Is Cannabis a gateway to hard drugs?

Cannabis is the most popular and easily accessible illicit substance in Australia. People who have used other less accessible illicit substances (heroin, cocaine, LSD for example) are likely to have first accessed cannabis and other more accessible substances, including alcohol. But the use of one does not cause the use of another.

Most people who try cannabis never go on to use any other illicit substance, and the vast majority of those who do, don’t become dependent or go on to have any associated problems.

For most people, cannabis is an endpoint, rather than a so-called gateway. New evidence suggests Cannabis can even serve as an exit from drug abuse/addiction, helping people reduce or eliminate their use of harmful drugs, such as opiates or alcohol, by easing withdrawal symptoms.