The National Institute for Drug Abuse has three theories why some marijuana smokers go on to other drugs while some do not:
- When people begin smoking marijuana while their young brains are still developing (into their early 20s) it can change the reward system of their brains, which can make other drugs more appealing. Animal research found that early exposure to marijuana make using opiate drugs more pleasurable.
- Those who use marijuana are more likely to be around others who use and sell other drugs, increasing the temptation to try those drugs.
- Young people who are at high risk for becoming substance abusers may use marijuana first because it is easier to get than other drugs. The same is true for cigarettes and alcohol.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana." DrugFacts Updated January 2014
National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Want to Know More?- Some FAQs about Marijuana." Marijuana: Facts for Teens Updated October 2013
National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana." Research Report Series Updated July 2012
The Partnership at DrugFree.org. "Marijuana." Drug Guide. Accessed April 2014.