Jan 162016
 January 16, 2016

marijuana gateway drugBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Alcohol is typically the first substance consumed by individuals who report polydrug use later in life, according to data published this month in The Journal of School Health.

Researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Florida, Gainesville evaluated drug use patterns from a nationally representative sample of 2,835 12th graders.

Authors found that youth use of alcohol most often preceded the use of tobacco or marijuana. They also reported subjects’ age of alcohol initiation is the strongest predictor of later polydrug use.

“Alcohol is the most commonly used substance, and the majority of polysubstance using respondents consumed alcohol prior to tobacco or marijuana initiation,” they reported. “Respondents initiating alcohol use in sixth grade reported significantly greater lifetime illicit substance use and more frequent illicit substance use than those initiating alcohol use in ninth grade or later.”

They concluded, “Our results … assert that the earlier one initiates alcohol use, the more likely that they will engage in future illicit substance use.”

The findings are inconsistent with recent claims made by several prominent lawmakers that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ to later substance abuse.

Studies by conducted by the RAND Corporation and others have previously dismissed any alleged causal role of marijuana as a gateway to subsequent illicit drug abuse, finding, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other drugs.”

An abstract of the study, “Prioritizing Alcohol Prevention: Establishing Alcohol as the Gateway Drug and Linking Age of First Drink With Illicit Drug Use,” appears online here.

Source: NORML - make a donation



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  21 Responses to “Study: Alcohol Is The Real Gateway Drug, Not Marijuana”


    Alcohol is also the most damaging drug to society. Every weekend jails are filled with obnoxious, violent drunks that did something really stupid while under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana just doesn’t cause the turmoil, violence, and stupidity that alcohol injects into peoples’ lives.


    HellNo is spot on, I know us reformists must wait for the science to prove the prohibitionists wrong once again before they believe but It’s hard to fathom the money and time spent proving something us smokers already knew from inception of our first high. What do we know-we’re just a bunch of burn outs, lol.


      Actually the burden of proof is on the prohibitionists. Seventy years ago they declared cannabis guilty without a scintilla of credible evidence, unless the scientific testimony Dr. Munch in 1937 of injecting “marihuana” into the brains of hundreds of dogs resulted in the death of two of them is considered grounds for prohibition. Duh, its the hypodermic needle that did in the poor dogs.

      Later more “scientific” studies have amounted to no more than pseudo -scientific innuendo and baseless assertions of alleged harm. They are never going to find such evidence, including using the current craze of brain imaging to find abnormalities of brain structure and size and drawing the erroneous conclusion that cannabis damages a developing or mature brain.

      Cannabis has been used safely and very beneficially for millennia by countless millions of people. If it wasn’t it would not have been so widely used for so long and spread to every continent on Earth. Cannabis is innocent and only guilty of being a threat to the revenue streams of Big Pharma.


    We have a child abuse epidemic in America. And NO ONE notices.


      I had a child abuser live near me once. He was ok, just a little obnoxious, when he used weed, but turned evil to his children when he used booze. He didn’t have much money, and the only drug he could much afford was booze. Do the alcohol supremacists want people to abuse their children? Making alcohol much cheaper than weed encourages domestic violence.


    Alcohol Prohibition came about in response to the destructive nature of alcohol. However, making alcohol illegal didn’t stop people from drinking. Criminal organizations made enormous profits supplying booze, while violence and corruption came with them. Ultimately, prohibition was considered more destructive to society than legal booze.
    Sound familiar?


      Then “marihuana” became the “scapegoat” of alcohol
      after ITS prohibition was repealed…

      The problems that booze actually causes,
      were / still are being falsely-attributed to weed.


        Yep. Cannabis users are the designated scapegoats for the mayhem caused by alcohol.


        The only article the haters use is the one that said pot use will drop your IQ by 8 points.

        There were only 12 people used in the study and 4 of them were alcoholics, the other 8 were casual to heavy drinkers. (look it up)

        Yeah, it must have been the one doobie a week that made them dumber, not the constant poisoning of alcohol.


          Yes I’m black cat between 3 siblings, but my sister has worked for the liberal party of Canada since she was 16. She is now almost 60 yrs. she does not injest any cannabis until she has guzzled 12 – 18 pilsners, then a quick 1 or 2 puffs and she is a more that mess.
          Barffing, Falling,Coughing can’t breathe, can’t undress herself, A Fucking Moron. And she says next day ” see what happens when I do that stuff ?”
          So. How does one get any common sense thrrough a thick head like that ?
          I appreciate any help and advice I receive


            Tell her to ask her doctor which they think is causing the problems? If she pays him any mind. Is there anyone whose opinion she cares about?


    They need to get this right, marijuana doesn’t lead to harder drugs, alcohol does!!! And I am glad someone else see’s it too


    Gateway blah! The real Gateway is chocolate milk!


      The real gateway is the box of wine or the 12 pack in the fridge next to the milk the children use every morning for their cereal.

      Why is it that we have to keep our herb under lock and key but we can leave booze out and readily available for children to get their hands on?

      Alcohol should be a schedule 1 drug, no medical use, HIGH chance for abuse and addiction and IT KILLS. Perfect description for schedule 1.


        Because prohibition works so well? Legalizing one thing and criminalizing another misses the point. Prohibition simply DOES NOT WORK.


    I don’t believe in the gateway theory at all. Doesn’t matter if it’s sugar, Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, xyz whatever. Using one substance does not mean you will use another substance, other than the fact that you might be more open minded to try new things, but does that make it a gateway? I think it’s a personality type that is open to taking risks and trying new things, likewise I believe addiction can be tied into a certain personality type. I also think the perception of risk becomes attractive to many personalities, the so called forbidden fruit syndrome has more to do with things then we as a society would like to admit.


      That’s a well stated and logical overview.


      Beautifully stated Von. I never was a drinker in high school. I started drinking and using cannabis in Viet Nam at the tender age of 18. The drinking became a huge problem. After I got out of the service in ’70 I began a 25 year drunk. I’m 67 now and I’ve be sober for a little over 20 years. I’ve always been curious to try new things, so I too was pre-disposed to addiction. Marijuana as a gateway drug, impossible. I never have understood that concept anyway. I’m happy to say that I currently live in the beautiful hills of Southern Oregon and have an abundance of wonderful, healing, life saving cannabis. I doubt seriously that I would be here today if it wasn’t for this miracle plant….Namaste, Don Podlas


    actually, they can get along well together as evidenced by my 4th book, the forthcoming: Cannabis Cocktails. For years, Cannabis was prescribed as a clinically accepted part of healing. Years meaning many thousands. Way before our drug companies and neo-conservatives- wanting to “keep the blacks and hispanics down” type of politics made Cannabis, well- it made it public enemy #1. http://www.quartoknows.com/books/9781592337347/Cannabis-Cocktails-Mocktails-and-Tonics.html


    One more study the prohibs have to ignore. There’s been a lot of them lately. It’s very disappointing that they haven’t caused any defections among prominnent prohibs, those folks really seem impervious to reason. If it comes out that cannabis can help people fight cancer, that probably wouldn’t even make a difference to these degenerates.

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