Drugs and Society: Marijuana Dissertation Example

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Drugs and Society: Marijuana as a Gateway Drug Name University Name Drugs and Society: Marijuana as a Gateway Drug Marijuana is often referred to as a gateway drug, meaning that those who use marijuana are more likely than those who do not use marijuana to take up harder drugs, such as cocaine or opioids (Weinberger, Platt & Goodwin, 2017). Research has shown that people who use marijuana are more likely to have an alcohol use disorder than their peers and are also more likely to be addicted to nicotine (Frances, 2006). One reasoning for this is that marijuana usage can change the dopamine reward system in the brain, leading people to seek rewards in other substances (Frances, 2006). These biological mechanisms may mean that someone susceptible to drug abuse issues will seek dopamine rewards to a greater extent than those who are not susceptible and use of marijuana in adolescence heightens this link. Despite this, the vast majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use harder substances, and the findings are similar for those who smoke or drink heavily. This suggests that marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol can all be a gateway drug, but most likely will not be. There are social factors behind this, including the availability of these substances in the individual´s environment. One reason why these may be gateway drugs is that someone who is predisposed to drug abuse may seek out substances that are easier to find (such as marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine products) before they progress to anything harder to find (Frances, 2006). In addition to this, buying marijuana may change the person´s social circle and make it more likely that they will come into contact with others that do harder drugs. Despite this, there is no robust evidence that marijuana is a gateway drug for the vast majority of users. References Frances, R. (2006). A Twin Study of Early Cannabis Use and Subsequent Use and Abuse/Dependence of Other Illicit Drugs. Yearbook Of...
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