Are you asking yourself, “Is marijuana a gateway drug to highly addictive substances?” There are other people just like you asking the same question. Perhaps you’re curious and want an answer for yourself or a loved one who either uses marijuana or is courting an addiction to “harder” drugs. Such drugs include heroin, cocaine, and meth. These substances are sometimes difficult to quit without help from an addiction treatment center in Tampa, FL, or elsewhere.
What Is a Gateway Drug?
Once you figure out what a gateway drug is, the answer to is marijuana a gateway drug becomes clear. A gateway drug is a habit-forming substance, such as marijuana, that can lead to the use of more addictive drugs.
Marijuana, also called weed, dope, or pot, is a psychoactive substance that comes from the cannabis plant. It can be smoked (rolled up into a cigarette called a “joint”), vaped, ingested (edibles), or dabbed, etc. Marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical compound that alters the mental state and can make the user feel high (euphoria).
Strikingly, not everyone who uses marijuana will go on to use more addictive substances that need substance abuse treatment for recovery. However, the risk is always present. Factors such as age, family history, genetics, and environment can increase the risk. Those exposed to the drug during adolescence are shown to have a higher risk of misusing other substances later in life.
Why Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?
Research on “is marijuana a gateway drug” suggests that many people experiment with a “softer” drugs such as marijuana before moving on to “harder” drugs, or even alcohol. Studies show that adolescents and teenagers are among those who use marijuana. In fact, an estimated 43.5 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2018 used marijuana in the past year. Many young people use the drug because it is cheaper, easily accessible, and less addictive compared to drugs like heroin or cocaine. Others use it due to peer pressure or as a way to cope with family or academic stress.
Further probing on why is marijuana a gateway drug reveals that the THC in marijuana primes the brain for enhanced responses to other drugs. This happens because prolonged marijuana use causes the brain to make less dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical responsible for making humans feel good. Once dopamine production slows, the individual using marijuana may turn to harder drugs to feel good or normal.
Addiction Treatment in Tampa, FL, for Marijuana and Other Drugs
Those seeking substance abuse treatment may have an addiction to marijuana alone, marijuana and other drugs (polydrug abuse), or marijuana and alcohol (polysubstance abuse). If you are one of these individuals, there’s no need to give up hope. Our treatment professionals at BoardPrep Recovery Center can help you or a loved one overcome drugs or alcohol using a comprehensive treatment approach.
Recovery typically starts with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in the medical detox program. Clients can then follow up with psychotherapy or mental health treatment. The two-fold treatment approach is called dual diagnosis treatment.
Many patients use drugs to cope with stress or mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. As such, treatment simultaneously addresses substance abuse and mental disorders that cause you to abuse drugs or alcohol or prevent you from quitting. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma therapy, and family therapy are some types of mental health therapies you may be exposed to during recovery.
You can recover in any of the following flexible addiction treatment programs:
An inpatient program is an intensive form of treatment that involves a stay at a specialized facility. Inpatient programs can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the individual’s needs and goals. During inpatient care, patients receive round-the-clock medical and emotional support, as well as access to therapy, medication, and other services.
Outpatient treatment allows individuals to receive regular treatment while still living at home and continuing their daily routines. These programs typically involve attending therapy one-on-one, in a group setting, or both.
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) provides more intensive care than traditional outpatient programs. IOPs are designed to provide clinically-structured support and services that help individuals with substance use disorders reach their recovery goals in a timely manner.
A partial hospitalization program (PHP) provides an intensive level of care for individuals with substance use disorders. This type of program allows patients to receive around-the-clock care in a safe and secure environment without having to stay overnight at the facility.
BoardPrep Recovery Center is a Private and Trusted Recovery Haven
BoardPrep Recovery Center is a private rehab in Tampa, Florida. Our program tracks are for adults, teens, and professionals who are ready to take back control of their lives. Please contact us by calling 866.796.4720 for more information and questions about our programs, services, and admissions process.