Marijuana is one of the most common illicit drugs that is used around the world for both medicinal and recreational purposes. There continues to be a lot of debate around marijuana and if it’s a gateway drug. Many people argue that marijuana may not have any immediate or long-term effects but can make it easy to move on to stronger drugs that offer greater effects. It’s important to understand how marijuana works and the effect it can have on the body at any age. Although recreational marijuana is legal in many parts of the U.S. and the world, it can still lead to harmful effects and cause addictions to other types of drugs to develop. There are a few reasons why many experts and medical professionals consider marijuana to be a gateway drug and why it should be avoided for both adolescents and adults.
Marijuana’s Effect on the Body
Soft drugs like marijuana can deliver a psychoactive experience for the user and can make it easier to have a desire to move on to harder drugs as their tolerance increases. Many people who use cocaine, heroin, and meth started using marijuana earlier on before moving on to using harder drugs that deliver more significant effects.
Although many people who use marijuana recreationally never try harder drugs, there are still a significant number of people who develop addictions to stronger illegal substances. This is because they used marijuana, assuming it was a lot safer to use, not realizing it can increase the risk of developing addictions to stronger substances. The false sense of security that marijuana offers can make it easier to take more risks and have an open mind to experimenting with other types of drugs that are more dangerous to use.
Taking a Look a the Research
Research shows that marijuana can increase the risk of using stronger substances among adolescents. Studies have found that using marijuana earlier on in life can start to dull the reward center of the brain, making the individual start to seek out other drugs in an attempt to experience a stronger high. Although it may not be a gateway drug for everyone, it can still be a gateway drug for younger adults. The life situation and the genetic makeup of each individual can influence their risk of developing addictions to other substances.
The Risks of Marijuana
Although it may always be debated that marijuana is a gateway drug, it can still have an effect on the body. Studies have found that it’s known to reduce the IQ of students in school and can make it easier to become less resistant at an early age. Marijuana can also have an effect on the mood and can make it easier to suffer from depression, irritability, and anxiety. Some people become a lot less persistent and have a lower initiative, making it more challenging to thrive and succeed academically or professionally. Using marijuana is also linked to a higher risk of using other drugs in adulthood.
Factors That Increase the Risk of Using Harder Drugs
Although some people may always use marijuana recreationally, there are still several individuals who can use harder drugs due to a few factors. Those who suffer from mental health issues are at a higher risk of moving on to harder drugs because they’re searching for something to offer relief from the feelings and moods they’re experiencing each day. Genetics can also play a role, especially if there is a parent or relative who suffered from drug addiction to harder substances.
Those who are prone to high-risk behaviors are more likely to adopt addictions to stronger substances. The social context of each individual is another factor to consider. If other people are using harder drugs in a setting where marijuana is present, then it’s more likely that the individual will experiment with other types of substances. Those who are younger can succumb to peer pressure to try heroin, meth, and cocaine. Alcohol and cigarette use can also increase when marijuana is used, leading to alcoholism and a dependency on tobacco. Marijuana usage can also progress, causing many people to rely on the drug to reduce their stress or anxiety.
Some people can start to use it weekly but move on to using it daily. Call us today at 833-680-0165 if you want to learn more about enrolling in a drug rehab facility. Our counselors are available 24/7 to answer your questions and explain our services.