Mass Incarceration

Weed is not a gateway drug, says new study

In a research printed earlier this month, researchers assist dispel the concept of hashish as a gateway drug—a substance that results in using different tougher medicine. It reveals that when a state legalizes weed, it doesn’t result in adults utilizing different substances, nor a rise in substance abuse, both with hashish or different substances. The truth is, the research discovered that legalization might result in a lower in alcohol-related issues.

The idea of hashish as a gateway drug took place within the Nineteen Seventies, wrapped up within the messaging of the War on Drugs, a marketing campaign that ostensibly tries to curb drug utilization within the US, however finally targets individuals of coloration for mass incarceration (and nonetheless does right now). 

The idea means that hashish and alcohol are “smooth” medicine which can be simple to get—particularly for teenagers—and that doing them will result in onerous medicine, resembling cocaine, heroin, and others, in addition to habit.

Prohibitionists have lengthy touted hashish as a gateway drug so as to block legalization efforts throughout the nation. This research helps to debunk the false narrative on weed, and provides weight to the pro-legalization motion.

“We actually didn’t discover any assist for lots of the harms individuals fear about with legalization,” stated lead writer Stephanie Zellers in a press release. “From a public well being perspective, these outcomes are reassuring.”


The history of cannabis prohibition in the United States

What does the research say?

Pulling knowledge from two decades-long research at The College of Colorado and The College of Minnesota, the research checked out over 4,000 twins—40% in a state with authorized leisure weed (Colorado) and 60% in a state with out authorized hashish (Minnesota). The usage of twins within the research “controls for a variety of variables, together with age, social background, early residence life, and even genetic inheritance,” stated writer John Hewitt.

Topics have been studied at two totally different factors: earlier than 2014, when Colorado first opened dispensaries, and after. It measured for alcohol, tobacco, hashish, and illicit substance utilization, in addition to psychological well being.

“For low-level hashish use, which was nearly all of customers, in adults, legalization doesn’t seem to extend the chance of substance use problems,” stated co-author Dr. Christian Hopfer. This was the case for each hashish and different substances.

The research additionally discovered no connection between legalization and cognitive, psychological, social, relationship or monetary issues in people.

It went on to say that prevention and intervention of hashish abuse can be finest focused on threat elements, resembling household historical past, psychological well being problems, and many others., fairly than the provision of hashish.

It’s necessary to notice that the research was restricted in some capacities in that it solely focuses on people in Minnesota and Colorado, and that 92% of individuals have been white. Moreover, topics have been “characterised by low ranges of substance use and psychosocial dysfunction,” in keeping with the research.


Is marijuana a ‘Gateway Drug’?

Why this research is necessary

Though the concept of hashish as a gateway drug is turning into extra of a relic, persevering with to dispel the concept can result in extra states legalizing hashish for leisure use, and ultimately, the federal authorities. 

With legalization comes regulation and product testing, an important step to make sure that customers know what’s of their hashish merchandise, one thing that doesn’t occur with illicit market merchandise. Legalization may even result in extra analysis on the plant to extra absolutely perceive its advantages and results.  

The research authors be aware that though legalization doesn’t result in substance abuse problems, both with hashish or one other substance, extra analysis is required on the plant, particularly, on THC efficiency, dosage, and consumption patterns. 

Pat Goggins's Bio Image

Pat Goggins

Pat Goggins is a senior editor who handles Leafly’s informational content material and focuses on hashish cultivation after working for a business grower in Oregon. When not fixing typos, you’ll most likely discover him on a ship or within the mountains.

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