Remember in D.A.R.E. class when you learned that marijuana was a "gateway drug" and could lead frequent users down a dangerous path to other harder, scarier drugs like cocaine, meth, and prescription painkillers?
Yeah, that was all propaganda designed to support the War on Drugs. Sorry, '90s kids!
It turns out that weed is actually pretty dope, according to some cool scientists. A bunch of super-chill researchers got together to hang out and look at studies on pot use and mental health, and made a discovery that will blow your mind if you really think about it, man. Far from being a "gateway" to the hard stuff that ruins people's lives, weed is what's called an "exit drug," meaning it can help people who are hooked on opioids and alcohol ween off them.
Researchers got their results by looking at 60 other studies on both medical and recreational marijuana use, making this one of the most comprehensive examinations of weed to date. With opioid addiction so prevalent that libraries are stocking Narcan to treat overdoses, the fact that weed may help people safely kick a habit is huge news.
So it looks like it might be time to add "helps addicts" to the long list of marijuana health benefits: combats chronic pain and inflammation, can fight cancer, makes you run better, and makes yoga more enjoyable. The review also found frequent marijuana use could help other mental health disorders, such as depression, PTSD, and social anxiety.
With legal weed becoming more commonplace state by state, the future of mental health and addiction treatment could rely on a recreational hit or two. Maybe a visit to the psychologist's office will now include lying on a tufted sofa with a box of tissues and a fat joint.