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Study Finds Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Is the Biggest Gateway Drug For Teens

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the can-of-worms dept.

Medicine 459

An anonymous reader writes with news of a study out of the University of Florida which found that alcohol is the biggest "gateway" drug, the use of which increases the likelihood of other drug use. Quoting: "In the sample of students, alcohol also represented the most commonly used substance, with 72.2 percent of students reporting alcohol consumption at some point in their lifetime. Comparatively, 45 percent of students reported using tobacco, and 43.3 percent cited marijuana use. In addition, the drug use documented found that substance use typically begins with the most socially acceptable drugs, such as alcohol and cigarettes, then proceeds to marijuana use and finally to other illegal, harder drugs. Moreover, the study showed that students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood — up to 16 times — of licit and illicit substance use."

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459 comments

Wow (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620711)

Somebody please tag this "obvious".

Re:Wow (3, Interesting)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about 2 years ago | (#40621001)

I wonder if it's a coincidence that this came out within two weeks of the death of the asshole [celebstoner.com] who was widely credited with originating this propaganda.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#40621393)

My first thought exactly.

Also, Alcohol is a lot more dangerous than Marijuana, causing aggression (in some), loss of control, impaired motor functions coupled with a sense of still being in control, liver cirrhosis, cancer and brain damage.

On the side of Marijuana, there is a slight lung cancer risk and a moderate risk of depressions. In fact, the damage law enforcement does is probably more significant then what the stuff itself does.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621711)

Agression and loss of control is likely linked.

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621907)

Correlation does not imply causation.
Don't make me search for a gay party video.

Re:Wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621863)

I smoke a ton of weed and wouldn't care if they made baby food out of it, but it can trigger psychotic episodes in mentally ill people.

Re:Wow (5, Informative)

RogL (608926) | about 2 years ago | (#40622009)

I smoke a ton of weed and wouldn't care if they made baby food out of it, but it can trigger psychotic episodes in mentally ill people.

Everyday life can trigger psychotic episodes in mentally ill people.
So can odd noises, squirrels, religion and the voices that only they hear.

Re:Wow (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | about 2 years ago | (#40621947)

done

Makes sense (2)

DL117 (2138600) | about 2 years ago | (#40620717)

I started smoking weed far before I ever had a beer. Alcohol's what's being put on a pedestal, so people seek it out.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620875)

Put another way, it's your parent's alcohol and their attitude toward it that's the gapeway to addiction.

Your environment plays a bigger role in your development than your genetics, as long as you have a reasonably well constructed (average) ontogeny.

Re:Makes sense (3, Funny)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | about 2 years ago | (#40621019)

the gapeway to addiction

Is that like being addicted to goatse? If so, then no thank you!

Re:Makes sense (2)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | about 2 years ago | (#40621173)

stop assuming. you have no idea what this person's parents' attitudes and behavior toward alcohol were. i also started smoking weed long before trying alcohol, but my parents were against both and used neither. sometimes people just make informed choices for themselves, try something, and decide if they like it or not.

Re:Makes sense (3, Interesting)

Mal-2 (675116) | about 2 years ago | (#40621903)

Over a decade ago, I used to get my weed through a guy who wasn't yet 21. He was dealing to pay to go to college without having to hold down a job at the same time. Every time I'd go to pick up from him (and I found he did this to several other over-21 clients as well), he made us go to the liquor store and buy him beer as part of his payment. His mother knew he was dealing, and why so many people came around, but I think she had decided that was better than joining a gang or failing his classes because he was working all night flipping burgers. She also didn't seem to have a problem with him drinking, but she refused to buy alcohol for him. (She did, however, smoke his weed.)

There was another guy who I bought from, who liked to shoot the rats that ran across the cables outside his balcony. Since it was just a BB gun, all it ever did was knock the rats off the wire. It was only about a 10 foot drop, and they'd bounce off the ground and climb back up again. Then he'd shoot them again.

Not how the board game works. (4, Funny)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | about 2 years ago | (#40620721)

Who goes straight from the soda pop to the joint? That's pretty messed up. It's like a board game. First you. Must land on the bud light square, then the tequila square, and probably the abusing prescription drugs square.

duh (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620729)

I was drunk first time I ever smoked.

Re:duh (5, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#40621325)

I was sober the first time I ever tried alcohol.

