We’ve all heard the lie that cannabis is a gateway drug, but according to a new study conducted at the University of British Columbia, it might actually be the opposite.
Cannabis might be your gateway out of addiction to a dangerous drug. Alcohol is a considerably more dangerous drug than cannabis.
About 13% of people who drink have alcoholic tendencies, and over time, alcohol is likely to cause lasting health issues, like liver and kidney damage and even cancer. But cannabis could actually be an answer to this problem.
“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” said Dr. Zach Walsh, a University of British Columbia associate professor and lead researcher.
“In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points,” says Walsh.
“With the end of prohibition, telling people to simply stop using may no longer be as feasible an option, so knowing how to consider cannabis in the treatment equation will become a necessity.”
Walsh and his team lead a review of the data relating to cannabis and mental health, which makes it one of the most comprehensive reviews about the subject to date.
And, as if we needed a study to prove this, it was observed that “cannabis use does not appear to increase risk of harm to self or others.”
“There is currently not a lot of clear guidance on how mental health professionals can best work with people who are using cannabis for medical purposes,” said Walsh.
Walsh thinks there is scientific evidence that corroborates what many cannabis advocates already know: that the plant can be used to treat symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety.