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Advocating for Evidence Based Marijuana Policy

Category Archives: Gateway Question

Marijuana users substitute alcohol at 21

Marijuana users substitute alcohol at 21

July 7, 2015
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. (2015, July 7). Marijuana users substitute alcohol at 21. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 8, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150707120441.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
A recent study looked at marijuana and alcohol use in people between the ages of 18 and 24. It’s probably not surprising that the results show a drastic increase in alcohol consumption in people just over 21; after all, that’s the minimum legal age to drink. What an economist-researcher found remarkable is that, at the same age, there was an equally dramatic drop in marijuana use.

Journal Reference:
Benjamin Crost, Santiago Guerrero. The effect of alcohol availability on marijuana use: Evidence from the minimum legal drinking ageJournal of Health Economics, 2012; 31 (1): 112 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.12.005

No Apparent Substitution Effect in Colorado Opioid Deaths

WTR-RI Research and Analysis Team Note: Proponents of Marijuana Legalization of Marijuana Use suggest it will lead to a substitution effect and that persons struggling with Heroin and Prescription Opioids will switch to MJ.  According to a Colorado Public Radio (CPR) report this has not been the case.  Below are links to the CPR report’s transcript and to a SAMSHA chart showing trends in Colorado’s college age MJ use.

Chart: Colorado among states with growing heroin, prescription drug abuse problem


Past Month College Age 2014 Samsa-PDF

Generalizability of clinical trials for cannabis dependence to community samples

Generalizability of clinical trials for cannabis dependence to community samples

Mayumi Okudaa, Deborah S. Hasinab, Mark Olfsona, Sharaf S. Khana, Edward V. Nunesa, Ivan Montoyac, Shang-Min Liua, Bridget F. Grantd, Carlos Blancoa

In Drug and Alcohol Dependence:  Volume 111, Issues 1–2, 1 September 2010, Pages 177–181

WTR-RI Research & Analysis Team Note:

This study of 43,093 US Adults explored how ‘generalizable’ the results of “tightly controlled” clinical trials may be.  The researchers indicate that these studies often exclude many subjects with cannabis dependence because they do not meet common eligibility requirements.  The complete abstract and complete article can be found at


Risk of marijuana’s ‘gateway effect’ overblown, new research shows

Risk of marijuana’s ‘gateway effect’ overblown, new research shows

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, Sept 2, 2010)  University of New Hampshire. (2010, September 2). Risk of marijuana’s ‘gateway effect’ overblown, new research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 9, 2014 fromwww.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100902073507.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
New research shows that the “gateway effect” of marijuana — that teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to move on to harder illicit drugs as young adults — may be overblown.

Journal Reference:
Karen Van Gundy, Cesar Rebellon. A Life-course Perspective on the ‘Gateway Hypothesis’.Journal of Health and Social Behavior, September 2010

Study adds to evidence that cigarettes are gateway to marijuana


Study adds to evidence that cigarettes are gateway to marijuana

Source:  (As reported in ScienceDaily, March 5, 2013)  American Academy of Pediatrics. (2013, May 5). Study adds to evidence that cigarettes are gateway to marijuana. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 9, 2014 fromwww.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130505073742.htm

ScienceDaily Summary:
Teen smokers who rationalize their use of cigarettes by saying, “At least, I’m not doing drugs,” may not always be able to use that line.  New research supports the theory that cigarettes are a gateway drug to marijuana.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics.


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