A ground-breaking study of 4117 marijuana smokers in California1 reveals
that the 'Gateway Theory' probably had it backwards. Instead of enticing
young people to use other drugs, this study suggests that marijuana may have
the opposite effect.
This first-ever clinical examination of a large number of medical marijuana
applicants depicts a population that is remarkably normal. The percentages
earning bachelors' degrees and doctorates are nearly identical to the national
numbers. They are, in the main, productive citizens with jobs, homes and
families who smoke marijuana weekly or daily and have in some cases
For the vast majority of these applicants, their use of cannabis ultimately
led to a decrease in the use of tobacco, alcohol, and hard drugs. Asked to
compare their current alcohol consumption with their lifetime peak, over 10%
claimed to be abstinent and nearly 90% claimed to have cut their drinking in half.
They also report using cannabis as self medication for stress and anxiety
with fewer side effects than the legal pharmaceutical alternatives.
As children, a significant percentage of the male applicants had been
treated for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Today their routine
morning use of minimal amounts of cannabis strongly suggests that it enhances
their ability to concentrate by allowing them to focus on one problem at a time.
As one construction company estimator said, "After two hits and my morning
coffee, I'm the best estimator in the company."