The ballot question allowing recreational marijuana was soundly rejected this week.
In the Repo column in the Banner other sources told me that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” I wonder about how much and in what war that is a fact.
On the internets I found this, that seems to tell it evenly.
Early exposure to cannabinoids in adolescent rodents decreases the reactivity of brain dopamine reward centers later in adulthood.47 To the extent that these findings generalize to humans, this could help explain the increased vulnerability for addiction to other substances of misuse later in life that most epidemiological studies have reported for people who begin marijuana use early in life.48 It is also consistent with animal experiments showing THC’s ability to “prime” the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs.49 For example, rats previously administered THC show heightened behavioral response not only when further exposed to THC but also when exposed to other drugs such as morphine—a phenomenon called cross-sensitization.50
These findings are consistent with the idea of marijuana as a “gateway drug.” However, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Also, cross-sensitization is not unique to marijuana. Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs51 and are, like marijuana, also typically used before a person progresses to other, more harmful substances.
It is important to note that other factors besides biological mechanisms, such as a person’s social environment, are also critical in a person’s risk for drug use. An alternative to the gateway-drug hypothesis is that people who are more vulnerable to drug-taking are simply more likely to start with readily available substances such as marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol, and their subsequent social interactions with others who use drugs increases their chances of trying other drugs. Further research is needed to explore this question.……………………………………………….
So, as I see it the idea of marijuana being a gateway-drug is sound while being small potatoes in the larger picture.