Question: Do you think pot is a Gateway drug?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had an interesting conversation with a few college students about this topic. I'm wondering how you feel. They said they'd allow their kids to smoke pot if they were parents. Of course they AREN'T parents yet ;)
    I know my daughter who did take drugs started with pot and moved on rather quickly. I certainly wouldn't allow it in my house, just as no way are underage kids drinking in my house (and I'd probably report anyone who allowed either if my kid was there). The "pot is better than alcohol" argument seems really popular with the college crowd. In a way, I agree. But I think NOTHING is better than both. These are not bad kids. They get ok grades. So...ring on your opinion :D
     
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    For YEARS I tried to convince the world that pot was just not that bad. I went to rallies to legalize marijuana and everything. When I was a kid, it certainly was my gateway drug. When I started using it again as an adult, I did not go on to use anything harsher, but instead I relied on it heavily to get through the day. In that case, it was as bad or worse than drinking or even some harsher drugs.

    I know that my brother used pot daily for 15 years and never did anything more than that.

    I think that pot has the potential of being a gateway drug for people who have addictive personalities. Some people use it casually and never really have a problem with it. So I think it depends on the person.

    Interesting topic, anxious to hear other opinions.
     
  3. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I think pot is in the category with alcohol and cigarettes. For normal people with no problems, it can be just another recreational drug with no particular consequences. (although to say smoking ANYTHING has no particular consequences ignores what it is doing to your lungs, etc).
    For people who are going to get hooked on SOMETHING, pot is probably a gateway drug.
    I came of age in the 60s when pot came into general use. I know people who used it occasionally and got straight A's, got responsible jobs and kept them, and have smoked pot regularly (but not OFTEN) for 40 years and who are fine. I know other people who went from pot to LSD to cocaine to whatever else they could get their hands on and who ruined or lost their lives.
    Did I allow my kids to smoke pot in my house? Never (although I know they did smoke it when I was not around). I don't feel that makes me a particular hypocrite as I also did not allow them to drink in my house and I did not allow them to smoke in my house until they could do so legally. Pot never became legal so it was never allowed.
    In the back of my mind I've had this debate for a lot of years about whether pot should be legalized. On the one hand, I am sure it is no worse (and maybe not as bad) as alcohol and cigarettes. On the other hand, I just don't see how adding another way to mess up your life to the list of legally available agents is a good thing. My head says it might be a good idea but my heart just won't go along.
     
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My answer is so wishy washy...lol.

    No, I do not think that pot is ALWAYS a gateway drug. I know people in their mid-30's and 40's who have never moved on from pot. They like the mellow high pot gives them or in some cases, how it enables them to function day to day in their crazy lives - I should point out that these people would have likely been diagnosis'ed with ADHD as teens! I know a few people also in their later adult years who started with pot, sort of drifted into cocaine use and then went back to just pot and continue to do so. I know people who use pot on a simply recreational basis -at parties, a few times a year.

    And then I know a lot of people who smoked it as a teen and then grew out of it (that would be me). I know still others who tried it a few times and it wasn't for them. My sister knows, grows and allows her kids to smoke pot, always has, thinks she's hip and cool and never thought it was harmful in any way. This is the sister whose son is now addicted to barbituates and has another daughter who is a blossoming alcoholic and whose middle daughter just smokes pot, occasionally, more often than not.

    My feeling is that it depends on the person and *possibly* the upbringing. I think that if a parent is too accepting about their kids smoking pot then they may be more likely to develop a drug or alcohol problem simply because they were led to believe it's 'harmless'. And then, being here (at CD) for so many years has taught me that so much in our children's development is chemical and completely out of our hands so it may just be a brain chemical thing.

    They say that alcoholism runs in families. It supposedly runs in mine. My maternal grandfather, my father, my maternal uncles, my paternal aunts and uncles, my brother, my sister, two nephews and now I suspect one niece. In our home, drug use and alcohol, no matter how minimal the use, has always been discussed as a very serious topic. My exh is a super pothead and as the girls progressed into adolescence it was no secret so I've been able to use him as an example. I've even asked exh to have a chat with difficult child at one point (last year) about pot use and how it can really mess with your life all by itself without being a gateway drug - but of course he pointed out instead how he smokes a little each day and said, "Look at me - I'm okay! Your mom is just worried" (yeah, he's okay all right!). He neglected to point out how his drug use played a very big role in our breakup and with being poor, losing his family, moving 4 times in one year, living on church food, losing jobs and living in a hovel. But I'm getting off track -lol.

    So, my answer is "it depends" on the family's attitudes, history, and the chemical makeup of the person using.
     
  5. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    For some people it is. For others, it probably is not.

    I live in Michigan, and we just passed legislation to legalize pot for medicinal purposes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
     
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I am with the wishy washy crowd. For some it is, and others it isn't. I do think pot is less harmful than alcohol. Know anyone who goes out and gets stoned and gets ina fight? Not near as many as those who get drunk and get in fights. Marijuana does have some medical uses(I have had pt's use it for pain and to increase appetitie). In Oregon we have had medical marijuana for many years, and usually you have to go see a special doctor to get a prescription. I am sure many probably sell some of their medical marijauna, but how many people sell their prescription pain pills? I know people do. I don't have a problem with it, but it is interesting when people bring it to the hospital with them. Gets everyone all fired up.
     
