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Marijuana Use Does Not Lead to Harder Drugs (From Illegal Drugs, P 39-42, 1998, Charles P. Cozic, ed. - See NCJ-169238)

NCJ Number
L Zimmer; J P Morgan
Date Published
4 pages
This chapter asserts that marijuana use does not lead to harder drugs and presents supporting data.
Marijuana does not cause people to use hard drugs. What proponents of the gateway theory (also known as the "stepping-stone hypothesis") present as a causal explanation is a statistical association between common and uncommon drugs, an association that changes over time as different drugs increase and decrease in prevalence. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States today. Therefore, people who have used less popular drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and LSD, are likely to have also used marijuana. Most marijuana users never use any other illegal drug. Only 1 percent of persons who have tried marijuana are regular cocaine users. Even when marijuana users try cocaine, they do not necessarily become regular users. Marijuana does not prime the brain for new psychopharmacological experiences. In the end, the gateway theory is not a theory at all. It is simply a description of the typical sequence in which multiple-drug users initiate the use of high-prevalence and low-prevalence drugs. For the large majority of people, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug. Figures