You might have heard marijuana, a commonly used psychoactive substance, referred to as a “gateway drug.” This phrase was used more commonly several years back when substance abuse and dependence were not thoroughly understood. People called marijuana a “gateway drug” to prevent teenagers and young adults from using the substance, essentially saying if they were to use marijuana in any capacity, they would eventually transition to harder and more dangerous illegal drugs.
Can Marijuana Use Lead to Other Substances?
There has been ample research conducted on this very claim. The majority of the related research points towards “no” — those who use marijuana are not going to transition to harder illegal drugs because of the marijuana. If a person transitions from marijuana to a more “serious” substance, it is usually because this person has several addiction risk factors. A person won’t try marijuana one day and think to themselves, “Hey, that was pretty good! I bet cocaine is equally as good!” Or, “Well, I’ve done one illegal drug, I might as well do them all.” If a person starts using substances addictively or if a person transitions from one substance to the other, it is likely because they are genetically predisposed to substance abuse, because they are self-medicating an underlying issue or because they were pressured to try a harder drug by their peers. If a person stays away from marijuana because of their personal beliefs or upbringing, they are less likely to use other substances — there is some truth there. Unfortunately, it is also possible for a person to develop a marijuana addiction. If you or someone you know has been struggling with marijuana dependence or any other type of addiction, Evoke Wellness is available to help. Contact us today to learn more.
Debunking the Concept of a “Gateway Drug”
Some parents utilize the concept of a “gateway drug” in order to avoid having a difficult conversation with their children about the true dangers involved in illegal drug use. For example, they might say, “Avoid marijuana, because marijuana can easily lead you down a dark path,” or, “If you start using one illegal drug, you will be more inclined to try others at some point down the line.” At Evoke Wellness we encourage parents to sit down with their adolescents or young adults and speak with them openly and honestly about why illegal drug use is harmful. It can be a difficult task to have, and you might not get the response you expected. However, it is important to avoid lumping all chemical substances into one brief and non-descriptive statement. Doing so might lead to more experimentation in the future.
Marijuana Abuse and Dependence — A Very Real Threat
Contrary to popular belief, marijuana can be addictive. Many people who develop marijuana dependence write off the chronic health condition as “nothing to worry about,” convincing themselves and their loved ones that it “could be worse.” The truth is, marijuana dependence can be extremely disruptive to daily life. People who struggle with this particular addictive disorder often lose their motivation over time; their performance at work or at school declines significantly, and they avoid Supposeobbies and activities they previously enjoyed. If you have been smoking marijuana daily or near-daily, you have attempted to quit on your own with little to no success. In that case, you might be afflicted with a diagnosable marijuana use disorder.
Evoke Wellness and Marijuana Addiction Recovery
At Evoke Wellness, we treat the symptoms associated with drug abuse and addiction, simultaneously addressing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual consequences of active drug use. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with a marijuana abuse disorder, especially considering the widespread stigmas surrounding marijuana addiction. Just remember — the sooner you address a drug problem, no matter how inconsequential it might seem, the better. Addiction is a progressive disease, meaning the symptoms will grow more severe the longer they are left untreated.
Overcome Addiction and Stay Sober at Evoke Wellness
At Evoke Wellness, we provide our clients with a combination of intensive psychotherapy sessions, relapse prevention training services, holistic approaches to recovery, and a variety of other addiction services geared towards integrated recovery. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about marijuana dependence or our unique and effective treatment program.