Risk of marijuana's 'gateway effect' overblown, research shows

Sep 02, 2010

New research from the University of New Hampshire shows that the "gateway effect" of marijuana - that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults - is overblown.

Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana.

Conducted by UNH associate professors of sociology Karen Van Gundy and Cesar Rebellon, the research appears in the September 2010, issue of the in the article, "A Life-course Perspective on the 'Gateway Hypothesis.' "

"In light of these findings, we urge U.S. drug control policymakers to consider stress and life-course approaches in their pursuit of solutions to the 'drug problem,' " Van Gundy and Rebellon say.

The researchers used survey data from 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990s. Within the final sample, 26 percent of the respondents are African American, 44 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are non-Hispanic white.

The researchers found that young adults who did not graduate from high school or attend college were more likely to have used marijuana as teenagers and other illicit substances in young adulthood. In addition, those who used marijuana as teenagers and were unemployed following high school were more likely to use other .

However, the association between teenage marijuana use and other illicit drug abuse by young adults fades once stresses, such as unemployment, diminish.

"Employment in young adulthood can protect people by 'closing' the marijuana gateway, so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities," Van Gundy says.

In addition, once young adults reach age 21, the gateway effect subsides entirely.

"While marijuana use may serve as a gateway to other illicit drug use in adolescence, our results indicate that the effect may be short-lived, subsiding by age 21. Interestingly, age emerges as a protective status above and beyond the other life statuses and conditions considered here. We find that respondents 'age out' of marijuana's gateway effect regardless of early teen stress exposure or education, work, or family statuses," the researchers say.

The researchers found that the strongest predictor of other illicit drug use appears to be race-ethnicity, not prior use of . Non-Hispanic whites show the greatest odds of other illicit substance use, followed by Hispanics, and then by African Americans.

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User comments : 16

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getgoa
1 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2010
Marijuana is a plant of war and turns people out.

There is no better way to get rid of someone in the way than to give them a joint.

If the plant is not native to the America's than the plant should be criminalized even further. I agree with Thailand life in prison for dealing marijuana and if you use it to tell on the dealer for self-respect.

This is not a time to be liberal and switching arrogance for variety. Asia has found no use for marijuana as medicine and the plant originates there.

Making marijuana legal for medicine in America is fulfilling prophecy about the End of making sense--Let the Doctors decide not the public--it s the doctors that need to establish the credibility not the public to vote and say they will allow medicine for a patient?
baudrunner
4.9 / 5 (8) Sep 02, 2010
How can you expect credibility from a class who are largely influenced into peddling drugs for the pharmaceutical corporations through financial incentives? Drug dealing is not all about recreational drugs. Organized crime supports continued criminalization of marijuana because the "war on drugs" resources would otherwise be directed toward where the real money is for them, and in small packets - cocaine and heroin. Marijauna is an "herb bearing seed", like it says in the Book of Genesis, and "it shall be to us for food", and whatever other use we can think up for it. Spark one up and chill, getgoa.
RalC
5 / 5 (8) Sep 02, 2010
@Getgoa Cannabis is a peaceful plant that Governments politicize and start wars over. Many productive individuals partake of the plant. While not a native species, Cannabis is well suited to the western hemisphere and is a valuable addition to our ecosystem and used to be one of our largest agricultural components. Google Hemp for Victory!

If people let government decide
which foods they eat and medicines they take,
their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state
as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
-- Thomas Jefferson
DozerIAm
5 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2010
Pot isn't any more addictive than watching entertaining tv. If it were legalized and the sale and distribution regulated and taxed as it is with tobacco and alcohol, the states and the fed would have a huge income stream, the courts and prisons would have more time and room for more serious offenders, and kids who's bad judgement were their worst offences wouldn't end up as felons, unable to get jobs because of their criminal records.
DrCommonSense
4.4 / 5 (5) Sep 02, 2010
getgoa - please put the pipe full of Reagan's ashes down and step away slowly! the notion that cannabis has anything to do with organized crime or wars or that someone should be placed into prison for life is about the most retarded thing I have ever heard anyone say. Try maybe redirecting your angst towards alcohol, cocaine, heroin, prescription narcotics, etc.. and leave the stuff that GOD created alone.
S10laidout
5 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2010
we should legalize all drugs. If someone wants to pump their veins full of heroin or any other drug for that matter, we as a "free" society shouldn't stop them. We just need to educate people, which we do very well through programs such as DARE, and let them make their own choices. If their choice cause them to OD then that is natural selection. I am not says we as a society should condone such actions but we should let people have the freedom to choose.
Dale701
5 / 5 (1) Sep 02, 2010
http://blogs.disc...old-pot/
Put this in your pipe and smoke it.....
getgoa
dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (7) Sep 02, 2010
Every single "drug addict" I have ever met started with alcohol. And that means... what?
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2010
Every single "drug addict" I have ever met started with alcohol. And that means... what?
That people who like to get fucked up, will continue to get fucked up.

Pot reintroduced me to having childlike wonder for astronomy, which then got me into physics and engineering, which has enabled me to help create medical devices that save lives, research equipment that has helped learn how to contain chemical spills, and allowed me to lead a very happy and productive life.

I never did heroine, or cocaine. I had a drinking problem until I started smoking pot again.

If anything pot has made my life far better and allowed me to use my skills to change the world, even if only for a few people, for the better.

End prohibition.
Hempreneur_Dave
5 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2010
Cannabis Sativa is an amazing plant - both as hemp (non THC) and marijuana (THC). It’s too bad politics has trumped the science behind this plant. As I see it, these laws are not going to be changed without education, more research like this article, and Americans using hemp products to show how the plant (albeit non THC) can be used for food and wellness, fuel (no more Gulf spills!), housing (hempcrete), and most importantly, paper. There would be no need to cut down another tree if hemp was legal.

Join the Hemp Revolution!
http://www.health...cine.com
Hempreneur_Dave
not rated yet Sep 02, 2010
Cannabis Sativa is an amazing plant - both as hemp (non THC) and marijuana (THC). It’s too bad politics has trumped the science behind this plant.

As I see it, these laws are not going to be changed without education, more research like this article, and Americans using hemp products to show how the plant (albeit non THC) can be used for food and wellness, fuel (no more Gulf spills!), housing (hempcrete), and most importantly, paper. There would be no need to cut down another tree if hemp was legal.

Sancho
1 / 5 (3) Sep 04, 2010
Marijuana is an anti-gateway drug. It's a safer alternative to alcohol. Booze pushers should be locked up along with booze addicts. That would make our highways safer and get most politicians behind bars, where they belong.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) Sep 04, 2010
Marijuana is an anti-gateway drug. It's a safer alternative to alcohol. Booze pushers should be locked up along with booze addicts. That would make our highways safer and get most politicians behind bars, where they belong.

You'd be trading one set of problems for another.

Remember prohibition?
Eric_B
1 / 5 (1) Sep 04, 2010
You can search on this website for "nicotine addiction" and find out all you need to know about what is the true "gateway drug"
http://www.physor...606.html
legalizing pot would take away a huge amount of money from organized crime. it is as big as corn in america.
Benvolio
5 / 5 (2) Sep 05, 2010
To Getgoa: You appear to be entirely ignorant of the massive waste of resources marijuana policing creates, since it is in fact almost entirely ineffective, as marijuana is everpresent in virtually all societies! The most harmonious among societies are those that have accepted it as a social norm and decriminalised it, allowing people the freedom to enjoy a substance that 1. has no known lethal dose and 2. is hugely beneficial for those suffering from depression, cronic pain and countless other illnesses. The real reason marijuana is illegal derives from the fact that it offers people euphoria without it being provided by God, something religious authorities the world over seek to prohibit and do so by influencing government policy, thus preserving their control over society!
Ravenrant
not rated yet Sep 06, 2010
Getgoa must have watched 'Reefer Madness' and thought that it was a documentary. Getgoa, it's FICTION!!!! Why is it the stupider someone is the less likely they are to realize it?

The only 'gateway' drug is cigarettes. THAT'S where most abusers start.