One of the most common reasons we give people, especially young adults and teenagers, to avoid using marijuana in any way is that it is a gateway drug that leads people to try out harder drugs, like heroin or crack. This tends to be fueled by the idea that once a person feels the effects of marijuana, they’ll enjoy it, but want a stronger effect, which then turns them towards harder drugs. Many people who have an addiction to powerful drugs like heroin or meth may have started with marijuana, something that’s usually discovered in the early stages of treatment when they’re sharing their story.

Correlation between two things doesn’t necessarily mean cause, though. While people who have family history of addiction, mental health problems or high stress levels may be more inclined to turn to a harder drug after trying marijuana, there’s no scientific or medical evidence that smoking or ingesting marijuana will absolutely cause someone to try a harder drug. In fact, a large number of people who abuse hard drugs started with nicotine and alcohol when they were underage still. Millions of people have started trying marijuana as legalization sweeps across the country, but not all of those millions of people are turning to cocaine or heroin as well.

People who have family history of addiction, previous addiction problems, mental health concerns or issues with moderation of any substance, whether it’s food, alcohol or drugs, should approach marijuana, even for medical use, with caution. Even though there’s no direct link between marijuana use and trying harder drugs, it can still be a trigger to former addicts, or even for people who’ve never had a problem. Everyone and their bodies handle drugs differently, and that includes marijuana. It may not be a guaranteed gateway to harder drugs, but if you don’t keep yourself in check and stay honest with yourself if you chose to use it, you’re putting yourself at a high risk of developing a problem, either with marijuana or a different drug if you decide to try something else from a dealer instead. Teenagers are especially at risk for this to act as a gateway drug for them, simply because many teenagers don’t understand that their actions and choices now can still have major consequences for them later.


At The Springboard Center, we know that you and your family need a treatment provider you can trust. Incorporating the best of practices we have created a meaningful program to restore health and dignity with quality care and counseling. Call us today for information on how we are serving the Permian Basin: (432) 620-0255