The gateway hypothesis postulates that use of a certain drug increases the risk for the subsequent use of more potent and addictive or harmful drugs. For instance, marijuana is sometimes referred to as a “gateway drug” because its use has been shown to increase the risk for the use of other drugs. This does not mean that the use of marijuana will inevitably lead to the use of other drugs; only that it is associated with an increased risk.
The exact mechanism by which this risk is conferred is not clear; it could be direct (i.e., through changes in the brain) or indirect through exposure to marijuana-using friends who are also using other drugs and who may introduce the person to these other drugs, or both.
A cognitive-affective state that emerges in humans when one perceives a personal wrong-doing; it can be adaptive and helpful in increasing the likelihood that behavior remains consistent with one’s values.