  7. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    No, but if you have the addictive personality, it surely could be.

    Being a child of the 60's, did I smoke it on a recreational basis. And I did dabble in other stuff, not because I smoked pot, but I was just curious and did it just to see. I, for one, never cared for not being in control of myself, so it all was a once or twice thing on other stuff.

    We have Medical Mari here - and of course difficult child has an RX for it. sigh..But I would rather see him stoned than drunk

    Marcie
     
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm with Muttmeister and others who've said that it CAN be if you are predisposed or have issues that would cause you to escalate your drug use.

    I used it for a short time as a teenager to rebel against and escape the emotional problems caused by an unstable and verbally abusive father (who, by the way, is the person I stole the pot from). Had it not been for my depression and anxiety from living in the kind of home I was in, I am certain I would not have tried it.
     
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think I'd rather have my kid use pot once in a while than get hooked on cigarettes. That's one nasty habit with all sorts of horrible ramifications for your future health.
    I don't like any of the three though. I'd rather be around somebody spaced on pot than drunk anyday, given the choice. And I think it's silly to put people in jail for smoking it.
     
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I figure it this way...
    Even if pot ISN'T physically addictive (as some have claimed), that it leads to a mindset. If it's okay to smoke pot, then it's also okay to break other rules and break other laws. It tends to suggest that obeying the law is optional, or situational.

    I think that's the danger.

    Many people can walk the line without ever crossing it. However, some just can't, and for them it's a danger, not just because they get addicted to the high or whatever, but because if their parents have condoned one illegal thing, then they may as well condone all of them.

    My difficult child is binary. He's either all on or all off. It does him no favours to "be nice" by easing up or bending the rules for him, because then he views all rules as optional and he opts out. I think for him and many other kids with issues, it's the same thing. If that rule is okay to break, then lets test ALL the limits until we find out exactly where the boundaries are.

    Whether or not you think pot is a big deal or a small deal, I think the bigger issue is boundaries. If your child already has issues with boundaries, how does it help to blur them further?

    That said, I am slightly in favour of legalizing it, if only because then it could be regulated and taxed, and treated like another commodity. They could set up a Pot Control Board or something, just like the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). More than the dangers of using pot, I take HUGE issue with those who sell it. Perhaps if it were legal, and controlled, and had a set fee structure, and the government taxed it so that health costs could be covered for people who use it....

    I'm babbling. I really don't know where I stand on the issue. I do know that I don't like it.

    Trinity
     
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I think it's a Gateway to a big booty... and lots of trips to the snack mart!

    Seriously though, I agree with all of you. I used it a long time ago, I don't think it led to my other issues, I think my messed up head did.
    I think I would have tried lots of things regardless of the order.
    I do not want my kids doing any thing illegal if I can help it. I would prefer my girls to never drink considering both husband's and my family history of alcoholics.

    I would not be happy to find out my kid was smoking at any age, even though I did. Will I tell them I did, hmm, that will take some serious thought.
    It would depend on their maturity level I a guess and age. Maybe when they are in their 40's!
     
  12. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Well let me see it is a drug that can be addictive and it is one of the first ones a person inclined to get high will try. Yep I'd say it is a gateway drug. -RM
     
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I presume by gateway drug, you mean that it leads to bigger things. It's not a term I'm familiar with.

    I do know I can't be around people smoking it, it makes me feel really ill with griping colicky pain and nausea. I used to work at the university and there were places on campus where you just didn't go at lunctiime, if you didn't want to be a passive pot smoker. However, there are other ways to take it and as someone interested in herbs and herbalism, I was always curious to try it, one day under controlled conditions.

    Then an idiot at work slipped me some hash brownies, telling me they were "herbal biscuits". I ate two on this Friday afternooon, and about 20 minutes later suddenly felt as if someone had poured a jug of warm water over me, from the top of my head. I realised at that point that I'd been had, but didn't waste energy yelling at anybody. Besides, I felt too calm to do so and was focussing my energies on how the H I was gonig to manage to safely drive him through peak hour traffic with three pre-school kids in the car...

    I was high all weekend, only really coming out of it properly on the Sunday afternoon. By this stge I was good and angry at the idiots at work who had allowed this to happen (everyone else had been in on the joke, they had all been out to lunch at the home of one of the secretarys, she had plied them with hash and alcohol, I had just thought they were plastered, not stoned).

    But that weekend totally cured me of thinking that pot was harmless, that it was OK to use freely. Maybe once it was fairly harmless, but it has been refined, selectively bred, developed - until now it is far stronger than it used to be. My co-workers claimed I was over-reacting, but I wonder - if they were drunk, they may not have noticed the pot effects and possibly just blamed the alcohol. Also, it might be that it affects me more than most people. From what I know about tis particular secretary who hosted the lunchtime party (and who deliberately excluded me because she was one weird person with some big hang-ups that included being afraid of disability and disabled people) - she would have only had the best. So I got some strong stuff.

