The endocannabinoid, endovanilloid and nitrergic systems could interact in the rat dorsolateral periaqueductal gray matter to control anxiety-like behaviors.

“Cannabinoid compounds usually produce biphasic effects in the modulation of emotional responses.

Low doses of the endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA) injected into the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray matter (dlPAG) induce anxiolytic-like effects via CB1 receptors activation.

However, at higher doses the drug loses this effect, in part by activating Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid Type 1 (TRPV1).

Activation of these latter receptors could induce the formation of nitric oxide (NO). Thus, the present study tested the hypothesis that at high doses AEA loses it anxiolytic-like effect by facilitating, probably via TRPV1 receptor activation, the formation of NO.

…these results support the hypothesis that intra-dlPAG injections of high doses of AEA lose their anxiolytic effects by favoring TRPV1 receptors activity and consequent NO formation, which in turn could facilitate defensive responses.”

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The association between cigarette smoking and drug abuse in the United States.

“Cigarette smoking has been identified as an independent risk factor for many human diseases. However, the association between cigarette smoking and illegal drug use has not been thoroughly investigated. We have analyzed the 1994 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse to clarify whether cigarette smoking has any effect on the initiation of illegal drug use…”

“This study suggests that cigarette smoking may be a gateway drug to illegal drug use.”

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Cigarettes Are a Gateway Drug, Say Scientists

“Most teens roll their eyes at the idea that any drug can be a “gateway” to more serious stimulants, but new data presented Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting found that teens who smoke cigarettes are 23 times more likely to smoke marijuana compared to those who don’t use tobacco.”


“Researchers from Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington randomly chose 315 incoming college freshmen from two universities (one in the Midwest and another in the Northwest) and asked if they smoked cigarettes or marijuana, then asked them the same question after the school year ended.”

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Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die – TIME



“Of all the arguments that have been used to demonize marijuana, few have been more powerful than that of the “gateway effect”: the notion that while marijuana itself may not be especially dangerous, it ineluctably leads to harder drugs like heroin and cocaine…” 

“The problem here is that correlation isn’t cause. Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang members are probably more 104 times more likely to have ridden a bicycle as a kid than those who don’t become Hell’s Angels, but that doesn’t mean that riding a two-wheeler is a “gateway” to joining a motorcycle gang. It simply means that most people ride bikes and the kind of people who don’t are highly unlikely to ever ride a motorcycle…”

“Scientists long ago abandoned the idea that marijuana causes users to try other drugs: as far back as 1999, in a report commissioned by Congress to look at the possible dangers of medical marijuana, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences wrote:

Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana — usually before they are of legal age.

In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a “gateway” drug. But because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, “gateway” to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

“Since then, numerous other studies have failed to support the gateway idea…”

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Study: The ‘gateway drug’ is alcohol, not marijuana

“A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.”

A man drinks liquor straight from a bottle. Photo:, all rights reserved.


“Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.”

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Alcohol, Not Marijuana, A Gateway Drug

“While it may not settle the debate over how drug use begins, researchers found that alcohol, not marijuana, is the gateway drug that leads teens down the path of hard drug use, according to a new study that will be published in the August edition of the Journal of School Health.”



“”By recognizing the important predictive role of alcohol and delaying initiation of alcohol use, school officials and public health leaders can positively impact the progression of substance use,” Adam Barry, study author and an assistant professor at the University of Florida, said in a statement.”

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No ‘Smoking’ Gun: Research Indicates Teen Marijuana Use Does Not Predict Drug, Alcohol Abuse

“Marijuana is not a “gateway” drug that predicts or eventually leads to substance abuse, suggests a 12-year University of Pittsburgh study. Moreover, the study’s findings call into question the long-held belief that has shaped prevention efforts and governmental policy for six decades and caused many a parent to panic upon discovering a bag of pot in their child’s bedroom.

The Pitt researchers tracked 214 boys beginning at ages 10-12, all of whom eventually used either legal or illegal drugs. When the boys reached age 22, they were categorized into three groups: those who used only alcohol or tobacco, those who started with alcohol and tobacco and then used marijuana (gateway sequence) and those who used marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco (reverse sequence).

