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Marijuana - NOT A GATEWAY DRUG (Page 1)

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Washington, DC: Marijuana experimentation by adolescents does not lead to the use of harder drugs, according to the findings of a RAND study released Monday. The study dismisses the so-called "gateway theory," and raises doubts regarding the legitimacy of federal drug policies based upon its premise.

"While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts," said lead researcher Andrew Morral, associate director of RAND's Public Safety and Justice unit. "Our study shows that these doubts are justified."

After analyzing data from the U.S. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (which measures patters and frequency of self-reported drug use among Americans), researchers concluded that teenagers who tried hard drugs were predisposed to do so whether or not they tried marijuana.

"The people who are predisposed to use drugs and have the opportunity to use drugs are more likely than others to use both marijuana and harder drugs," Morral said. "Marijuana typically comes first because it is more available. Once we incorporated these facts into our mathematical model of adolescent drug use, we could explain all of the drug use associations that have been cited as evidence of marijuana's gateway effect."

Morral said that the study raises serious questions about the legitimacy of basing national drug policy decisions on the false assumption that pot is a gateway drug. "For example, it suggests that policies aimed at reducing or eliminating marijuana availability are unlikely to make any dent in the hard drug problem," he said.

NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre praised the study's findings, noting that population estimates on drug use have consistently shown that most people who try marijuana never graduate to harder drugs. "Statistically, for every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin," St. Pierre said. "For the overwhelming majority of marijuana smokers, pot is clearly a 'terminus' rather than a gateway."

St. Pierre further speculated that among the minority of marijuana smokers who do graduate to harder substances, it's pot prohibition rather than the use of marijuana itself that often serves as a doorway to the world of hard drugs. "The more users become integrated in an environment where, apart from cannabis, hard drugs can also be obtained, the greater the chances they will experiment with harder drugs," he said.

Previous studies criticizing the gateway theory include a Canadian Senate report released this past fall, and a 1999 report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. The latter study concluded that marijuana was not a "gateway drug to the extent that it is a cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse." It noted that the "most consistent predictors of serious drug abuse appear to be intensity of marijuana use and co-occurring psychiatric disorders or a family history of psychopathology, including alcoholism."
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replied January 29th, 2008
Experienced User
This is just an incorrect interpretation of the same data use to arrive at the opposite conclusion previousl
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replied January 29th, 2008
Community Volunteer
I disagree..if thats OK.
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replied January 29th, 2008
Experienced User
Of course one may disagree! That is why this forum is a debate on medical marijuana. I would never expect some to agree with conclusions that would in any way limit the use of marijuana in any form or in any amount.
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replied January 29th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
backpain1955 wrote:
This is just an incorrect interpretation of the same data use to arrive at the opposite conclusion previousl

How is the interpretation incorrect?
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replied January 29th, 2008
Experienced User
The original analysis of the data drew a diametrically opposed conclusion.
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replied January 29th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
backpain1955 wrote:
The original analysis of the data drew a diametrically opposed conclusion.

That doesn't answer my question, that just throws around ten cent words - which, by the way, I do understand.

Why is the "original analysis" necessarily the "right" analysis?
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replied January 29th, 2008
Experienced User
Why is the alternative analysis the "right" analysis?
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replied January 29th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
EXACTLY. You have, I think, missed the point. You cannot say EITHER analysis is the right one or the wrong one. The original is not necessarily right and the alternative is not necessarily right. Or perhaps both have valid points and could be combined. But you can't sit here and say "the original is right and that automatically makes all others wrong!" when you can't even support WHY the original is "right".
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replied January 29th, 2008
Community Volunteer
Good point Eiri but alas I think you are talking to a brick wall. He is only on this forum at algosdoc's request...heck, they may be one and the same!!!!
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replied January 29th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
He may. I'll notify admin.
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replied January 29th, 2008
Community Volunteer
Yep, I think you might out to do that....its smelling very fishy. Shocked
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replied January 29th, 2008
Experienced User
Oh I am no doctor, nor do I pretend to be....
Just a guy with back pain looking for answers that won't kill me
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replied January 29th, 2008
Community Volunteer
MJ wont kill you...but I am by no means suggesting you try it...
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replied January 29th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
backpain1955 wrote:
Oh I am no doctor, nor do I pretend to be....
Just a guy with back pain looking for answers that won't kill me

How strange... Algosdoc CLAIMED to be a doctor... yet couldn't PROVE it! You're NOT claiming to be a doctor... but you sure ACT like one!
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replied January 29th, 2008
Experienced User
Why I will take that as a compliment!! I am not a doctor or a nurse or anything....I do spend a lot of time in the Holiday Inn Express though...
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replied January 30th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
blah blah blah, back to the point...

I've know MANY people go both ways on this. I truly believe it's only a 'gateway drug' if you have an addictive personality, have easy access to other types of drugs, and you like experimenting. That's why my parents have been enjoying about a joint a day to relax while my one friend is on every drug know to man (well, at least close to it). They both started in early high school, and took different roads. It all depends on the person, that's why 'statistics' can be 'debunked' by a few people that don't fit into it.
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replied January 30th, 2008
Experienced User
Good points, Lilly Ivy!! I agree with what ya talking about. Well put--thanks Bobbette.
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replied January 30th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
lol, how's that for a non medical conclusion that makes a lot of sense?!?
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replied January 30th, 2008
Experienced User
Some of the problems may be due to an addictive personality and some are due to family influences. The family with a pothead father and mother, setting an example for their children everyday by snubbing their noses at federal law and sending the message that it is ok to do illegal drugs, would also have quite an influence. Nothing medical or scientific about that but it is common sense.
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