leading to Other Substances

Corey’s Story: Marijuana First, Heroin Last

Ben’s Story of Marijuana Addiction Leading to Use of Psychedelic Mushrooms

Chris’s Story: Marijuana Led to Heroin in High School

Former Drug User Explains Why Marijuana Goes with Heroin Like Peaches Go with Cream

In this short video, Lady Gaga Describes How She “‘Lily Padded’ from One Drug to Another.”

Take Action

Share this Think Ya Know? with 5 people associated with your school. We have much work to do to reverse the marijuana lobby’s deceptive message that cannabis doesn’t lead to other drug use.

Jeffrey Veatch lost his son to heroin, and now speaks to schools about the role marijuana played in his talented son’s early death. Check out his story Father Spearheads Drug Awareness Campaign. Consider getting him invited to speak in your community school.

Dr. Robert DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and the first director of the NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse is author of the book Chemical Slavery–Understanding Addiction and Ending the Drug Epidemic. He believes we need to educate students that they have one important choice to make, and that choice is to never use any brain-toxic drugs.

Sign up for updates from the Smart Approaches to Marijuana website.

Now that you know more about marijuana, the foundation of mind altering drug use, take some time and help educate 5 people you think need to know.

Embrace One Choice for drug prevention.

For more information, please visit our website, poppot.org.