Nearly a quarter of the study population who used both legal and illegal drugs at some point — 28 boys — exhibited the reverse pattern of using marijuana prior to alcohol or tobacco, and those individuals were no more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who followed the traditional succession of alcohol and tobacco before illegal drugs, according to the study, which appears in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

“The gateway progression may be the most common pattern, but it’s certainly not the only order of drug use,” said Ralph E. Tarter, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and lead author of the study. “In fact, the reverse pattern is just as accurate for predicting who might be at risk for developing a drug dependence disorder.”

In addition to determining whether the gateway hypothesis was a better predictor of substance abuse than competing theories, the investigators sought to identify characteristics that distinguished users in the gateway sequence from those who took the reverse path. Out of the 35 variables they examined, only three emerged to be differentiating factors: Reverse pattern users were more likely to have lived in poor physical neighborhood environments, had more exposure to drugs in their neighborhoods and had less parental involvement as young children. Most importantly, a general inclination for deviance from sanctioned behaviors, which can become evident early in childhood, was strongly associated with all illicit drug use, whether it came in the gateway sequence, or the reverse.

While the gateway theory posits that each type of drug is associated with certain specific risk factors that cause the use of subsequent drugs, such as cigarettes or alcohol leading to marijuana, this study’s findings indicate that environmental aspects have stronger influence on which type of substance is used. That is, if it’s easier for a teen to get his hands on marijuana than beer, then he’ll be more likely to smoke pot. This evidence supports what’s known as the common liability model, an emerging theory that states the likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illegal drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug but instead by the user’s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.

“The emphasis on the drugs themselves, rather than other, more important factors that shape a person’s behavior, has been detrimental to drug policy and prevention programs,” Dr. Tarter said. “To become more effective in our efforts to fight drug abuse, we should devote more attention to interventions that address these issues, particularly to parenting skills that shape the child’s behavior as well as peer and neighborhood environments.”

Indeed, according to the study, interventions focusing on behavior modification may be more effective prevention tactics than current anti-drug initiatives. For example, providing guidance to parents — particularly those in high-risk neighborhoods — on how to boost their caregiving skills and foster bonding with their children, could have a measurable effect on a child’s likelihood to smoke marijuana. Also, early identification of children who exhibit antisocial tendencies could allow for interventions before drug use even begins.

Although this research has significant implications for drug abuse prevention approaches, Dr. Tarter notes that the study has some limitations. First, as only male behaviors were studied, further investigation should explore if the results apply to women as well. Also, the examination of behaviors in phases beyond alcohol and marijuana consumption in the gateway series will be necessary.

Other study authors include Michael Vanyukov, Ph.D., and Maureen Reynolds, Ph.D., and Levent Kirisci, Ph.D., also of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy; and Duncan Clark, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.”

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“Marijuana is not a “gateway” drug that predicts or eventually leads to substance abuse, suggests a 12-year University of Pittsburgh study. Moreover, the study’s findings call into question the long-held belief that has shaped prevention efforts and governmental policy for six decades and caused many a parent to panic upon discovering a bag of pot in their child’s bedroom.”

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Pot Smokers May Have Lower Risk of Obesity

“Despite the tendency of marijuana users to experience the “munchies,” pot smokers may have a lower risk of obesity that those who don’t use the drug, a new study finds.”



 “The results show the prevalence of obesity is lower among people who frequently smoke pot compared with those who have never inhaled.

The researchers said they were surprised by their initial results, because they expected to find the opposite. So they examined a second sample of people, and found exactly the same result. Together, the two samples studied more than 50,000 people.

The reason behind the link is not clear. It could be that people who use cannabis also engage in other behaviors that lower their obesity risk. Or it may be that pot smokers exercise more or have a specific diet that keeps them thin, said study researcher Yann Le Strat, a psychiatrist at Louis Mourier Hospital in France.

“On a personal point of view, I would be surprised that cannabis use is associated with a higher rate of physical activity, but this cannot be ruled out,” Le Strat told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Another possibility is that components of cannabis may help people lose weight. If this turns out to be the case, researchers should investigate which components these might be and try to put them into drug form, Le Strat said.”

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Boy given medical marijuana to manage violent Autism symptoms

“Parents of a young boy are using medical marijuana to help manage violent self control issues due to Autism. The boys parents were not able to find a solution to their sons violent outbursts and self destructive behavior.They then researched using medical marijuana as a solution. The child has shown remarkable positive results using the liquid form of the drug.”


“Boy given pot to manage autism

 An Oregon family is using medical marijuana to calm their son’s autistic rage. KPTV covers this difficult story.”

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