The fight against cannabis is not limited to the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. Big pharma and tobacco companies are also involved, as are sugar-sweetened beverage makers and major delivery service providers. The global public health community must act urgently to combat the effects of these industries. The alcohol and tobacco industry is already creating a tremendous burden on society. Cannabis can do the same. But marijuana is more than a gateway drug; it has a dangerous reputation as a gateway drug to tobacco, alcohol, and opiates.
Cannabis is a gateway drug to tobacco
Many of the same reasons prevent marijuana from becoming legal as a gateway to tobacco exist today. For example, many tobacco companies continue to target vulnerable populations and profit from nicotine addiction. Tobacco companies, such as Altria, the maker of the Marlboro brand, have invested millions of dollars in marijuana companies, while Philip Morris has invested $12.8 billion in Juul, a nicotine-vaping device for children. Big Tobacco, in turn, has created a public health crisis involving teen vaping, which they continue to exploit.
Those who use marijuana often hang out with people who smoke tobacco. The dangers of cannabis use may cause users to become addicted to nicotine, which is the gateway drug to tobacco. Tobacco kills more than five million people per year, 24 times more than all other illegal drugs combined. Cannabis may also act as a way to deal with the withdrawal symptoms associated with cannabis use.
A panel of sixteen leading medical experts convened by the National Academy of Medicine concluded that we do not know enough about the effects of marijuana on the body and that there are no “systematic” studies on the subject. Berenson is no less alarmist. However, he does have the same problem as the National Academy of Medicine. Big pharma and big tobacco have a combined vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal as a gateway drug.
The main problem with the gateway hypothesis is that there is no good evidence to support it. Moreover, the correlation between marijuana use and tobacco use is weak. However, there is a possible explanation: marijuana is a gateway drug to tobacco. It can be used as a gateway to other drugs and alcohol. Marijuana is a gateway to heroin and cocaine, but the gateway to tobacco is the illegal use of tobacco.
It is a gateway drug to alcohol
The gateway hypothesis argues that people who start using drugs like alcohol, marijuana, or nicotine are more likely to use harder drugs in the future. In addition, marijuana is cheaper and more accessible than these more difficult substances. The gateway hypothesis also points out that marijuana is illegal and, therefore, more easily accessed. In addition, it’s part of a larger market.
However, a new study suggests that if marijuana is legalized, people might start substituting marijuana for alcohol. This would be beneficial for public health and safety, since marijuana use is associated with fewer violent crimes than alcohol. Moreover, marijuana is also less likely to cause accidents. However, the evidence for this idea is mixed. According to a 2015 UCLA study, legalizing marijuana led to fewer alcohol-related deaths among adults. However, legalization was linked to an increase in alcohol-related deaths among adolescents.
Despite this evidence, the arguments against marijuana’s legalization are still largely flawed. The gateway theory has been discredited by many scientists. While many argue that marijuana is not a gateway to alcohol, some experts question this theory. The fact that marijuana is not a gateway to alcohol means that it doesn’t lead to addiction, and it doesn’t promote the spread of addiction.
The argument that marijuana is a gateway drug is based on the idea that it inspires people to try harder drugs. But that theory is not proven. The first major study to question this theory – the La Guardia Committee – found that marijuana was not addictive and was not a gateway drug. It also did not lead to crime. This evidence is not conclusive, but it does point to the possibility that legalizing marijuana might lead to fewer cases of alcohol and other harder drugs.
It is a gateway drug to opiates
This theory claims that most people who start with marijuana never move on to harder substances. The reality is that marijuana is the most popular drug in the western world. People who use marijuana are more likely to try heroin or cocaine, but most marijuana users never go on to use those substances. That means that marijuana is not a gateway drug to opiates or other dangerous substances.
In a study conducted by the University of Kentucky, doctors in states where marijuana is legal wrote 5.88 percent fewer prescriptions for opiates. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, they wrote 6.38 percent fewer prescriptions for opiates. Yet, 21 states have not passed legalization measures. Many people are hesitant to try marijuana, but there are some advantages to using it in moderation.
It creates a dangerous industry
If there is one thing that keeps marijuana from being legalized, it’s big pharma and big tobacco. These two industries spend billions of dollars on anti-marijuana campaigns. Those lobbyists have the resources to influence the election process. In Florida, this is the case with a failed constitutional amendment. It’s easy to see why the two industries oppose legalization.
Tobacco companies have paid doctors, dentists, and celebrities to promote smoking. Yet, despite the fact that the kings of big tobacco are the same, they continue to be a public health threat. In fact, young people are using electronic cigarettes to vape cannabis. Big Tobacco is also reaping huge profits from the tort bar, which considers judgment monies to be part of their cost of doing business. As a result, Big Tobacco has moved their addictive product to less developed countries and overseas.
The pharmaceutical industry is behind this campaign to block legalization. The company that donated the largest personal campaign donation to oppose the Arizona recreational marijuana initiative in 2016 has admitted its intent to protect the synthetic opioid drug market. Another example is Insys Therapeutics Inc., an Arizona company. This company donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy to defeat the initiative in November. This is just one example of how big pharma and big tobacco are working to block the legalization of marijuana.
Some senators have also weighed in on the issue. Kirsten Gillibrand, who co-chaired the racial justice task force last year, has introduced a bill called the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act to legalize marijuana. This legislation would move marijuana from the Schedule I classification to Schedule II, where it belongs with cocaine, OxyContin, and methamphetamine.
It is a gateway drug to tobacco
One common argument against marijuana being legalized is that it is a gateway drug to tobacco. This theory is not supported by the evidence. It is based on the belief that marijuana smokers will switch to tobacco as a way to cope with withdrawal symptoms. In addition, marijuana users may be more likely to be exposed to tobacco due to its widespread availability and widespread mixing with tobacco. Tobacco is seven to eight times more addictive than cannabis.
However, recent studies suggest that marijuana is not a gateway drug to tobacco. In fact, it does not predict the use of harder drugs, and it is cheaper and more accessible. But, this is not to say that marijuana is completely off-limits. A 12-year University of Pittsburgh study has questioned this long-held belief that marijuana is a gateway drug. This belief has shaped governmental policies and prevention efforts for decades. Parents often panic when they discover marijuana in their child’s bedroom.
In addition to this common myth, marijuana is also a gateway drug to other drugs. If marijuana is legalized as a gateway drug, it may lead to use of harder drugs. However, this hypothesis is not confirmed by any study. This argument has some merit. Nonetheless, marijuana has significant risks, including dependence, addiction, overuse, non-deadly overdoses, and mental anguish.
The company Philip Morris invested in is one of the largest cigarette companies in the world. With more than half of all cigarette sales in the U.S., the company may soon jump into the marijuana industry. It is unclear whether they will be willing to invest in marijuana as a gateway drug, but they’re watching the legislation closely. The company is likely to make the decision soon.