Is pot a " GATEWAY " drug?

[deleted account] ( 41 moms have responded )

I copied this from my other debating community and would LOVE to hear everyone's opinion(s) on it?!!



USA Today recently published a report on the long term affects of marijuana use. Because of its ease to get and a general belief that it is the mildest of all drugs, many teens and adults admit to smoking pot at least once. But new data shows that smoking pot affects neuropsychological functioning, such as hand-eye coordination, reaction time and memory. Heavy marijuana users also have lower IQ scores and are typically less satisfied with their quality of life.



Then there is the ongoing debate about whether or not pot is a "gateway drug".



"...Studies have shown that when regular pot smokers quit, they do experience withdrawal symptoms, a characteristic used to predict addictiveness. Most users of more addictive drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, started with marijuana, scientists say, and the earlier they started, the greater their risk of becoming addicted. Many studies have documented a link between smoking marijuana and the later use of "harder" drugs such as heroin and cocaine, but that doesn't necessarily mean marijuana causes addiction to harder drugs."

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Sara - posted on 03/22/2010

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I know...stoner joke!

If I'm being honest, pot was not a gateway drug for me. I think there's really no such thing as a gateway drug. There's drugs people try for the first time, but that's not limited to pot and just because you smoke pot doesn't mean you're going to turn into a crack head or even go on to try other drugs. It's like calling a dildo a gateway penis..your'e either going to do it or you're not, it's not an all or nothing kind of thing. I think pot should totally be legal.

Amie - posted on 03/21/2010

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The gateway effect has never been fully proven IMO. All the studies (that I've read) are working backwards... going from the hardcore drug addicts (cocaine, meth, heroine, etc.) and working back to where they started. Even the one cited here is working backwards.

Where's the studies tracking actual pot users during their lifetimes? The numbers showing how many of those people started off as a teen or young adult smoking and then turned to harder drugs? I want to see those stats. /:)

I agree with the other posters that is should be legalized. I have never once heard of a real pot smoker having any of the serious side effects that hard drugs have. I have heard of laced pot where it happens but that's laced pot. That's not pot. That's a stupid move. It's either 1) the idiot laced it him/herself or 2) a shady dealer who is trying to get his clientele hooked on something harder and more expensive. It happens... know your dealer.

I'm not a pot pusher, I am a recreational smoker. I know where to go, who I can trust and when to use it. I am responsible with it and treat it with the same respect I do alcohol.

?? - posted on 03/22/2010

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Most of the people I know who use, or have used, harder drugs, started with alcohol. And it was some party where the harder drugs were there, that they used the harder drugs. Some of them smoked pot regularly, some of them didn't, some of the smoked pot a handful of times since teenage years, some didn't but most of the people I know who used anything harder than weed is cause they were at a party, they were drunk or buzzed and someone said "wanna try something special?"

So nope, I don't think pot is a gateway drug - I think PARTYING is the gateway to stupidity of all sorts.

Of course there are some pot heads that went onto harder drugs. But it wasn't because of pot that they used, it was cause they decided to hang around with people who used harder drugs, or hang around with people who hung around with people who used harder drugs. Availability and opportunity.

And obviously, personality is the key factor in any situation.

Sharon - posted on 03/22/2010

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Everyone I know who has gone on to harder drugs - tried pot first. Liked it. Moved on harder items.



Not everyone who smokes pot moves on harder drugs. In my experience.... everyone who does harder drugs started with pot.

JL - posted on 03/22/2010

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In the words of Peter Tosh......Legalize it Don't criticize it Legalize it, yeah, yeah And I will Advertise it........

This conversation has been closed to further comments

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Lindsay - posted on 12/28/2010

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I'm locking this thread because it's been inactive for more than 3 months. Please see the "Old Threads" thread pinned to the top of the page. I know that this is a hot topic so feel free to start a new thread about it and to get fresh and new responses.

