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Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

The current verdict is no. Research shows that most of those who use marijuana do not proceed to abuse other drugs. 

Thus, it means that there are other determining factors. However, a few people still do, and major organizations like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest further research on the title. 

Remember, even if the verdict is no, marijuana is still a drug, and abuse can cause many effects like addiction. In fact, it is one of the most common addictions in the United States. Furthermore, marijuana use is growing at a rapid rate and is even a concern among teenagers. It is essential to get help as soon as possible at an accredited recovery facility. 

What Is a Gateway Drug?

A gateway drug is a drug that is likely to facilitate the use of another drug. The gateway drug theory backs the idea that people who use substances experience a linear sequence of steps for substance use. 

The steps begin with the use of legal and socially acceptable substances like nicotine or alcohol. Use of illegal but soft drugs like marijuana is the second step. The third and final step is the abuse of hard illicit drugs such as heroin.  

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The marijuana gateway drug theory gives two ways marijuana could facilitate the use of other drugs. It could be a gateway drug through:

  • Experimentation: The gateway drug theory suggests that your perceived pleasure and taste for drugs will increase after marijuana use. Hence, it could lead to experimenting with other drugs. 
  • Social Influence: Some of the people you use marijuana could be using other drugs as well. Thus, it exposes you to the other drugs, and you can easily use them. Despite the strong argument, studies suggest that association is not the only factor that leads to the use of hard illicit drugs. 

Limitations of the Marijuana Gateway Drug Theory

Accessibility of marijuana is the main shortcoming of the gateway drug theory. Marijuana is currently legal in more than ten states. Thus, individuals can experiment with various strains of marijuana that are accessible in stores. Moreover, they will not have exposure or access to hard illicit drugs because it has decreased interactions with people who deal in hard drugs. 

Other Factors That Lead to Substance Abuse and Their Remedies

Various other risk factors could facilitate substance abuse. 

Risk Factor Remedy
Drug availability Anti-drug policies or laws
Degree of parental supervision Parental monitoring
Early aggressive behavior Learn and practice self-control
Community environment or neighborhood Strong community attachment
Peer influence Better social circles, positive goals

What Are The Potential Risks of Using Marijuana?

Even though marijuana is not a gateway drug, it is still a drug. Thus, marijuana poses a potential short term and long term risk on your mental and physical health. 

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1. Short Term Effects 

You will experience the following adverse effects during marijuana intoxication:

  • Slow reaction time.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Difficulty in memory consolidation.
  • Paranoia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Coordination impairment (more difficult to perform tasks like driving).
  • Increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
  • Probability of psychotic symptoms.
  • Sexual dysfunction especially for men.

2. Long Term Effects

You risk long term effects with continued use of marijuana. For starters, marijuana is addictive, and you can quickly develop a substance use disorder. Other effects include:

  • Lower IQ for those who use early in life.
  • Poor performance at work or in school.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Impairs your ability to do complex tasks.
  • Antisocial behavior like lying.
  • Financial difficulties.

3. Withdrawal Symptoms

You should anticipate withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly after the use of marijuana for a long time. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability, anger, or aggressiveness.
  • Restlessness.
  • Feelings of depression.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Insomnia or nightmares.

You should get professional help to successfully detox and recover from marijuana or any other substance use disorder. 

Get Help for Substance Use Disorder at NOVO Detox

NOVO Detox is a medical detox and residential rehab facility based in Los Angeles, California. We provide proven detox medicines, cutting edge technologies, holistic therapies, efficiency and professional experience for our patients. Thus, your recovery journey with us is medically safe, nourishing, and comfortable, 

Our treatment method is highly individualized. The treatment we offer relies on an initial toxicology test, pharmacogenetic tests, physical & history exam, and social & psychological assessments on our patients during admission. 

Furthermore, we have Bio-genetic testing to help you withdraw successfully and achieve long-term recovery. We use it to formulate the most effective and safest dosages and drugs according to your DNA. Our detox and rehab services offer addiction treatment for various substances, for example, heroin, marijuana, alcohol, and more. We also address co-occurring disorders like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and more. 

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You should get help immediately to ensure that your recovery is successful. Contact us now to engage our services for yourself or a loved one. 

Final Thoughts…

No, marijuana is not a gateway drug. A gateway drug is a drug that facilitates the use of other harder drugs through experimentation or social influence. Most people who use marijuana do not eventually use other drugs. However, some do. Thus, it shows that other factors influence substance use.

Some factors depend on the substance, but the general factors include drug availability, degree of parental supervision, peer influence, neighborhood, and early aggressive behavior. The gateway drug theory argues that marijuana can lead to the use of other substances through experimentation or social influence. 

Marijuana may not be a gateway drug, but it still has some negative withdrawal symptoms, short term and long term effects. Examples of withdrawal symptoms include anger, depression, restlessness, and more. Short term effects include slow reaction time, poor coordination, panic attacks, and more. The long term effects of marijuana include poor performance at work or school, financial problems, relationship problems, antisocial behavior, and more. 

You must get help for marijuana addiction or dependence on any other substance. NOVO detox is an organization that will offer detox and rehab services to help you achieve long term recovery. Contact us now for personalized treatment for you or your loved one.