Is Weed a Gateway Drug?

Is Weed a Gateway Drug?

Ayanna Jones-Reid, Staff Writer

Marijuana has been illegal in most states for a very long time until recently, because it was considered a dangerous drug. Many believe that weed is a gateway drug. But I strongly disagree.  

It is a plant. There are a lot of benefits to using marijuana. Some use it for medical purposes whether for a pain reliever or antidepressant.

More than one million Americans are legally using medical marijuana in states where it has been approved. Anxiety disorders, arthritis, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis are just some of the health problems that marijuana helps maintain. When my grandmother had cancer, she found marijuana to be very helpful in her chemotherapy process. The other medicine that doctors may prescribe might have harmful side effects. 

For many, marijuana simply provides a way to relax. Many people use marijuana not for medical reasons but because they enjoy the euphoric feeling the drug provides. Many Americans enjoy alcoholic drinks for the same reasons. They use them to relax and also enjoy alcohol’s mind-altering properties.

Alcohol is legal in all states, while weed is only legal in some. Still, according to the CDC, “excessive alcohol use leads to approximately eighty-eight thousand deaths each year in the United States.” Unlike marijuana, alcohol comes with many short and long term effects, such as alcohol poisoning, liver diseases, and addiction. People can die from consuming too much alcohol, but they can’t overdose on weed. Marijuana is much safer than alcohol and other drugs. 

Opponents of legalized marijuana frequently cite the gateway theory – the idea that marijuana use leads a person to use harder, more dangerous drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. But numerous studies have shown that the majority of marijuana users do not move on to hard drugs. I know a lot of people who smoke weed regularly and do not turn to other drugs. 

Junior Lindsay Coleman said she doesn’t necessarily think weed is a gateway drug, but “if you have no self-control, and want to feel an intense high you will eventually move to harder drugs.”

Senior Jose River said he thinks that marijuana being a gateway drug is dependent on the kind of person who smoking it is. He said that he knows many people “who smoke marijuana to get high, but don’t do any other drugs.”

Sophomore Dylan Rodriguez said he believed that “weed is a gateway drug and I think it should remain illegal in this state. Weed is the devil’s lettuce.”