Lindsay DM Mod

Amanda - posted on 12/28/2010

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no i don't buy the concept that pot is a gateway drug.... it's easy to end up with statistics that match what you were originally trying to prove. if you think about it, pot is the most widely used illegal drug therefore it is extremely common that someone who uses heroine, meth, coke, etc... has also used pot, but i would like to see a study (i have yet to find one) with numbers of people who use(d) pot and never went to anything harder. i don't think using pot causes someone to try something harder, which is the concept behind the "gateway" drug theory right?!

Mrs. - posted on 12/28/2010

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For me, giving up caffeine was a harder withdrawal than going without pot for a long period of time. I used to smoke all the time, mostly because my ex was a chronic and it was just there, I never moved on to any other drugs. Knowing a ton of potheads, I can think of maybe on or two who do anything other than pot. The ladies and men I know who did a lot of coke in the 90's were all heavy drinkers...a lot of them saying pot is lame, I want to get high not low.

I've also never seen proof that its a gateway drug, like it has been stated before, the studies are all done backwards, with hard drug users history. I'd actually love to see a viable study done on recreational pot use and the people I know who are able to just smoke it at a party and leave it for an occasional treat.

Petra - posted on 12/28/2010

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I honestly think pot has a bad rep. Everyone is supplying anecdotal evidence as to why they think it is or isn't a gateway drug. I could supply a buttload of stories for either side of the argument, but the fact remains that what is a gateway drug for one person, will not be for another.

Personality, education, mental health, environment and lifestyle all intermingle to determine what will or will not be a "gateway" drug for any one person. The whole notion of a gateway drug is retarded - if it can't be proven as such (and it can't), don't try to push the validity of the argument.

What I do think is that education at a young age about drugs is what will have a lasting impact on your child as they cruise into adolescence and are presented with access to drugs on a regular basis. I could buy weed at lunch hour, on school grounds. I could also buy acid, mushrooms or coke. I didn't, and I am a hard core coffee drinker and smoker, so arguments about my "addictive" personality would have some merit. But, I have tried alcohol and marijuana, amongst other things, and have not fallen into an addictive downward spiral. My education and my values have more to do with this than mere exposure to and experimentation with these drugs.

I really think labeling something as a "gateway" drug is just another attempt to point the finger when shit doesn't go according to plan. If an adult supplies a 10-11-12 year old with weed/alcohol and encourages them to drink/smoke it, the kid is not at fault. When an adult or a young adult begins experimenting with drugs, they are doing so of their own volition. A lot of people don't have a realistic view of the kinds of consequences that come with drug use, and therein lies the problem. Some people are hooked after one dose; others, not so much. Educate kids about the dangers at a young age, and maybe they'll at least give it a second thought when someone offers them a line at a party.

Tara - posted on 12/28/2010

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Nope.
I think it has more to do with environment, peers and education whether or not someone goes from smoking pot to doing crack or cocaine etc.
I think booze is more of a problem than pot.
I support full legalization of pot use. And I support the legal growing and distribution of pot.
It's not the evil entity it's made out to be.
I saw a shirt once it read like this:
Man created alcohol, God created Pot, who do you trust??
I'm not religious and don't believe in god, but I believe in the sentiment.
I honestly believe the US and Canada could eliminate our national debts if we legalized and taxed pot. The US is spending soooo..... much money each and every day (into the billions of dollars) trying to catch and prosecute pot growers. Their prisons are full of people who were arrested for possession of a few grams or an ounce or pot, in Canada regular citizens like lawyers and nurses and teachers etc. end up with a criminal record for having a few joints in their possession. Look at Portugal and what they did with their drug scene and how it has changed their drug rates and crime rates etc.
:)

Meghan - posted on 12/28/2010

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we talked about this in my criminology and psych class. In Canada apparently only about 10% of the country reports having used pot in the past year. Use of hard drugs (examples- crack, heroin, cocaine, pills) are reported at around 5%. Use of alcohol is reported at around 76%....
Those stats are based on 15 years plus and of course there could be a certain amount of over representation, but actually looking at those numbers, I would say that alcohol is a bigger issue than pot.
There are so many studies right now about this very issue. At this time, "professionals" in crime/drug areas are stating that race, education and social standings are the result of illicit drug use. There are also theories that hard drug use is caused by pot being illegal and thus having to deal with a "black market" and forms of peer pressure.

