Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?
You haven't accidentally come across an old headline, we're really trying to get to the bottom of your question! To get right down to it without wasting much of your time: yes, ganja can be a gateway drug.
You can be a stoner or "straightedge" and come up with the same answer, based on a little research. It is, after all, a question! Questions are always broken down and answered, and this is one that's been under the spotlight for decades.
Are you still wondering why I chose to use the picture of the remote in this? Upon diving deeper into the meaning of what gateway drugs are, I searched images as well and this actually came up... and it's perfect. A remote control isn't a drug in itself, but it gives us access to a powerful drug: television! WHAT?! Yes... Before you write me off, give me a chance to explain my reasoning for this to you.
The Definition of Drugs
Before I could begin answering your question, I had to break it down. Though I briefly understood each word, I decided to focus on the literal definitions of "drugs" and "gateway drugs." It's a lot easier to get a firm grasp on a concept if you make it as simple as possible. This also helps you come to a conclusion of your own based on facts instead of opinions.
So, with that in mind, back to our definitions.
- A drug is something (such as medicine) that you may take or expose yourself to for a change to your mental and/or physical state. It can also be given to you in order to stupefy you. What is stupefy (and yes, that's the correct spelling, I had to check!)? In this case, to stupefy means to make you unable to feel or react in your normal manner. If you have horrendous pain, you're likely to be given a drug that dulls it (or at least causes your brain to experience a lack of feeling so you don't focus on the pain) so you can still work.
- A gateway drug is thought to be an aid in access to or interest in other drugs. In other words, if you like one thing that is considered a drug and use another "drug" after that exposure, you've supposedly fallen victim to a gateway drug somewhere along your path.
Having those definitions out of the way, I urge you to look up a few variations of your own to see what you walk away with. When I look at those two definitions, I, along with many others, think of alcohol and cigarettes (nicotine).
Don't throw tomatoes at the screen yet. Drugs don't all have to be bad. Just because you're stupefied doesn't mean you aren't feeling good. Maybe you usually feel bad, so the feel-good reaction to certain drugs is out of your norm.
Anyway, the answer to the question "is marijuana a gateway drug" is yes... based on the definition of gateway drug. Which brings me back to television.
When we binge watch television, we are stupefying ourselves. We're being entertained in our extreme comfort zone. During those TV binges, have you caught yourself throwing away an empty pizza box (that no one helped you with)? Wouldn't binge-watching television, then, be considered a gateway drug?
Gateway drugs are substances that lead us to "enjoying" other drugs. For example, coffee could've been considered my gateway drug to cigarettes. I enjoyed coffee every now and then, which became more frequent. Before I knew it, I was drinking coffee each morning before school during the winter months. I somehow got it in my head that cigarettes would be the perfect partner for the new love (cold & coffee). Once I got comfortable with that, I started using both more and more often. Soon, I found myself needing to quit cigarettes and having to relearn to like coffee without them!
Comfort zones and drugs are your worst nightmares. It may sound like a tempting offer at first, but the reward center of your brain becomes quite demanding over extended exposure.
Another reason ganja can be a gateway drug is due to the reward center in our brains... especially if it's affected at an early age. No matter how pro-pot you or I might be, there should be restrictions and cautions tied to its use for this factor alone. If you're young when you're exposed to weed (especially weed smoke), the reward center in your brain is likely to become delayed. That means you want more while you already have more, if you can make sense of that. While your brain is developing, if it feels you're not fulfilling its wishes properly, it slows itself down. It's trying to catch up, wondering why you won't give it what it wants every time it wants it. It'll be more likely to hold a grudge against you until it finds a new love. Let's hope that love is a little less stunting to your growth!
Marijuana and other gateway drugs are known to coat your brain and parts of your body with lots of "happiness and encouragement," for lack of better words. This is why so many creative people crave cannabis.
If you're already feeling good, you may be tempted to accept that drink offer you've turned down 9 times. This 10th time sure seems right, compared to all those others...
Get where I'm going? Alcohol's another gateway drug. Some say it leads to cigarettes, others say it leads to hard drugs, for others, sex. People favor different things but often like pairing things as well. That's how you end up in the realm of alcoholism and nicotine addiction at the same time.
I guess food could technically be a drug, too. So if you don't do anything other than smoke, but get the munchies when you smoke, you might be pairing drugs... which still means that marijuana is a gateway drug. Those are the simple facts, whether we like it or not! What are some of your opinions on that?
Use those newly formed opinions (whether they be positive or negative) and use them in a positive way. Use them to better your future and decision-making skills. You have the power to quit depending on your drug of choice! Keep moving forward! Cut some things out of your life, like smoking weed and cigarettes, and replace them with better things, like playing instruments or painting! Don't keep falling victim to all of those possible gateways. You've got this!