A new scientific review suggests that cannabis may in fact be the complete opposite of a “gateway drug.”
According to researchers, the “most comprehensive” report ever indicates that people with drug addictions, especially those hooked on opioids or alcohol, could use cannabis as a “reverse stepping stone” away from more harmful substances.
“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” said Zach Walsh, the study’s lead investigator and an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.
Walsh’s international team – which included researchers at the University of British Columbia, Florida State University and California’s National Centre for PTSD and Center for Innovation and Implementation – surveyed every study ever conducted about cannabis use and mental health.
Along with concluding that cannabis could be used as a tool in beating hard drug addiction, they also uncovered evidence that it could be beneficial in treating anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. They added, however, that “it might not be recommended” for psychosis or bipolar disorder.
Their findings were recently published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review.
While admitting that the available evidence is “limited,” Walsh said the report casts light on the “valid points” made by advocates that cannabis is “a tool for harm reduction and mental health.”