Q. I am hearing about some of the great things that cannabis can do to treat all kinds of ailments, but I don’t hear much about cannabis being a “gateway drug.” Why is that? (M.S. from Columbus, OH)
A: There is some debate about cannabis being a “gateway drug” and leading a person to using hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin or meth. The thought is that using cannabis (and getting high from it) will create a comfort level with drugs that would make a person seek more and stronger ways to get high. And, it is just that – a debate. There is no proof, statistically or through research, that this is the case. Cannabis does not make a person use hard drugs anymore than using Oxycontin after a surgery makes you seek out other opioids. Drug abuse and addiction has a lot more to do with choices, maturity and genetics.
With that said, while cannabis can be used recreationally for the high, our main focus is on it’s medicinal qualities. Remember, also, that a person can benefit from the cannabinoids found in the plant without experiencing the high (see Where’s the Medicine). I would argue, too, that over-the-counter medicines like Benadryl and Nyquil, for example, create a high when used; however, many take them responsibly because of their medicinal effects and never “graduate” to anything more.
While the concern is a real one, understand that this “gateway drug” theory originated decades ago as a way to criminalize cannabis for the political and financial gain of a few.
Q. With so many new dispensaries opening throughout Ohio, is there an easy way to keep up and locate those near me? (S.F. from Toledo, OH)
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