Is marijuana a gateway drug?

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Marijuana is the most popular and easily accessible illegal drug in the U.S. today. So people who have used less accessible drugs (heroin, cocaine, LSD) are likely to have first accessed marijuana and other more accessible drugs, including alcohol. But the use of one does not cause the use of another.

Most people who try marijuana never go on to use any other illegal drug, and the vast majority of those who do try another drug don’t become dependent on it, or go on to have associated problems.

For most people, marijuana is an endpoint in drug use rather than a so-called “gateway drug.” New evidence suggests that marijuana can even serve as an “exit drug,” helping people to reduce or eliminate their use of more harmful drugs such as opiates or alcohol by easing withdrawal symptoms

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People deserve accurate, non-judgmental information about marijuana and other drugs

In order to stay safe, we need to understand both the effects of drugs and the policies that surround them.

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Shelley's Story

Marijuana: The Facts

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) supports information and polices related to marijuana that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Safety is our top priority, especially when it comes to young people.
 
This booklet provides brief answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions about marijuana. We hope it will help you better understand this plant and its effects.