Dr. Jessica and Dr. Rachel Knox joined me to talk about the differences between CBD and THC. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2VzlWrz
Biotechnology companies and drug producers are trying to isolate and patent the active chemicals in cannabis, potentially creating new medicines. That has critics raising “bio piracy” fears, as the once-illicit industry becomes mainstream.
At the Hyasynth Biologicals laboratory in Montreal, scientists are working on the latest frontier in the cannabis business: genetically engineering the active ingredients in marijuana and then patenting them.
This new study picked up right where the conclusion of the previous research left off, by seeking to show that an increased focus on the dangers of alcohol in drug education programs would reduce the likelihood that a teenager would start down a path of drug addiction.
The researchers concluded that “Alcohol is the most commonly used substance, and the majority of polysubstance-using respondents consumed alcohol prior to tobacco or marijuana initiation. Respondents initiating alcohol use in sixth grade reported significantly greater lifetime illicit substance use (M = 1.9, standard deviation [SD] = 1.7, p < .001) and more frequent illicit substance use (M = 6.0, SD = 6.5, p < .001) than those initiating alcohol use in ninth grade or later. Overall, effect sizes for these differences were large (eta squared = 0.30 and 0.28, respectively).”
According to the study’s co-author, Adam E. Barry, the later in life that a person consumes alcohol, the less likely they are to abuse drugs. Also, it seems that in most cases, alcohol and tobacco use comes earlier in life than the use of marijuana.
“By delaying the onset of alcohol initiation, rates of both licit substance abuse like tobacco and illicit substance use like marijuana and other drugs will be positively affected, and they’ll hopefully go down,” Barry said in an interview with Raw Story after the first study.
Barry said that his studies were intended to correct some of the propaganda that has infected American culture since the “Reefer Madness” era.
“Some of these earlier iterations needed to be fleshed out, that’s why we wanted to study this. The latest form of the gateway theory is that it begins with [marijuana] and moves on finally to what laypeople often call ‘harder drugs.’ As you can see from the findings of our study, it confirmed this gateway hypothesis, but it follows progression from licit substances, specifically alcohol, and moves on to illicit substances,” Barry said.
“So, basically, if we know what someone says with regards to their alcohol use, then we should be able to predict what they respond to with other [drugs]. Another way to say it is, if we know someone has done [the least prevalent drug] heroin, then we can assume they have tried all the others. I think [these results] have to do with level of access children have to alcohol, and that alcohol is viewed as less harmful than some of these other substances,” Barry added.
It is important to note that in the conclusion of the most recent study, the researchers also seem to advocate for drug testing teenagers and even elementary school students.
“Findings underscore the importance of screening for substance use, even among youth enrolled in elementary/middle school. In addition, school prevention programs should begin in elementary school (third grade) and target alcohol use,” the text of the study said.
While this research is certainly informative, the very idea of a “gateway drug” could be entirely flawed to begin with. Perhaps our society has a “gateway drug effect” because we have a very rudimentary and immature perspective on drugs. As we grow, we are taught that “drugs are bad” and to “stay away from drugs,” which gives the impression that all drugs are on equal ground in terms of danger and physical harm.
Obviously, this is not the case, some drugs are very safe while others are very harmful. To make matters even more confusing, illegal drugs are often less harmful than the legal ones. Perhaps it is this mentality that creates the “gateway drug effect.” According to David Nutt’sbreakthrough study “Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse,” alcohol is more dangerous than crack or heroin, while psychedelics and cannabis are some of the safest psychoactive substances in popular use.