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Is cannabis a gateway drug?

From D.A.R.E.:

What Is a Gateway Drug? A gateway drug is a drug that opens the door to the use of other, harder drugs. Gateway drugs are typically inexpensive and readily available.

While there is no guarantee that a youngster will make the leap from gateway drugs to far more toxic and dangerous drugs such as methamphetamines, cocaine, or heroin, research suggests that in the majority of the cases they will not. ... Most addicts began their downward spiral with the gateway drugs; very few youngsters or adults jump right into hard drugs.

From oregonmeasure80.org:

Statistics are published about drug use trends, and can easily be analyzed to see that while marijuana use is incredibly popular, most other drugs pale in comparison. Almost half of all 12th graders in the U.S. have used marijuana once, and nearly one in four use it at least monthly. But that same group reports fewer than a tenth that many use the "hard" drugs like cocaine, heroin, or meth regularly.

If there were a gateway effect, one would expect a much larger problem with the other drugs, especially given how many people use marijuana regularly.

The gateway theory has been debunked many times scientifically, but we believe the statistics of drug use speak for themselves. If you feel the need to read further, please do research the matter thoroughly, though we offer a few resources below:

Drug use statistics from NIDA's Monitoring the Future survey, 2011.

Does "gateway drug" use actually impact "harder drug" adoption? Who is using cherry-picked research, and what does the scientific majority state?

marked as duplicate by Sklivvz Nov 7 '12 at 21:10

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  • 1
    Smart ass remark heard here and there: "Beer. The gateway drug." – dmckee Nov 7 '12 at 19:04
  • @dmckee It doesn't get many google hits. – Andrew Grimm Nov 8 '12 at 7:11

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