Additional story tag (5, Insightful)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about 2 years ago | (#40620731)

This should be tagged #noshitsherlock. Seriously, the only reason pot is demonized is because the tobacco and booze industries own too many politicians (and vice-versa).

the reason is racism, exoticism, fear of unknown (5, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40621069)

granddaddy's granddaddy was a proper wifebeating drunk in ireland or germany. alcohol is a familiar. therefore it's ok

meanwhile, look at these mexicans and their loco weed! scary otherness! outlaw that stuff!

seriously. this is the reason marijuana is illegal in the usa:

The first group of states to have marijuana laws in that part of the century were Rocky Mountain and southwestern states. By that, I mean Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana. You didn't have to go anywhere but to the legislative records to find out what had motivated those marijuana laws. The only thing you need to know to understand the early marijuana laws in the southwest and Rocky Mountain areas of this country is to know, that in the period just after 1914, into all of those areas was a substantial migration of Mexicans. They had come across the border in search of better economic conditions, they worked heavily as rural laborers, beet field workers, cotton pickers, things of that sort. And with them, they had brought marijuana.

          Basically, none of the white people in these states knew anything about marijuana, and I make a distinction between white people and Mexicans to reflect a distinction that any legislator in one of these states at the time would have made. And all you had to do to find out what motivated the marijuana laws in the Rocky mountain and southwestern states was to go to the legislative records themselves. Probably the best single statement was the statement of a proponent of Texas’ first marijuana law. He said on the floor of the Texas Senate, and I quote, "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them crazy." Or, as the proponent of Montana's first marijuana law said, (and imagine this on the floor of the state legislature) and I quote, "Give one of these Mexican beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the bullring at Barcelona."

http://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/dpf/whitebread05.html [druglibrary.org]

Re:the reason is racism, exoticism, fear of unknow (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621105)

Also 1920s: “Makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” —H.J. Anslinger, Bureau of Narcotics

http://www.uccs.edu/~rmelamed/Physics%20of%20Life/Homepage/Marijuana%20and%20Racism.html

Re:Additional story tag (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#40621533)

If pot were decriminalized the cigarette and alcohol companies would be positioned perfectly to capitalize.

Re:Additional story tag (2)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#40622005)

No they're not. Marijuana is too easy to produce in finished form. They'd have to continue to outlaw the private production of it, and that would be incredibly difficult for politicians to rationalize (much less enforce) once the drug itself was legal.

Alcohol and tobacco are easier to control because production of a high quality finished product is much more difficult.

Re:Additional story tag (4, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 2 years ago | (#40621791)

If we're going to assume conspiracy, put down the DEA, prisons, and drug cartels as behind it too, since they all benefit (speaking of which anyone who talks about 'securing the border' but opposes legalization is an absolute tool).

I think the real reason is simply that too many people think that legalizing cannabis is condoning drugs and criminals and reefer madness and stupid potheads like Carl Sagan and will cause an unacceptable increase in crime and all this negative imagery, while outlawing alcohol is anti-freedom because it is your right to get drunk and its acceptable some people get flattened by drunk drivers in a free society. I'm not saying it makes any sense whatsoever, but I think it is a more plausible explanation than blaming alcohol and tobacco companies (and I've heard pharmaceutical companies blamed too) companies, unless you have evidence that it is actually happening. Not saying I'd be surprised, I know some of the original push involved paper industry money IIRC that didn't want competition from hemp fiber, just that I'd like hard proof it is corruption as opposed to politicians simply catering to irrationality.

Re:Additional story tag (3, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#40622031)

I'm certain there's a lot of insider influence, but I'd also agree there's a lot of "stupid" and "tradition" going on as well to maintain the status quo.

Thank you, Captain Obvious. (3, Insightful)

RatBastard (949) | about 2 years ago | (#40620749)

Anyone who's grown up around people with substance abuse problems already knows this. Everyone I know with drug issues started out with alcohol issues.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40620961)

Which doesn't necessarily mean that alcohol is some magic gateway drug, (correlation does not imply causation) but that people with substance abuse problems naturally gravitate first to legal (and hence more easily acquirable) substances.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (3, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | about 2 years ago | (#40621505)

It's more post hoc, ergo proper hoc (after that, therefore because of that). Just because someone tried drug X first does not mean taking drug X caused the person to begin taking other drugs. The very idea of a magic "gateway drug" that if we could get people to stop using would cause people to no longer abuse drugs is ludicrous. It's just a way of making marijuana look bad, because that's been the purported gateway drug for decades. I think alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and aspirin are more likely to be the first drug someone has taken rather than marijuana.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40622045)

Exactly. I know people with major alcohol abuse problems who have never tried or wanted to try another drug. I also know people with lesser, but still very noticeable, alcohol problems who have tried and regularly used weed without any repercussions.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#40621017)

And everyone I know with drug issues hates alcohol but swears by weed. Gee, isn't it great that there's this thing called science to tell us whose anecdote better reflects reality?

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621311)

Anyone who's grown up around people with substance abuse problems already knows this. Everyone I know with drug issues started out with alcohol issues.


Alcohol Issues?

When I was 16, I was buying wine & hard liquor in upstate NY using a fake draft card (back in the day). I didn't have any alcohol issues until my family moved to the South, where the legal drinking age was 21 YO. When my ~ 12 bottle (fifths) of imported NY hooch ran out, I had mixed results getting others (strawman) to buy liquor for me. One of the classmates I drank with shared some cannabis with me, and I switched over. From that time to this, I drink alcohol (always in moderation) only when cannabis isn't available. And I've never had any problems starting, stopping, quitting any other illicit drug -- but then I never took crack, coke, meth, pcp, or heroin -- those, like many prescription drugs, are harmful.

None of the illicit psychedelic drugs are addictive, nor are harmful when taken in moderation. Cannabis is really in a special case -- mood-altering but not psychedelic, non-addictive, and non-harmful in any conceivable quantity. With cannabis, the very worst that could happen is that you get the munchies or fall asleep -- unless you get arrested.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621641)

You have clearly never done gravity bongs of KGB loaded with honey oil.

It's very possible to OD on pot, you puke and wish you were dead. It's actually kind of easy to do if you eat too much. Not fatal.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621679)

I dunno. I smoke a lot of weed, and I can't say for certain that it can't be "harmful". Also, there's pretty compelling evidence linking it to schizophrenia (something I'm not particularly worried about personally, given that any likely damage was probably caused by a course of Isotretinoin when I was a teenager).

So far as addiction is concerned, I think there's a risk of psychological addiction to anything mood altering. Hell, I used to go crazy for chocolate before I even smoked. Also, I find the detox period for weed... dissuasive. Not a killer, mind, but I don't find it pleasant.

In general though, I do prescribe to the "don't do drugs, just weed" mentality. It's by far the least damaging and most easily satisfying of all substances.

I think if we lived in crazy upside-down world where weed was the prominent recreational substance instead of alcohol, we'd live in happier times.

Re:Thank you, Captain Obvious. (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#40621703)

I've always maintained that the problem is the person, not the substance. Those who abuse drugs (of any kind) are usually carrying emotional or mental health issues they are trying to mask or self medicate through the use of those substances. Alcohol can turn people into assholes, but not everyone turns into an asshole with alcohol. The same goes for other drugs. In fact, people who become sociopaths or who ruin their (or others') lives through substance abuse are the exception and not the rule. There are a lot of people who have smoked pot in their teens and who have never touched it again. There are many, many people who drink regularly and don't beat their wives and children. But there will always be some element of society that loves to hop on one or two unfortunate examples to use them to bully others - because they like telling people what to do. These are the ones who think you should live the way they live because, of course, they are the ones who are right.

But don't you see.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620753)

Alcohol and Tobacco are legal! So, they can't be gateway drugs! Therefor, Marijuana is the worst gateway drug and shouldn't be legal!

gateway (4, Insightful)

bs0d3 (2439278) | about 2 years ago | (#40620793)

studies also show that nearly 100% of hardcore drug users have previously tried water before moving on. the connection is there is no such thing as a gateway drug but every hysterical person on the planet seems to believe that there is.

Re:gateway (3, Informative)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about 2 years ago | (#40620911)

Bearing in mind that I *agree* with decriminalizing marijuana, you apparently don't understand how studies like this work. If 10% of people who use Substance A end up with Problem X but 80% of people who use Substance B end up with Problem X, there's reason to suggest a link. Yes, correlation is not causation and those aren't actual statistics; I'm speaking hypothetically here. My point is they didn't just randomly pick two events and abitrarily decide they are connected.

They could still be totally wrong, of course, but that's what they do the studies to find out.

Re:gateway (1)

bs0d3 (2439278) | about 2 years ago | (#40621059)

but in such a case as trying to connect these items for something that we previously believe in however untrue, the correlation would be just as strong with any 2 randomly picked items

Re:gateway (1)

smartr (1035324) | about 2 years ago | (#40621739)

I said no to alcohol, because my granddady's an alcoholic. I said no to weed, because I hate stoners and I don't buy into that non-addictive nonsense. Then I was given the opportunity to free-base crack cocaine and I just said take all my money I need my CRACK!!!

Re:gateway (2)

swillden (191260) | about 2 years ago | (#40621091)

studies also show that nearly 100% of hardcore drug users have previously tried water before moving on. the connection is there is no such thing as a gateway drug but every hysterical person on the planet seems to believe that there is.

But nearly 100% of non-users have also previously tried water. This means there is no correlation between water consumption and hardcore drug usage. That's not at all the same sort of relationship that this study finds between alcohol and drugs.

Re:gateway (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621097)

Forget the water - it's mild stuff. The real bad things are tomatoes. Evil stuff. man. Did you know that everyone who has ever eaten a tomato has died or will die later in life? Makes you think, doesn't it ... ? .. and then there are some people who can't even pronounce the word correctly ... !!

Re:gateway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621103)

Water?! This fact should be added to dhmo.org ASAP to further the warnings about this dangerous substance [dhmo.org] !

PS: /., is it really necessary to tease me with the CAPTCHA "disjoint"?!

Re:gateway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621115)

"Gateway"-anything is just rhetoric.

The fact is that alcohol (and tobacco) is one of our society's legal vices. Pot is not. Sure, at one point in our history, it could have been. Any discussion of "pot is X safer than Y" is moot, because pot is illegal. Everything is a gateway to something, including legal and illegal drugs. When you take that step of saying, "X is illegal, but I'm going to try it anyway," that IS absolutely a gateway to other illegal drugs — just as underage alcohol consumptions is. Which is — surprise! — also illegal.

"Oh, great," you say, "Just because 'The Man' says we shouldn't smoke pot or drink alcohol under 21, we should blindly obey?"

To a certain extent, yes. How would the rule of law work in a free society if EVERYONE always got to decide, based on their own personal belief systems, which laws they should be obliged to obey and which they shouldn't?

How would that work out for society at large? Yes, be vigilant, question authority, and all that. But if you have the attitude that authority and law should always be rejected, or should be rejected when you personally feel like it — well, that is a view that is not compatible with a democratic society based on the rule of law, and even in the frameworks of moral and ethical reasoning, is a decision that has consequences — familial, societal, legal, and otherwise — irrespective of your personal beliefs, love for Mary Jane, etc.

I know this an unpopular position on slashdot — unpopular enough that even though I usually post extremely controversial positions with my account, I'm posting this as AC.

Re:gateway (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621453)

You forgot that laws can be changed--and should be changed if it somehow turns out they are not "just". You had slavery over there, which was believed to be absolutely OK at some time in history. At some point, the view towards slavery changed.

Maybe the general view towards weed will also change, so it is absolutely just and OK to promote it's legalization if somebody desires so. In the meantime, smoking, buying etc. remains illegal, but the decision to use a drug despite it being illegal is a more private decision.

Re:gateway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621161)

The difference is drinking water doesn't make one more likely to try hardcore drugs, but according to this study, alcohol does.

That's why alcohol is considered a gateway, and water not.

Re:gateway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621445)

studies also show that nearly 100% of hardcore drug users have previously tried water before moving on. the connection is there is no such thing as a gateway drug but every hysterical person on the planet seems to believe that there is.


Water can kill you. I'm not talking about drowning in it -- I'm talking about consuming too much water.

Re:gateway (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#40621449)

You have it completely wrong! It is bread that is the problem! Even terrorists have been known to eat bread before their attacks!

So, ban bread and all will be fine.

Re:gateway (0)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#40622015)

The theory is you start with substance that can give you high, is not that dangerous, and is illegal. Now that you have already tried illegal stuff, and on a bad day you could use a higher high, you reach out for more powerful substances that can cause serious physical and mental issues. Water does not give you a high, nor is it illegal, and hence was not part of the study.

"Gateway" theory is still irrelevant (5, Insightful)

wicka_wicka (679279) | about 2 years ago | (#40620801)

The idea of a specific drug being a "gateway" to others is incredibly misleading. Alcohol and weed are the obvious places to start because they're the easiest to obtain. You're going to get to harder drugs eventually if you're that type of person, but no one is just going to start at heroin.

Re:"Gateway" theory is still irrelevant (3, Interesting)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#40620851)

98% percent* of people have taken caffeine at least once in their lifetimes. Clearly, it is the true gateway drug.

(* statistic made up for illustrative purposes.)

Re:"Gateway" theory is still irrelevant (1)

cubby96 (2566085) | about 2 years ago | (#40620937)

Indeed, the idea of a gateway drug is ridiculous and furthermore, these studies usually assume that using one leads directly to another through some correlation-based statistics without substantiating causation. (No I did not RTFA). In my opinion, the real gateway is associating oneself with the kind of people who use and/or can supply you with the illegal/illicit substances. No, I do not have facts to substantiate my assertion.

Re:"Gateway" theory is still irrelevant (2)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#40621133)

I would say that tobacco should be listed as a "the gateway drug" due to it being highly addictive and due to it's place in society and how society uses it. Due to it being highly addictive it changes ones psychological makeup prepping one for further addiction.

Alcohol can be very addicting, but marijuana is only as addictive as masturbation.

In my experience, pot heads who have never smoked tobacco do not go on to harder drugs, while those who have smoked tobacco have a higher rate of addiction to harder drugs later on down the line.

Re:"Gateway" theory is still irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621847)

Meh. Tobacco is A gateway drug, but alcohol is THE gateway drug of choice by most addicts. Tobacco withdrawal is arduous even impossible, but alcohol withdrawal including DTs can be deadly. OTOH cannabis withdrawal is like switching from Bayer aspirin to generic aspirin, or shaving at night instead of in the morning. Sometimes when I am low on tobacco, I will mix it with a bit of ganja until I can get out to buy more. But I have never been inclined to shove speed, coke, or heroin through a needle into my arm, smoke crack cocaine, or use ketamine or pcp in any way, shape, or fashion. I don't think that I am out of the ordinary in this regard.

Re:"Gateway" theory is still irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621773)

no one is just going to start at heroin.

Actually, don't a lot of opiate addicts get hooked by the medical establishment? Odds are they were smoking or drinking before; but that's just odds. I bet there are some people who haven't done anything like that, get in an accident, get some prescription pain killers and then... Boom! Opiate addict. These days it's not heroin. It's more likely to be Oxycontin; but it's in the opiate family.

It is obvious to the educated (5, Insightful)

euroq (1818100) | about 2 years ago | (#40620811)

It may be obvious that marijuana is relatively safe to anyone who actually knows about marijuana and alcohol, or cares to research it, but it isn't to those who don't. People who don't know about it are bombarded with media from the war on drugs and conservatives on how bad marijuana is. They really think smoking pot actually does cause harm to those around them, and it should be easy to understand why, with all of the top-down deception happening in the U.S. and other countries.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620921)

Be careful how you promote this though. There are still people who wish the days of prohibition were back, and that alcohol should be banned as well. It works in some muslim countries.

Personally, I wish congress would pass a law banning alcohol, just to see how the supreme court deals with the obvious logical contradiction that an alcohol ban required an amendment, but a drug ban doesn't. Any way they rule on that, someone is going to look like a complete idiot.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620977)

The only risk with pot is that you're going to turn into one of those fucking annoying cunts who is constantly bitching about hemp and the "textiles industry" as if you give the slightest fuck about "textiles". I don't have a problem with weed, but I could do without 99.98% of the people who smoke it.

Anyway, as to the alcohol versus pot thing... Fucking DUH? I thought this was already a known fact for many years . . . ?

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621921)

Ahh. We have an elitist (00.02%), also one who doesn't care how much his/her clothes cost, or how quickly they wear out. Are you by any chance employed in the Wall Street associated 'financial services' sector? If so, you have bigger problems with addiction to other things ...

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Piata (927858) | about 2 years ago | (#40620979)

Say what you will about alcohol, but drinking a beer or two doesn't make it any harder to run 20 km the following day. I can't say the same for Mary J. Also, it smells terrible.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621187)

Say what you will about alcohol, but drinking a beer or two doesn't make it any harder to run 20 km the following day. I can't say the same for Mary J. Also, it smells terrible.

Have you never had magic brownies? I could run 20km the same day and giggle all the way!

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621417)

Say what you will about alcohol, but drinking a beer or two doesn't make it any harder to run 20 km the following day. I can't say the same for Mary J.

You can't say the same because you never tried? I used to run cross country in high school while high and as a freshman i was running with the Varsity team.

Also, it smells terrible.

shit weed smells like shit, no shit! buy good stuff and guess what, it's good! similar to tobacco. Cigarettes smell like shit because it's usually the shitty left over tobacco. Get a good cigar or pipe tobacco and it's not so bad.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40622035)

I have to agree with you regarding ganja. Actually smoking ganja is an ancient herbal remedy for asthma, since it opens up the lungs' bronchial passageways. Joggers, sprinters, & long distance runners should all benefit from smoking a bit of ganja. Obviously, the parent commenter has never tried MJ before that 'road work'.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621807)

In other words the supposed Protestant work ethic and beer mix, but weed does not.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621087)

It would be nice if you crazy liberals would stop blaming conservatives for everything. Every conservative I have met in my life has smoked Marijuana at some point, 80% actively smoke (well into their old age at that).

Woodrow Wilson started the war on drugs in 1914. Obama signed the NDAA and the recent communications infrastructure takeover bullshit. I'm in no way saying the conservative leadership is free of corruption, far from it - but both sides are corrupt at the top and degrading the argument to a form of bipartisan dispute does nothing but serve to distract from actual issues.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#40621651)

but both sides

There are no both sides. There is only one side. You can elect one party and get the same results as if you would have elected the other party.
Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#40621283)

They really think smoking pot actually does cause harm to those around them...

Pedantically speaking, smoking or burning anything causes some harm to anyone nearby. Lungs weren't really designed to inhale particulates.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (1)

twistofsin (718250) | about 2 years ago | (#40621379)

They really think smoking pot actually does cause harm to those around them...

Pedantically speaking, smoking or burning anything causes some harm to anyone nearby. Lungs weren't really designed to inhale particulates.

They might not have been "designed to inhale particulates" but they are designed to deal with them.

Re:It is obvious to the educated (2)

Kingofearth (845396) | about 2 years ago | (#40621835)

Pedantically speaking, the sun causes cancer, the air around busy roads contains many times as many toxic particulates as air in the woods, and drinking well water could expose you to radioactive Radon.

Marijuana has not been shown to cause cancer, and has a much lower correlation with lung disease than cigarettes. While you are correct that there are some potential harms in smoking weed, they are no where near significant enough to demonize marijuana over. No one brings up the fact that car exhaust can cause lung damage when discussing transportation. In both cases, the harm is there in theory, but isn't significant enough to be of concern in normal circumstances.

What's with all the "Captain Obvious" Comments? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620833)

Science is all about formulating a hypothesis, designing an experiment, performing it, and drawing reasonable conclusions which shape new hypotheses. We shouldn't be saying "WELL DUH," as if they shouldn't have bothered to do the study. Instead we should be happy that we have one more sample of interesting data than we had yesterday.

Also, this isn't the smoking gun that anti-prohibition activists might want. One potential conclusion is that prohibition is working, and that logically we should go ahead and outlaw alcohol and tobacco as well to prevent even more teens from becoming filthy marihuana smokers prone to reefer madness.

Re:What's with all the "Captain Obvious" Comments? (1)

bs0d3 (2439278) | about 2 years ago | (#40620871)

i think today the tobacco smokers are seen as more filthy than any drug users

Re:What's with all the "Captain Obvious" Comments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621029)

Because there is already a mountain of evidence that personality is the primary catalyst of addiction. So a substance which provides a physiological component to addiction (like alcohol or nicotine) is going to fuel an addictive personality, whereas a substance which does not provide a physiological component to addiction (such as marijuana) is not going to fuel such a personality.

It's like pointing out that eggs are less of a gateway drug than alcohol.

Re:What's with all the "Captain Obvious" Comments? (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40622019)

It's obvious because the only thing the study successfully proves is basic economic theory. Alcohol is more accessible, cheaper, advertised; therefore it is more used, and earlier used, than substances which are harder to obtain, expensive, and illegal. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from this data without delving into sensationalist pseudoscience.

Ya think... (1)

OldSport (2677879) | about 2 years ago | (#40620861)

...it has anything to do with the bombardment of advertising there is for booze *everywhere*?

alcohol legal at 21 (most states) / marijunana not (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40620863)

alcohol legal at 21 (most states) / marijunana not.

Re:alcohol legal at 21 (most states) / marijunana (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40620953)

Thanks. Most of us didn't know that.

what about Canada where the age is lower (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40620895)

what about Canada where the age is lower to have a beer.

also in Wisconsin

http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/ise/atundrg.html [wi.gov]

Can children be in a bar with their parents?

Yes. Persons under age 21 may be on licensed premises, and can be sold and allowed to drink alcohol beverages, if they are with their parents, guardians, or spouses, as long as those persons are of legal drinking age; but this is at the discretion of the licensee.

ok, c'mon... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40620907)

Look I'm as willing as anyone to stipulate that the "war on drugs" has been a total bust and a criminal waste of resources. I've told my teenage daughter "the worst thing about pot -- the absolute worst thing -- is what the government can do to you if they catch you with it".

But.

Could the results have anything to do with alcohol being much easier to acquire than pot? This is not an apples - to - apples comparison, and wouldn't have been unless we had never repealed the eighteenth amendment.

Is alcohol really easier for KIDS to get than pot? (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 years ago | (#40621155)

Sure, those of legal age can go into all kinds of stores, bars, or restaurants and get all the booze we want. But the fact that booze is regulated and sold by licensed establishments tends to keep sales to underage buyers fairly low. Sure, teens will still approach strangers to ask them to buy for them, but even that is being cracked down on these days.

The guy selling dime bags doesn't check IDs, and could easily be a friend or schoolmate that travels in the same social circles.

The only time when I have noticed weed being particularly hard to come by is if I am in an unfamiliar area (vacation, etc.), and don't know any other smokers who have local connections. I miss the days of being able to bring a stash with you on a trip, but not since 9/11 has that been particularly easy...

Re:Is alcohol really easier for KIDS to get than p (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40621481)

I disagree. Parents, or relatives, or parents of friends are much MUCH more likely to have alcohol at home than pot. Although this is only a single datapoint, I remember how old I was when I had my first drink -- 12 -- and what it was -- rye whiskey (I didn't like it) -- at a friend's house. Seriously, which is more likely in a randomly selected household -- that we kids had found a bottle or a bag?

It's true that weed is fairly easy to come by, and it's also true that people selling drugs probably don't check ids. (Although I can imagine that a crack dealer might be reluctant to sell to an eleven-year-old.) But why go out looking for a dime bag when grandma has sloe gin in the cupboard? Occam's razor.

Re:Is alcohol really easier for KIDS to get than p (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40621755)

Cause it isn't grandma's first rodeo and she knows how much booze she has? (She's a grandma, not her first teen.)

Re:ok, c'mon... (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40621861)

Here is how the world works:
1. Social science department gets grant from government and special interest groups to do a "study" which will prove something we know.
2. Scientists involved are careful to not make any logical fallacies of starting correlation is causation, but phrase it in such a way as to imply that to those who have difficulty with the concept, in order to get their name in the news.
3. When the study hits the media, all pretense of correlation is thrown out and it is touted as proving some sensationalist point that the yellow journalism outlet wishes to advocate.
4. Special interest group receives donations from all of the parents/churches/etc who are shocked an appalled by the supposed findings of the study. New government agencies are formed to look into the matter.
5. Repeat.

Re:ok, c'mon... (1)

Kingofearth (845396) | about 2 years ago | (#40621933)

That's the whole point most people have been making against the gateway theory to begin with: Of course most people who shoot heroin used marijuana first, marijuana is much easier to get than heroin (and more acceptable). This study just takes it one step further and says "before most people started using even weed, they started with alcohol." I bet if they studied further, they would find that caffeine is the real "gateway drug".

Re:ok, c'mon... (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40621979)

I've even heard stories about people getting high on this gas called "O2". Apparently it's the new thing with the upper class kids. We obviously need to ban it before it gets out of control. No O2 in My America! A world free of O2!

Still Wrong (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40620985)

Caffeine is the true gateway drug, and I can prove it with a single word:



Chocolate.

Re:Still Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621771)

Sugar is the true gateway drug. It affects the brain in a way almost identical to cocaine. Baby-formula manufacturers in the USA add sugar to the substance. This needs to stop, and all sugar banned until the age where a child stops whining "puh-leeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzz".

Which reminds me... (5, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40620991)

...I really could use a drink.

Re:Which reminds me... (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40622041)

Don't do it! In a week you'll be a crack addict on E at a rave somewhere in Thailand!

Wrong message. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621057)

This article sends completely the wrong message. Alcohol is my drug of choice. Therefore its alright. The other drugs are not alright. Its quite simple. To even call alcohol a drug undermines our efforts to stigmatize other drugs. This is irresponsible.

Bullshit. (1, Informative)

jasno (124830) | about 2 years ago | (#40621067)

Lack of proper parenting, poor social skills, hopelessness, and bad luck are the real gateway drugs.

The substances are the symptom in most cases.

In my own personal experience, MJ was the *last* drug I tried.

I call BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621199)

From TFA:

Moreover, the study showed that students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood — up to 16 times — of licit and illicit substance use

All of these activities are illegal in most states for students of high school age.

Some survey respondents will be more paranoid than others, that results may be traced and held against them. Also, there may be a certain element of self-justification and delusion. (For example, if a printed survey asked adults whether they routinely drove 10 mph or more over the posted speed limit, many if most would probably say no). Those who are more comfortable admitting they that consumed alcohol would also be more comfortable about admitting use of other illegal substances. So there's this implicit acknowledgement correlation/bias that is ignored by the researchers.

pfff gateway drugs (1)

AxemRed (755470) | about 2 years ago | (#40621271)

The whole argument about "gateway" drugs is pointless. People are going to try what's available and what they're comfortable with (what their friends use) first and move on from there. There is no "gateway" as much as a natural progression.

Bullshit (0)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40621507)

Moreover, the study showed that students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood — up to 16 times — of licit and illicit substance use.

I would say that students smoking pot have a 100% chance of illegal substance use, I wonder how alcohol could beat that. And as for alcohol becoming a "gateway" this only shows how effectively prohibition managed to reduce marijuana use.

No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621531)

So you're telling me that the drug that is the legal one, the most popular, sold everywhere and advertised on every media is the one most likely to introduce teens to other drugs?

So it's not the illegal drug that is comparatively harder to find and comparatively harder to consume for a newbie?

Get outta here.

Stepping stone theory: from LSD to tobacco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621737)

To me the gateway drug was LSD, after that I tried mushrooms (fly amanite & psylo), next salvia divinorum and finally marijuana.

With the marijuana came tobacco, to which I'm addicted.

Re:Stepping stone theory: from LSD to tobacco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621955)

Makes sense. Given what we know about tobacco you'd have to be trippin' to try it. OK, just kidding. I think some of it has to do with body chemistry. Alcohol feels good to me in moderation; but hangovers discourage me from consuming too much or very often. Pot usually does nothing for me and the illegal aspect of it kept me away. Anesthetics at the dentist office and prescription antidepressants gave me nasty side effects. Those to me are "hard drugs" and the nasty side effects make me not want to try anything hard. I've occasionally smoked ciragrettes while drinking, and have tried other forms of tobacco while sober. They make me feel odd. It's not pleasant, so I didn't get addicted to tobacco. Of all the drugs, alcohol in moderation is the most pleasant and most convenient. There is a bottle of wine here in the house which will be consumed soon. There are no other drugs around unless you count caffeine and chocolate which (surprise, surprise) I find pleasure in consuming.

Long story short. If it feels good enough, and it's easy enogh to get, you'll do it.

Shocking... (1)

bky1701 (979071) | about 2 years ago | (#40621811)

The legal thing is more commonly used than the illegal thing. Next you'll tell me that more injuries are caused due to drinking than pot, without any care for the relative number of people using and/or accessibility of the two compounds.

Brain Washed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621821)

The real point is that alcohol is available and since kids do see adults get a buzz they get the false message that it is OK to get high. From that point on it can get to be a downhill slope with death and misery as the end game. But those who already injected with the notion that it is ok to get high will see this report as some sort of pro pot recommendation. The point to emphasise is that it is not ok to get a buzz, get drunk or get high. Getting high is for cowards who can not face life full on.

Why hard drugs are hard. (4, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#40621837)

The only reason the hard drugs exist is because of prohibition. If you have a black market you want the product to be as potent and easily concealable/transportable as possible. Back in prohibition times most alcohol was as high of a percentage as was easy to distill. The same with coke and heroin. Chewing Coca leaves or making tea are the preferred method of consumption in the south american countries where it is grown and legal. Smoking Opium is preferred over shooting heroin. In the US Caffeine is preferred in beverages. If caffeine was made illegal you can bet there would be a black market for it as a concentrated powder or pill. The reason it's easier to OD on hard drugs is due in part to how concentrated they are and how irregular the concentration of active pharmaceutic is.

Alcohol needs to be banned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40621839)

Alcohol needs to be banned. It's far worse than any other drug I've ever heard of. No other drug kills so many people who aren't even using it (drunk driving, drunken domestic abuse, etc). Unfortunately, it will never work, as proven by the results the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Also, marijuana needs to stay banned. Just because it isn't worse than alcohol doesn't mean it should be permitted.

Agree (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#40621929)

I agree, think about it, most kids have got seriously drunk by the time there 16, most kids don't try pot till post secondary school, so I believe this out right.

FUD all over (1)

deciduousness (755695) | about 2 years ago | (#40622049)

People that say marijuana harms those around through smoke must never have heard of edibles or vaporizing. Don't make the whole argument about a single method, of which there are quite a few. Secondly, obligatory Bill Hicks: "We are losing the war against drugs." You know what that implies? There's a war being fought, and the people on drugs are winning it."
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