A new study by scientists at Columbia University and the City University of New York suggests that cannabis users are five times more likely to develop alcohol addiction, Daily Mail reported. Conversely, alcoholics are much more likely to seek treatment in rehab within three years of developing a drinking problem if they do not also smoke pot, as use of the drug is likely to increase an alcoholic’s dependency. The Study’s author, Dr Renee Goodwin from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, says that the study suggests that smoking of marijuana is linked with an increased likelihood that the user will also develop a drinking problem:
Our results suggest that cannabis use appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to developing an alcohol use disorder, even among those without any history of this.
A second study, also just published, and carried out by colleagues at Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, indicates that increased cannabis use increases the likelihood that the user will go on the become dependent on other kinds of drugs and develop a nicotine smoking habit.
However, in a report by the Chicago Tribune, Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, said that he was skeptical about the results of the study:
I am quite dubious of these findings.
Earleywine, who is also on the advisory board of NORML, an organization which promotes marijuana legalization, said that the commonly held idea that use of cannabis leads to the abuse of stronger drugs has been around for many years, however he has found no evidence for its validity despite four decades of clinical experience:
I am unable to see this association after 40 years of clinical experience.
In Earleywine’s opinion the ‘gateway theory’ “says more about the person than about marijuana,” and he added that there is “more to be concerned about with alcohol or any of the other psychoactive drugs that the drug industry prescribes,” than there is with marijuana.