Debunking the Gateway Theory

Photo Credit: High Times Magazine

Photo Credit: High Times Magazine

A patient may be hesitant to begin medical marijuana therapy due to the negative stereotypes and theories that were attached to the plant during the beginning of the marijuana prohibition age. One such theory is that marijuana is a "gateway drug," and that using it will cause one to seek out other more dangerous illicit substances. Now, information is coming out countering this theory that suggests marijuana is instead a "reverse gateway" drug, helping those who are addicted to illegal substances treat their addictions. 

The study, which was conducted by the University of Victoria in Canada and published in Drug and Alcohol Review looked at data from a national survey of Canadian medical marijuana patients. Out of 473 adults, 87% reported substituting cannabis for alcohol, prescriptions, and illegal drugs. To look at these slices more specifically, 80% used marijuana instead of prescription medications, 52% substituted it for alcohol, and 33% used it as an illegal drug replacement. This study is not alone, and it adds support to many previous studies, including one from Berkeley Patients Group in 2009 which similarly found its patients used marijuana in place of other unhealthy and and addictive substances.

Read more about countering the Gateway Theory and learn about the other supporting studies on High Times Magazine. This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer.