Cannabis Is Not A 'Gateway' And Stops People Doing 'Harder' Drugs, Study Finds
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The debate over the pros and cons of legalising cannabis has been drawn out for years now.
The class B drug will currently land you up to five years in prison for possession, and up to 14 years for supply and production.
On both sides of the argument there are valid points. Many claim that there are 'harder' drugs out there (the likes of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and crystal meth) that could cause greater damage.
For others it promotes a counterculture, and presents a challenge to both government and social order - which are factors in its demonisation.
However, new research has shown that cannabis may actually provide a stopping point for those who get involved in drugs, discouraging them from trying those 'harder' substances.
Researchers from the University of New Mexico have published findings into understanding the effectives of cannabis as a pharmacological agent to rival prescription drugs.
The study looked at 125 chronic pain patients, 83 were enrolled on the cannabis program, 42 elected not to smoke marijuana.
They compiled five years' worth of data, and found that 34 percent (28 people) of the cannabis users stopped using their prescribed medication altogether, compared to just two percent (or one person) of the non-smokers.
Lead author, and psychology professor, Jacob Miguel Vigil, told Konbini: "Our current opioid epidemic is leading preventable form of death in the US - killing more people than car accidents and gun violence.
"Therefore, the relative safety and efficacy of using cannabis in comparison to that other scheduled medication should be taken by the health providers and legislators."
He added that opioids (such as painkillers and street heroin) killed 500,000 Americans between 2000 and 2015, and claims the lives of 90 people per day - all linked the dependency and overdosing.
His team are now looking into 'naturalistic studies' to see how older patients are affected by their use of opioids, and how medical cannabis can be used to treat expensive health conditions.
However, not everyone agreed with the study. LADbible asked for people's opinions on Twitter.
Jack Clark said: "I never would've stepped up to class A's without using skunk first."
Peter Cooper responded: "Don't blame your own lack of control on cannabis. People smoke for years stepping up to harder drugs. Blame your social circles."
Certainly, one LAD who can help with that research is Deryn Blackwell. Seven years ago, the 17-year-old was diagnosed with a rare disease - so rare that only five people in the world currently have it.
Blackwell was diagnosed with leukaemia and Langerhans cell sarcoma and was the only known person to have both diseases at the same time.
Yet when his mum, Callie, gave him cannabis medically, Deryn made a miraculous recovery - every other form of treatment had failed.
The debate continues.