The Gateway Theory: Does Marijuana Lead to Harder Drugs?
The debate on whether marijuana is a gateway drug has been ongoing for years. The “gateway theory” suggests that the use of marijuana increases the risk of individuals moving on to use of more serious illegal drugs. This hypothesis is derived from the fact that most users of other illegal drugs report marijuana as their first “drug” after using alcohol and tobacco (University of Washington, 2018). Further, the use of marijuana is correlated with the use of other illegal drugs (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019).It is important to note, however, that correlation is not necessarily causation. While the research does suggest that marijuana use precedes the use of other drugs, this does not necessarily indicate that marijuana causes individuals to move on to harder drugs. Thus, further research is needed to determine if marijuana truly is a gateway drug, or if it is simply associated with the use of other drugs due to common factors such as age, family life, and social environment (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). Cont…
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