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How many times have you heard that marijuana is a ‘gateway drug’ that leads to more harmful drugs? It’s constantly used to fuel the negative stigma that’s  associated with marijuana. Previously, there was no science behind this claim. In fact, all the science associated with marijuana continues to detail its tremendous therapeutic potential for a wide range of human ailments. It’s important to note that therapeutic potentials are reached when it’s taken transdermally, not by smoking it. By smoking it, you change the chemical composition of the plant.

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A study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of School Health has found that the theory of a “gateway drug” is not associated with marijuana, but rather rather one of the most damaging and socially accepted drug in the world, alcohol. (1)

The purpose of the study was to investigate and determine which drug (alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana) was the actual “gateway” drug that leads to additional substance abuse, and it used a nationally representative sample of high school seniors.

Again, results indicated that alcohol represented the “gateway” drug, which in turn lead to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other substances. Furthermore, students who used alcohol “exhibited a significantly greater likelihood of using both licit and illicit drugs.”

The study concluded:

The findings from this investigation support that alcohol should receive primary attention in school-based substance abuse prevention programming, as the use of other substances could be impacted by delaying or preventing alcohol use. Therefore, it seems prudent for school and public health officials to focus prevention efforts, policies, and monies, on addressing adolescent alcohol use.

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This study is great to help lift the stigmatism that’s often associated with marijuana. It makes absolutely no sense that alcohol and smoking cigarettes is legal, with extremely devastating health effects, while marijuana remains illegal with no demonstrated lethal health effects. In fact, scientists have discovered that cannabis may reduce brain damage caused by alcohol. You can read more about that here.

It’s time for us to view marijuana for exactly what it is, a therapeutic healing herb that should be used for therapeutic medicinal purposes. Within the past few years, there has been a tremendous surge of awareness with regards to the healing power of cannabis, especially in relation to cancer. You can read more about that here.

It’s also important to note that, while drugs like alcohol could and do indeed lead to other harmful substance abuse, the main issue with drug problems  is the inner state of the user. Some human beings use drugs to escape reality and run away from problems they do not want to face. Many are lacking from within, so they seek from without.  Many people here do not feel well, as a result we seek external substances to make us feel better. While these substances may provide a temporary escape, nothing will ever go away until it is cleared from within. We must learn to let go of what hurts us. We need to face our issues, go through the emotions that make us turn towards substance abuse without reaching out for a quick fix. By using substances to cover up our issues, we are only hurting ourselves more.

Sources:

(1) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1746-1561.2012.00712.x/abstract

 http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/05/study-the-gateway-drug-is-alcohol-not-marijuana/


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