    And I've never, ever, wanted to try it again.

    I beleive they are working on a medical marijuana that has had the hallucinogenic properties taken out. THAT I'm prepared to try, when my doctor suggests it. But I'm not chasing after it.

    I have wondered if I just happen to react badly to these things, in the same way I react badly to antidepressants. Who knows?

    Marg
     
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do think it's a gateway drug. Listening to the police officers in my classroom teach about the gateway drugs and pot being one of them and hearing there stories, I do believe it is a gateway drug.
     
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    DUDE.........wha? Nooooooooooooooooooo

    Here's the WHAT of it as I understand it today from people I work with that used to deal and grow, cultivate etc.

    WHAT was smoked in the 60's -80's is NOT the same thing that is being toked around today. The stuff today is more high powered and a lot of times is saturated with - (not kidding) roach spray to give it a real bang.

    The smell is different too. IT's not because I'm older - it's because the stuff is stronger and more potent.

    I KNOW that had you asked me years ago if it was a gateway drug? I would have agreed with those that said - depends on if you have an addictive personality. Today? I'm not so sure that would hold with the potency of the stuff coming out of the jungles. It sticks - it stinks - and the smell is stronger and different. I can't imagine what it would do to a brain now.

    Put me in basket not sure. Unless someone is hydroponically growing their own and cultivating and controlling it without an addictive personality? I'd have to say yes it is a gateway drug.
     
  16. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I believe it is a gateway drug, not necessarily to other drugs, but a gateway to apathy, to reduced intelligence (it does destroy braincells), and to relationships with criminals. If it is not addictive physically, it is addictive psychologically. It leads to lifestyle that is not apropos with the general population. It leads to sneaking around and lying. I know a lot of "potheads." None of them have lived the life they were capable of living.
     
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I agree with Star, the pot sold today is not the pot we think of in our own youth. And if it's not just laced with roach spray, often more potent ingredients are added to the mix. The only way to be certain that you're not getting additives is to grow your own. (not that I advise it)

    I've never been a big fan of pot. Tried it with no results. Never had the desire to repeat the act. The stuff stinks, nowdays it outright reeks. So bad that I can pick up the smell from 100 yards away.

    As to it's addictive qualities.....I've seen plenty who smoke it go on to bigger and "better" things. Can't be sure if they wouldn't have done it anyway, I mean, who knows? Know plenty more who are potheads and won't even touch alcohol. Can't see where that's so much better myself. Getting thru a day stoned isn't much different than getting thru one drunk. And I've known a few who can take it or leave it and always could.

    I guess the key words in my reply are "plenty" and "few". lol I think it's such a hard one to answer because there is no way of knowing if those who do move on to more serious drugs would have done so without the pot in the picture.
     
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I tried it when I was 19 because I got tired of people saying "Don't knock it unless you tried it." I expected to get this big "oomph." I got a little headache, I felt paranoid and spacy, and I ate five hotdogs afterwards. It really gave me a creepy feeling and the person who gave it to me said she thought it could be laced with "heroine!" That cured me. I think too much pot rots the brain and does lead to other things in susceptible people. I actually read that kids who just smoke cigarettes (don't start with pot, but start with regular ole Marlboros) are more apt to use drugs too, and I believe that as well. One little taboo at a time...
     
  19. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    If we took a look at my family - siblings and cousins born from 1960 to 1976, (there were 17 of us) and put us into two categories - #1 Abstained or tried it once and #2 Regular pot smoker, we find the members of the first group have attained some level of higher education, have stable jobs, and stable homes, and no criminal history. The members of the second group have instability - from homes, to jobs, to money, to friends and family. We've got two convicted felons in that group.

    Me, I abstained totally. When I was three or four, we went to visit a great uncle's house at Thanksgiving. He smoked cigars. I took a drag when no one was looking, and puked my guts out. Best lesson I ever learned. I never smoked another thing for the rest of my life.

    To answer the question, is it a gateway drug? It seems to be a gateway to a chaotic lifestyle. The people who push the drugs want repeat business and new customers. They have learned a few things from the cigarette manufacturers - make the product addictive. Make the consumers desire other participants when using the product.
     
  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "I think pot is in the category with alcohol and cigarettes. For normal people with no problems, it can be just another recreational drug with no particular consequences. (although to say smoking ANYTHING has no particular consequences ignores what it is doing to your lungs, etc).
    For people who are going to get hooked on SOMETHING, pot is probably a gateway drug. "

    I agree with this. For my difficult child, drinking alcohol and smoking pot are gateway drugs. She has an addictive personality and the genes that makes these recreational activities very risky for her. She smokes, drinks, and has used pot. I have no doubt that she will continue to do so and move on to other things during the course of her lifetime. That's very sad for me because I see nothing in her behavior that gives me hope that she will gives these activities up.

    on the other hand, I know many other teens who do the above activities and for them it's just a phase.

    Nancy
     
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