Pot Is a Gateway Drug for Teens—or Not
Teens who regularly or occasionally smoke marijuana are more likely to use illegal drugs or other harmful substance by the age of 21, according to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and conducted at the University of Bristol in England. Researchers analyzed data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which has followed women and their children in the U.K. since 1991.
According to the report, teenagers who regularly smoke pot are 26 times more likely to try other drugs, 37 times more likely to be addicted to nicotine, and three times more likely to have harmful drinking habits by the time they are young adults than teens who don’t use pot. Lead study author Michelle Taylor, senior research associate, says the findings of this study suggest the more a person uses marijuana during adolescence, the higher the risk for substance abuse in early adulthood.
This study does not show a cause and effect relationship between teen marijuana use and substance abuse problems in young adults and doesn’t identify reasons for the apparent connection. Previous research on this subject has produced mixed results.