Is cannabis a gateway drug?

There is no evidence to conclusively support that cannabis is a gateway drug, there are variable factors reported related to drug use in general. For example, socioeconomic status, education level, access to an unregulated illegal black market, etc. Although, cannabis is categorized as an “entry level drug”.

In fact, there are studies now that show cannabis use as an “exit drug” instead, for treatment use of major addictions such as opioids. In some cases, cannabis can work as an effective replacement therapy for addictive substances such as opioid painkillers (Powell et al., 2018) and cocaine (Socias et al., 2017).

Is cannabis more dangerous than tobacco?

In Public Health, tobacco use is categorized as having a higher risk of body harm than cannabis use. In a study done in the UK, cannabis use demonstrated a harm score 6 points lower than that of tobacco (Nutt et al., 2010).

How does smoking cannabis affect the lungs?

Smoking cannabis can increase mucus production, bronchoconstriction and cause chronic cough, sore throat, chest tightness, difficulty breathing and increases risk of infections (Schrot & Hubbart., 2016).

What are the effects of inhaling second-hand smoke?

Studies done on this topic have shown that being in close proximity, in an enclosed space leads to THC levels entering the bloodstream of non-smokers, although levels are significantly lower than that of the smoker. Follow up studies also show mild impairments on performance in motor tasks. Although not as much research has been done to test the risk of effects on the heart and lungs of second-hand cannabis smoke. One study in 2016 performed on rats showed that second hand cannabis smoke led to impaired flow-mediated dilation and this impairment lasted longer than cigarette second hand smoke. NIDA, 2018

Can cannabis use lead to withdrawal systems if I stop using cannabis?

Because cannabis has an addiction potential of its own it can be associated with tolerance, dependence and withdrawal syndromes. The risk of addiction is 9 to 11% (Schrotz et al,. 2016).