ArealTeenager - posted on 12/28/2010

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pot is not a gateway drug, but it being illegal makes it easier for someone to buy and use harder drugs. a typical scenario: "hey man heres your weed, i got some mushrooms if you wanna try those too"
a dealers who deals with more then pot is the gateway.

Joanna - posted on 04/12/2010

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I was a pot smoker for almost 4 years. And while I did try other drugs, the pot wasn't the gateway. Sure, after experiencing pot, I was curious as to what other drugs were like. But chances are I would have tried some form of drug, regardless of if it were pot or meth (I grew up in a state where meth was EVERYWHERE) or cocaine, some time or other. But I Started with pot, tried a couple other drugs (cocaine three times, mushrooms twice, meth once), didn't like the other drugs so much so it wasn't a big deal.

Ez - posted on 03/23/2010

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To be honest, I hate pot. I have seen too many people lose motivation, jobs, friends, perspective and some even their mental stability. A doctor I used to work with is reknowned for saying that marjiuana causes more mental health problems than any other drug, including heroin.

In saying that, I don't necessarily believe it's a gateway drug. I did my share of party drugs, and I was never a pot-smoker. The chronic smokers I know though have all gone on to harder drugs (ecstasy, speed, acid etc), but they are also musicians so would have been exposed to it anyway. I guess it's a combination of factors really - personality, lifestyle and availability - that lead to people progressing from pot. But, in my experience, it is rare for pot to be the start and finish of a person's involvement with drugs.

?? - posted on 03/23/2010

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I hate coffee, have drank maybe a total of 3 cups in my entire 26.5 years but I started drinking alcohol on a daily basis when I was 16.





Editted to add: I got help for the issues I had that were making me turn to the bottle when I was 20 - went 4 years without a drink and then started drinking again nearly everyday until around the time that I found out I was pregnant. I've had maybe a handful of drinks in the past 2+ years.

Lisamarie - posted on 03/22/2010

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Cathy, LOL, that is very true!! Of course my brother does this, what I mean is that he never smoked cigarettes before he smoked put and if he hasn't got pot he won't smoke cigarette, he only smokes it with the pot.

Lisamarie - posted on 03/22/2010

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I don't think it is a gateway drug at all. It just depends on your personality. Pot is also the cheapest illegal drug you can buy here too. I used to smoke recreationally, I was never a drinker, I could probably count on two hands the amount of times I've been drunk in my life so far. I smoke cigarettes (quit when pregnant=long story) and people would say that is a gateway drug but my younger brother smokes pot regularly, he has never touched a cigarette in his life! He is doing an apprentiship (sp) in plumbing and doing really well. Now I am in NO WAY saying that everyone who smokes pot is like this but that's what he's like.
My hubby would try everything once, not just drugs, food, extreme sports, everything, but he would NEVER try herion, crack or any of them highly addictive drugs, he does not have an addictive personality though. I do, like I said, I smoked pot regularly for a while when I was young and I would never ever try ANY other drug. I know the effects of cannibis and I knew where to get it and went to the same person everytime, I don't know the effects of other drugs and would never risk trying any of them. Not because I know I have an addictive personality but because I have always been a generally chilled out person, VERY easy-going and weed just enhanced that, whereas most other drugs are uppers and have been told it's worse than being drunk and I hate being drunk so it doesn't appeal to me, too many risks, I like to know what I'm doing and be in control.

Lea - posted on 03/22/2010

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I think we all agree that there are effects to pot (otherwise why would you smoke it obviously) just like all drugs are taken for the effects they give. The difference between that and "taking drugs" is how they are used - "recreationally" (to have fun). I don't agree that pot should be legalized because I do not think that any drug should be taken recreationally. People need to find other ways to have fun or chill out and taking drugs of any kind shouldn't be part of it (unless you have a real problem and you have a doctor's approval).

Sarah - posted on 03/22/2010

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I think it's more to do with people's personalities.
For me personally, i smoked pot before i got hooked on cigarettes!
I was hanging around with a group who smoked pot regularly but we never touched anything stronger.
Then i made some new friends a few years later, (i'd stopped doing even pot at that point) and we all kinda got into harder stuff bit by bit.
I've done most drugs in my time, the only ones i've been offered and refused are crack and heroin. I must have had some good sense somewhere, i know i have a VERY addictive personality, if i'd touched either of those, that would have been it for me.

So although i guess pot CAN be a kind of gateway drug, it's more to do with the friends you have and the type of personality you have. I've always been a "try everything once" kind of person.......but then my addictive side would make it more than once! LOL!

That's how it was for me anyway. If i hadn't made friends with the people i did, i would have never progressed from pot i don't think.

Charlie - posted on 03/21/2010

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No i dont believe it is ,I was a recreational pot smoker before i had coop , i know lots of people who smoke occasionally , some regularly , majority dont drink or do other drugs , a small handful do other drugs but i fully believe it is more about their personality and mind set and not pot itself .

If we are going to blame drugs for harder drug abuse it would be fairer to say cigarettes are more a gateway drug than pot considering nearly everyone i know who smokes pot , smoked cigarettes first .

Hey even my dad used to joke around saying " dont eat that chocolate bar , sugar is a gateway drug " LOL.

Lindsay - posted on 03/21/2010

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I do not think that pot is a gateway drug. Hell, I don't really think it's much of a "drug" anyhow. It's a plant that happens to contain THC and gives a buzz when it's been smoked. It mellows people out and reduces pain. Oh and the side effect, makes people hungry.

I think it's about as much of a gateway drug as alcohol. Some people can handle it in moderation, some can't. Not everyone that drinks becomes an alcoholic and not everyone that smokes the occasional bowl, blunt, or joint turns to harder drugs. Not everyone that stops in to McDonalds is obese but some people over consume and it does lead to that.



Personally, I think it should be legalized and taxed. Put some regulations on it like cigarettes and alcohol. And also use the plant to it's potential and make other products from it. Legalization is a win for everyone in my opinion!

Lea - posted on 03/21/2010

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Krista, you are saying pot isn't a drug, then? Anyway, I'm merely throwing out what might be going on is *some* people's minds, not all. As you can see, I considered other possibilities.

Krista - posted on 03/21/2010

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I think its about rationalization - once you cross the line and tell yourself that pot is ok, whats left in your value system to tell you that other stuff isnt?


That's a pretty faulty argument. Let's say I was a complete pacifist. Then, upon further reflection, I decide that a certain amount of violence, if in defense of oneself or one's family, is okay. So I've crossed that line, no? Using your argument, what's left in my value system to think that it's perfectly fine to go out and murder a busload of paraplegic nuns...and their kittens?

Isn't that what a value system IS? Deciding what is morally acceptable to you and what is not? I have no problem with pot, and wish it would be legalized, regulated and taxed. But last time I checked, my "value system" is still pretty much intact when it comes to thinking that most other drugs are very dangerous and can destroy peoples' lives.

Lea - posted on 03/21/2010

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I think its about rationalization - once you cross the line and tell yourself that pot is ok, whats left in your value system to tell you that other stuff isnt? Some people know better than not to push their luck, but a lot of people don't have a sense of danger about it. Its desensitization. Perhaps if you get caught with MJ and have that on your record, or have a positive drug test or something like that, its hard to recover (lose your job, can't find a job)?

Rosie - posted on 03/21/2010

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alcohol is definitely the gateway drug. i have never once heard of people starting off with mary jane,skipping the acohol then going to harder drugs. they always start off with alcohol. i've smoked pot,hated it and didn't want to try any other drug. i did however want to try something different than alcohol so pot was it. if i had never picked up a bottle of alcohol i would have never in a million years picked up a joint.

