According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 60% of pot users go on to try other drugs. Many anti-pot individuals see this as proof for the “gateway drug” theory, which hypothesizes that use of less deleterious drugs like marijuana can lead to a future risk of using more dangerous hard drugs like heroin. However, according to several studies reported in The Atlantic, 88% of drug users started with alcohol, therefore preceding marijuana.

“Marijuana isn’t a ‘gateway’ to harder drugs in the same way that ordering an appetizer isn’t a ‘gateway’ to an entree: One comes before the other, but you’re eating both because you’re already at the restaurant,” The Atlantic explained.

According to High Times:

[su_quote]Miriam Boeri, a sociology professor at Bentley University does not believe one type of drug use leads to another. In an article for The Conversation, she pointed out that poverty, mental illness and peer group pressure are all much stronger predictors of drug use.

Scientist Denise Kandel of Columbia University, who coined the term “gateway drug,” told NPR last week that she recently published a new paper on the topic, which shows nicotine is biologically the most potent gateway of all. When rodents were primed with nicotine, then given cocaine, they liked the cocaine much more. [/su_quote]

In an AC360 interview, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “I don’t think it is a gateway drug. I mean to the extent that implies your body somehow changes and that you now crave other drugs as the result of trying marijuana, I don’t think that’s true. The science doesn’t back that up. People that get marijuana illicitly are often coming in contact with situations where they’re exposed to other drugs. And that may explain in part why they go on to heroin or cocaine or something like that.”

In other words, correlation does not imply causation.

But if it did, then is this the result of marijuana?