People in the so-called “anti-drug” movement claim that marijuana is a “gateway drug”. That is, if you use marijuana, you will inevitably move on to harder, more dangerous drugs. Of course, there is no intrinsic property of marijuana that produces this effect. In part, the assumption totally ignores any preexisting conditions, like a person’s original proclivity toward drug use in the first place. But mostly, it’s just ridiculous. If I enjoy sex (which is, by the way, a neurochemical-altering activity to which a person can become addicted), the logical progression isn’t a three-way, a “fourgy”, and then a full-blown orgy. Nor is becoming chemically addicted to sex going to lead to the use of other drugs.
However, there are cases in which the “gateway” theory is true, but for reasons very different from what the “anti-drug” proponents claim. What I mean is, if marijuana functions as a gateway drug, it’s likely because of the “anti-drug” movement itself.
See, somewhere around two or three decades ago, they started this whole “anti-drug” campaign, and they were extremely dishonest about the risks of certain drugs. (It should be noted that recent anti-marijuana ads have actually toned down the sensationalism and have been somewhat more honest/up-front about the effects of it. I saw one that actually admitted that if you smoke pot, it’s probable that nothing bad would happen. The punchline, of course, was that nothing might happen at all, because you’re just sitting on a couch in your parents’ basement.)
Particularly with marijuana, they flat-out lied, or else their research was disingenuous. In one “experiment”, monkeys were forced to inhale only pot smoke for fifteen straight minutes, and then their brains were compared to the brains of a control group. The conclusion incorrectly drawn from the evidence of brain damage was that it was caused by marijuana. Of course, even the brain-damaged monkeys probably would’ve understood that damage was caused by oxygen deprivation. They could’ve made the monkeys breathe burning wood chips or incense for fifteen straight minutes and produced the same results.
Anyway, people were bombarded by this “information” campaign, and then were able to actually try marijuana for themselves, as it’s rather easy a drug to get a hold of. To their surprise, it wasn’t nearly as harmful as the “anti-drug” campaign had depicted. At which point, they drew the rather logical conclusion that maybe other drugs aren’t as bad, either, and decided it’d be much safer to try crack or heroin than they’ve been led to believe. And there’s the “gateway” effect.
Boy, it sure is a good thing that history has since proven fear-mongering through dishonesty to be an effective tactic that accomplishes many benefits for all of mankind, and makes the world a better and safer place for everyone.