A popular debate surrounding marijuana has been whether or not it is a “gateway” drug. A “gateway” drug is a substance can make it more likely that a person will use more drugs afterward, especially those considered to be heavier drugs. Many people have argued that marijuana is one of these gateway drugs and therefore should not become legal in the United States, while proponents of the drug say that such a claim is not true.
Now there is additional information that has been made available indicating that marijuana use does indeed increase the chances for people to wind up using other drugs as well. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute decided to look into this debate to determine if there is any validity to the claims that marijuana is a gateway drug, and their results were published in JAMA Psychiatry.
After studying information gathered from approximately 34,000 adults of a prior survey, they were able to conclude that there appears to be a connection between marijuana use, tobacco, alcohol and other illicit drugs. The study included people from many different age ranges and backgrounds, so it wasn’t just confined to a particular set of people, such as college students, though the effect it has on that population was of interest to some.
“The sample of this study is adults age 18 or above and not necessarily all college students. However, because college students are in an important developmental stage in terms of both physical and intellectual growth, risky use of marijuana and its potential consequence of drug use disorders can have particularly adverse effect on college students,” explained Ziming Xuan, a professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health.
In addition to this information, the study also pointed out that the use of the drug can result in heavier abuse and dependency. Although this fact has been debated, there definitely are people who become addicted to marijuana and need treatment in order to regain control over their lives.