It doesn’t strike people down like pills or heroin does. It doesn’t make the heart explode like cocaine or methamphetamine can. A person in withdrawal from marijuana isn’t screaming in pain. So what makes weed the most dangerous?
Simply because so many people believe that it is harmless. As Richard Adamski, a 30-year marijuana user, put it, “In my strong opinion, cannabis is the most dangerous drug because most people think it isn’t.” Now that he’s stopped consuming cannabis, he says, “I am 66 now and nothing to show for what I’ve done in my life because of marijuana.”
Selling the Idea It’s Harmless
Once a person believes that this drug is harmless, it becomes incredibly hard to change their mind. This is a phenomenon that pro-legalization advocates count on. They know they only have to convince a population that cannabis products should be able to be provided to those who are ill. As soon as they get that idea accepted, medical marijuana laws go on the ballot. Whether this idea is true or not, when enough people accept it, marijuana quickly becomes legal for medical use. Of course, the regulations for qualifying for medical marijuana are hazy and loose in most states. It doesn’t matter. The population has accepted the idea that marijuana is not only harmless, it’s medicine.
Once this belief is instilled in a population, it can skew some people’s thinking in the most astounding ways. For many people, parenting high is a formula for success. If you doubt it, take a look at these couple articles.
This belief in harmlessness can lead to some misguided thinking. A school administrator in Spokane, Washington told the story of a student who had a bag of marijuana confiscated from her. The student’s mother came to the school and asked for her bag of marijuana back because, after all, it belonged to her and not her daughter. No, she didn’t get her wish.
Is It a Gateway Drug?
Then there’s the gateway effect. At one time, it was widely believed that that tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana served as gateways to the use of harder, more dangerous and addictive drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. So is it true? Are these actually gateway drugs?
It depends on the delicate balance of your terminology. For example, can it be proven that marijuana use causes a person to go on to use heroin or another deadly drug? No, because so many pot smokers don’t go on to use these other drugs.
However, is there a clear relationship between starting with marijuana (or tobacco or alcohol or all three) and the use of a more dangerous drug? It’s actually pretty easy to prove this relationship exists. All you have to do is ask a group of people in rehab for heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine addiction. What drugs did they start with?
Our law enforcement officers have a chance to ask a broad spectrum of drug users about the drugs they started with. In West Virginia, Sheriff Ralph Fletcher refuses to stop prosecuting marijuana users. He said, “Heroin is our new problem drug… it all starts with marijuana.”
In Ohio, Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Orvis Campbell commented on this gateway effect: “There were countless interviews when you’re speaking to a heroin addict or a meth addict…At that point, most of them regret, as much as anything in their life, trying marijuana.”
In 1994, we weren’t trying to prove causality. It was enough to see this clear relationship. According to an oft-cited study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “Children 12-17 years old who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than children who never used marijuana.” Remember, at that time, cocaine was a very widely used drug so it was a logical drug to use to measure progression to more dangerous drugs.
The Cartel Connection
It can also be argued that the widespread legalization of marijuana in America drove Mexican drug cartels and others to pull out their marijuana crops and plant heroin, bringing us to our current disastrous situation of plentiful heroin supplies and low prices. This relationship was covered in detail in a 2016 Esquire Magazine article. That relationship adds another layer of danger to this drug.
This article could go on for a while, chronicling the dangers of this drug to mind, body, and society but you should get the point now. Yes, it’s not a drug that directly causes a lot of death. But don’t ever let yourself think for a moment that it’s harmless.
Narconon has been educating youth on the truth about marijuana for decades, before, during and since the pro-legalization movement took hold. The basic facts of what marijuana does to a person physically and mentally, as well the false information spread which leads to kids making uneducated decisions, are primary subjects covered in our hard-hitting drug education video Marijuana the Myth. This video is an integral part of the Narconon Drug Education Video Curriculum.