JL - posted on 03/21/2010

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IMO and from my experiences it has to do with the individual,their addictive personality, and the environment in which they are involving themselves in. I never turned to hard core drugs and I was a pothead in high school. It was not a gateway drug for me but I don't have an addictive personality where I have a hard time pulling back and saying no and I was not hanging out in an environment where hard core drugs was the norm. I was in a hippie environment where surfing,peace, free love, cartoons and Cheetos reigned. I think people with addictive personalities will over use pot and at some point find the high not enough and move on to harder drugs. I think people who start smoking pot and hanging out in environments where dealing,crime,and hard core drugs are common that they will fall prey to that environment. I look at the abuse and addiction to pot in the same light I look at the abuse and addiction to alcohol. And we are not all alcoholics or turn into alcoholics because we drink so it also goes to think that not all of us who have or do smoke pot will turn into obsessive abusive smokers or hard core drug attacks.

[deleted account]

I personally don't like pot! I don't have anything against anyone who smokes it but for me, I'd much rather have a hangover after a night out than feel the way I feel when I smoke a joint! Pot makes me feel soooo gross! And this cat gets the munchies for sure! LOL! * points to herself *

Krista - posted on 03/21/2010

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Carol has a good point. I know plenty of people who would rather smoke than drink at parties, because a) you avoid all those calories -- as long as you don't get the munchies, b) you don't get sick and c) you don't get hung over.

[deleted account]

Ok, fair enuff Carolee! I wasn't tryin to start anything.......sorry if it came across that way??! :)

[deleted account]

Carol: I think that's because alcohol isn't perceived in the same light as pot or other ' drugs ' because it's legal! If we called alcohol a ' drug ' or refered to it as a ' gateway ' to other drugs would that not be saying we should make it illegal as well??



Does that make sense? I'm not sure I'm expressing myself correctly?!

Carolee - posted on 03/21/2010

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Around where I live, it's the cheapest and most accessable illegal drug... that's what I was going by. I don't know about where everybody else lives, but I was just saying that that's what it's like around here.

Johnny - posted on 03/21/2010

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Living here in pot smokin' heaven, I would say that at least 50-60% of the people I know have at least occasionally smoked the ganja. And a very small number of them have ever turned to harder drugs. Those that did probably would have ended up doing a more serious drug even if they'd never smoked pot, because of their personal histories or personality types. I know many very successful family people that choose to smoke pot as their "party drug" rather than partake in any alcohol because they prefer the mellow feeling to the intensity of being drunk. I always find this idea that pot smoking leads down this path to hard drugs, crime and being a bum really odd. Doesn't alcohol do that too? And yet I never see articles about the latest California Chardonnay leading to a life of crime.

[deleted account]

I don't totally disagree with you Carolee because I also believe personality plays a huge role in whether or not someone becomes addicted but just for the record pot isn't the cheapest drug out there!

Patricia - posted on 03/21/2010

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I don't think pot is a 'gateway' drug just because it's easier to get or cheaper....I believe like Carolee stated, that it truly depends on your personality. My husband has had plenty of experience...and has pretty much tried it all....he did not start out smoking pot, he started out drinking. Both his parents were alcoholics...I know a lot of people who smoke pot....they do not do anything else other than pot. Again, I do believe it depends on ones personality as well as the fact that they have a voice to say NO. Like most everybody, I at one time smoked pot...but have not done so since high school.

Carolee - posted on 03/21/2010

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I know I have an "addictive personality", and I have smoked pot before (for about 8 months a few years ago). Since I know what type of personality I have, I simply didn't expose myself to any other type of drugs. If anybody ever asked, the answer was always "NO". There's a difference between being ignorant about what personality you have and just not caring anymore. I think a lot of those people who get addicted to the harsher drugs really and truly don't care anymore. And the fact that marijuana is the cheapest drug out there means that it's the drug that almost everybody is going to start out on, then some will choose to sell to get more money to buy "bigger and better" drugs. It's not a "gateway", it's "easily accessable".

[deleted account]

In my experience, and trust me, I've unfortunately had A LOT of experience with this, MOST people who've smoked pot eventually have gone on to harder drugs! Doesn't mean they've all ended up addicted or 'junkies' but everyone I know as at least tried some harder drugs so the answer to the question, " Is pot a ' gateway ' drug? " is absolutely, YES! It definitely CAN be! IN MY EXPERIENCE!

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