There is a lot of debate out there about whether or not marijuana is a stepping stone drug. If you haven’t heard of this term before, a “stepping stone drug” leads to the use or abuse of other harder drugs. This is also often referred to as a “gateway drug.” The truth is that often those that use marijuana do develop addictive behaviors that lead to the usage of other drugs. Marijuana is indeed a stepping stone drug.
One reason that marijuana users tend to turn to other drugs is that long-term marijuana use can cause addictive tendencies to develop. In fact, studies indicate that long-term usage leads to withdrawal symptoms when users stop smoking marijuana. These symptoms include irritability, the inability to sleep, anxiety, stress and cravings for about 2 weeks. Once these behavior patterns have been established from marijuana addiction, they can lead to other additions as well.
Marijuana users often begin experimenting with harder drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and meth. Oftentimes, addicts seek out other drugs in hopes to heighten the high that they are experiencing with marijuana. The National Institute for Drug Abuse also suggests that marijuana addiction makes the user more susceptible to other drugs through physiological changes in the brain.
Did you know that nearly 2/3 of daily marijuana users have used other drugs in the last year? Obviously, this is a much higher percentage than drug use amongst non-marijuana users. This simple fact alone shows that marijuana use can lead to using other drugs. Daily users of marijuana are at a great risk for using other illegal drugs.
Exposes User to Different Lifestyle
Another reason that marijuana use may lead to the use of other drugs is that users are often exposed to a different lifestyle than non-users. Since recreational marijuana is illegal in many states, users have to turn to drug dealers to buy marijuana. This makes it easier to access other drugs and establishes relationships and associations with those more likely to use or sell other drugs.
Marijuana usage is dangerous on its own. However, when you combine this danger with the fact that marijuana is a stepping stone drug, it becomes much more of a problem. The best way to avoid potential drug problems is to just avoid any illegal drugs in general. The fact of the matter is that once you develop a marijuana addiction, it can cause a wide variety of issues in your life.