By Philippe Lucas, CARBC
Cannabis is neither completely harmless, nor is it a cure-all, but with polls showing that Canadians overwhelmingly support cannabis policy reform, it’s fair to assume that most people no longer believe that legalization would lead to the end of the world. Yet, some who support reform nonetheless have concerns that adding yet another legal drug (alongside alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals) for society to struggle with might result in an increase in use.
But what if the legalization of adult access to cannabis also resulted in a reduction in the use of alcohol and other drugs? What if rather than being a gateway drug, cannabis actually proved to be an exit drug from problematic substance use? A growing body of research on a theory called cannabis substitution effect suggests just that.