A joint study of international researches from UBC and CARB examined reasons behind the use of medicinal cannabis. This data suggests that cannabis is the complete opposite to what some politicians and researchers call a “gateway drug”.

There is still the widely spread myth out there that cannabis is a “gateway drug”, leading to the consumption of other substances that are more harmful to the human body, and therefore to society. Some people are of the opinion that criminalizing cannabis is only logical because it prevents people from damaging themselves with harder drugs. Let’s bring some light into the darkness.


An international team of researchers from the University of British Columbia, together with the University of Vicoria’s Centre of Addictions Research of BC (CARB), examined reasons behind the use of medicinal marihuana among 404 medicinal cannabis users. The results were published in the journal Addiction Research and Theory.

Just to give you a quick overview on the data: More than 75% (n=304) of the 404 medical cannabis users regarded in this study, said that they’re using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, prescription medicine or illicit drugs.

About 67,8% of medicinal cannabis users reported that they’re using cannabis as an substitute for prescription drugs. 41% use weed as a substitute for beer and booze, and 36,1% as a substitute for illicit drugs (participants could give more than one option). You can follow the link below for a deeper analysis of the data and findings. There is much more to discover.

cannabis is not a gate away drug


There a few things that kind of make sense to mention in this context. First of all, these scientific results underline what many of us already experienced in reality, by simply talking to different types of medicinal and recreational cannabis users. It’s not a big surprise that people use cannabis as an alternative to alcohol, prescription medicine, and maybe harder drugs in some cases.

Secondly, the argument that cannabis is “gateway drug” gets weaker and weaker. Non-supporters of the cannabis legalization obviously need to come up with different arguments that are more convincing if they want to have a serious debate.

If one tries to follow the argument that cannabis is a gateway drug, and thinks about “the gates” that potentially could lead to the use of substances like heroin for example, then it’s because cannabis is illegal in the first place. Dealers sell all kinds of things to make a profit. This is how the “gates” are being opened to harder drugs, by the prohibitionist legislative itself.

The regular guy, friendly citizen, tax payer and maybe family father, will most likely get the chance to purchase illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine or amphetamines, just because he tries to get a hold on some weed, he prefers over drinking large amounts of alcohol. Cannabis is much more of an “exit-drug”, or maybe just a “harm-reducing drug”, than anything else. To summarize this whole “gateway drug” affair: Epic fail!

When regarding the issue of medicinal cannabis from a moral perspective, as well as seeing it from a perspective of health economics, there might be fewer doubts about the role of cannabis in our society after taking this data into consideration.

It would help people who have a problem controlling their use of legal or illegal substances if they’re not being stigmatized or criminalized for substituting these drugs with a natural plant that is known to be far less harmful to the lives of these people. When having the best intentions to successfully manage the health status of a society, legalizing cannabis doesn’t seem to be that irrational after all.


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