London: A new research has found Cannabis might not be the vilified gateway drug it is widely thought to be.
In fact, the leafy substance might be the key to discouraging users from progressing to 'harder' drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy, according to the scientists.
According to The Independent, the five-year-long study involved 125 participants, all of whom were suffering from chronic pain were taking cannabis as a prescriptive pain mediator, whereas 42 chose to abstain.
They found that 34 percent of the cannabis users stopped taking their medication, in comparison to just two per cent of the non-smokers, with 98 percent continuing to take their prescribed drugs.
Lead author and psychology professor Jacob Miguel Vigil noted, "Our current opioid epidemic is the leading preventable form of death in the US, killing more people than car accidents and gun violence, adding, "Therefore, the relative safety and efficacy of using cannabis in comparison to that of other scheduled medications should be taken by the health providers and legislators.
He explained that painkillers and street heroin typically kill 90 people in the US every day; whereas some studies claim that cannabis consumption has never directly caused a fatality.
However, in 2014, a woman named Gemma Moss became the first British woman to die from cannabis toxicity, after she reportedly smoked GBP 60 worth of the drug in one week which led her to die from cardiac arrest.