The “gateway drug” argument against marijuana is slowly being buried. Though politicians like Chris Christie occasionally trot out that old chestnut of uninformed anti-marijuana propaganda, a lot of people out there know what a bogus claim it is, like say these researchers.
But what’s really going to kill the gateway rhetoric is the fact that several studies are finding medical cannabis to actually decrease the use of other drugs, particularly painkillers and alcohol. The most recent of these studies on cool people who get to smoke weed and drink booze for scientific purposes is from the University of Victoria and published in a recent issue of Drug and Alcohol Review.
The study found that, “substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs was reported by 87 percent of respondents, with 80.3 percent reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7 percent for alcohol and 32.6 percent for illicit substances.” The switcharoo of cannabis for pills and booze was discovered particularly in patients between 18 and 40.
Reducing the use of alcohol, painkillers and other addictive and potentially toxic drugs is, it turns out, a pretty darn good thing. “The finding that cannabis was substituted for alcohol and illicit substances suggests that the medical use of cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the context of use of these substances, and could have implications for substance use treatment approaches requiring abstinence from cannabis in the process of reducing the use of other substances,” said the study.
Another study earlier this year found that states with medical marijuana programs saw as much as a 25% decrease in lethal painkiller doses after implementing them. So, yeah, maybe weed is a gateway drug. A gateway drug to not doing drugs and drinking. That sounds like the best Gateway since the 1998 model. Am I right?