Why Is Marijuana Still Illegal? - Part 3
Welcome back to the third installment in our “Why Is Marijuana Still Illegal” series here on the True Blue Terpenes blog. In our previous installments of our “Why Is Marijuana Illegal” series, we talked about two issues that have plagued marijuana users for decades. The first was whether or not marijuana is dangerous, and the second was whether or not marijuana is addictive. These two factors are commonly misunderstood by lawmakers and communities alike, so we wanted to back up some information with scientific studies and data.
To summarize the findings of our previous articles, marijuana does not pack nearly as much danger as alcohol or cigarettes - both legal substances - and of course is significantly less dangerous than heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamines. Additionally, it is impossible to overdose on marijuana, while other drug use causes tens of thousands of fatal overdoses each year. While people can become dependent on marijuana after prolonged use, the general consensus among psychologists and scientists alike is that severe cases of cannabis use disorder are incredibly rare and not as severe as addiction to other hard drugs.
All of these factors and misunderstandings play a role in why marijuana has obtained an “illegal” status while drugs that have shown to be more dangerous - such as alcohol and nicotine - are legal, yet it still doesn’t explain why marijuana became illegal in the first place. If marijuana’s criminal status could be explained in one simple argument, it is that weed has had a long-standing stigma of being a “gateway drug.” Let’s dive deeper.
A Gateway Drug? Not So Much
Since we were young, we’ve heard that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” essentially meaning that one day you’re smoking your first joint and, next thing you know, you’re tweaking under a bridge with a needle in your arm. Or at least that’s what our parents, teachers, and D.A.R.E. officers told us. But this issue is a lot more intricate than it may seem on the surface.
Is it true that marijuana is a gateway drug? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse… it’s complicated. After multiple studies, they concluded the following:
- People who use marijuana regularly are more likely to develop an alcohol disorder
- Marijuana use is linked to a higher chance of nicotine addiction
- People who use marijuana are more likely to use heroin and other drugs than those who do not use marijuana
- People who associate with hard drug users are more likely to use hard drugs themselves
- The majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use “hard” drugs like heroin and cocaine.
The general conclusion is that marijuana users most often do not go on to use hard drugs, but most hard drug addicts started using marijuana and alcohol in their teens before moving on to heroin, cocaine, and other drugs.
The more acceptable belief is that marijuana is not a gateway drug, but that those living in poverty and poor social environments have more access to marijuana at a younger age, and that bad circumstance is the actual gateway to drug use, rather than marijuana itself. It’s a simple case of marijuana being correlated with hard drug use, and not the cause of it. And in case you missed it in your Intro To Psychology class, we’ll say it louder for the people in the back: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION.
This Myth Is Busted
Sometimes writing these articles has us feeling a little bit like we’re on the Mythbusters TV show. But we felt the need to have an honest conversation about all of this. Many lawmakers are still under the impression that marijuana is a gateway drug, when facts and statistics do not prove or even support that theory.
Obviously, this entire issue is complicated and entangled in decades of misconceptions and social issues surrounding weed, and there’s still a lot more to uncover. In our next blog in this series, we’re going to discuss the laws that regulate the use, sale, and cultivation of cannabis.
In the meantime, it is important to remember that True Blue terps contain no THC or CBD, and therefore have no psychoactive effects. Our pure terpenes are natural, food-grade extracts that are designed to enhance and mimic the flavor profile of your favorite marijuana strains. Shop our weed flavor drops and natural terps today.