All of your beliefs about marijuana are about to go up in smoke.
Read this carefully, because it’s a bit confusing. A “joint” study between the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia found that marijuana isn’t a gateway drug because 87 per cent of the patients who use it medically have, at some point, done so to substitute for a harder drug (like prescription painkillers or opiates, for example). For this reason, researchers found that pot can be actually be a gateway drug to addiction recovery, as many of those using it do so in order to avoid more potentially harmful drugs.
In other words, if people are using pot so that they don’t have to use stronger drugs, there can’t be any truth to the notion that marijuana use will lead to the use of harder drugs.
What now, buzzkillers?
“While cannabis is not benign, most research suggests that it’s safer and less addictive than many substances, particularly prescription opiates,” lead author Philippe Lucas said in a media release. “So research suggesting that cannabis substitution could reduce harms and lessen the public health and safety impact of alcohol and other drugs has significant policy implications.”
The study is based on data collected from the Cannabis Access for Medical Purposes Survey, the largest Canadian survey of medical cannabis patients to date. Drug use was examined in 473 adults, and researchers found people younger than 40 were most likely to substitute things like alcohol, or prescription painkillers, with marijuana.
That said, other studies have found a link between marijuana and the use of harder drugs later in life. But most of the studies we’ve found have cautioned that the link between the two is loose, and researchers tend to stop short of actually declaring marijuana a gateway drug.
Which means all those threats made to us in high school may have been exaggerated just a tad.