Heavy pot smokers often laugh at the idea that marijuana is addictive, even as they scramble to find more to smoke. And many of these users would get angry if forced to quit and would continue to use even if there were legal ramifications. This addictive situation may not be as bad as alcohol or opiates but does exist. As a result, many people are asking, “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” And the findings seem to indicate that yes, marijuana may be a gateway drug to further experimentation and addiction, one which may require marijuana addiction treatment to beat.
What is a Gateway Drug?
People who are asking, “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” need to understand what this term means. In essence, it is a substance that may trigger people to abuse other, more dangerous substances. Recovery from these new addictions would call for time and dedication at substance abuse treatment and therapy programs. For example, nicotine has been shown to make the brain more susceptible to cocaine addiction. That’s because this substance increases the levels of a certain gene in the brain, one that reacts heavily to cocaine. Other gateway drugs may serve as a normalizing element for those experimenting with drugs. For example, someone may try alcohol, like the effects it produces, and then feel encouraged to seek other substances. And since marijuana is often one of the first substances that many people with lifelong addictions try, specialists have been testing to see if it is, indeed, a gateway drug for heavy dependence.
Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? Yes
When asking, “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” it is essential to know that research is still being done in regard to other drug and alcohol addictions on this subject. And an increasing number of studies have found that adults who smoke marijuana were more likely to abuse alcohol than those who did not smoke pot. Further studies also linked pot to cocaine and nicotine use. The reasons for this type of influence vary but center on the nature of the cannabinoid chemicals inside of marijuana. These chemicals release dopamine when introduced into your body, which can create a higher flush of pleasure than your body can produce. And while marijuana does not produce a physical addiction, this flush of dopamine can make a person’s body more open to addiction to other substances. As a result, a person who may try experimenting with other drugs – such as opiates or cocaine – may find themselves getting hit harder and more quickly with addiction.
Is Treatment Necessary for Marijuana Use?
When asking, “Is marijuana a gateway drug?” you may wonder if you need to quit smoking pot. It might be a good idea because marijuana can also cause emotional struggles that make life harder to manage. But do you need addiction treatment? That all depends on a few different factors. Ask yourself these questions to gauge your therapy needs:
- Have you tried to quit marijuana in the past but continually fail?
- Does marijuana make you feel “normal” when you smoke it?
- When you quit smoking pot, do you feel anxiety, depression, or even nausea?
- Has marijuana caused financial or legal troubles in your life?
- Do you have memory troubles that seem to get worse every time you smoke?
If you answered yes to even a few of these questions, then you may have a marijuana addiction. This health problem is real – and it can lead to further drug use if pot stops working for you the way that it did in the past. Increased tolerance of this type is another sure sign of addiction and one that often triggers experimentation with other types of drugs. As a result, you may need to consider drug rehab therapy right away.
Getting Help Right Away
So, is marijuana a gateway drug? It seems that it could be for many people. So if you are worried about marijuana use potentially leading you to other substances, please contact The Ranch right away to learn more. Our experts have years of experience and will do what it takes to ensure that you get the help that you need to beat substance abuse for good. Call 1.844.876.7680 for professional guidance and treatment when you need it.