Addiction touches the lives of many, but few addictions are more pervasive than alcoholism. When nearly every event is celebrated with alcohol, and alcohol is praised as the panacea for the end of a hard day, it can be tough to notice when casual drinking becomes a serious problem. Apart from the personal effects to one’s body and life caused by the routine abuse of alcohol, problems such as intoxicated driving place others in the community at risk of danger. Because of these reasons and the growing acceptance of cannabis in Western society, some researchers and recovery facilities are now looking to America’s favorite flower to combat the ill effects of alcoholism.
Anybody who has been in alcohol treatment, or knows somebody who has, can tell you that quitting drinking entirely is the only effective way to fight what can become a life-long battle against alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, these programs don’t seem to be terribly effective. In fact as many as fifty percent of alcoholics who have sought treatment at these facilities relapse within six months. And during the course of their treatment, it is not at all uncommon for them to be dosed with powerful and potentially addictive benzodiazepines to ward off the side effects of alcohol withdrawals.
In the States, the topic of cannabis is controversial enough, and the idea of using it to treat a substance addiction like alcoholism seems entirely bizarre, or even impossible, to some. This practice is called “Marijuana Maintenance,” and essentially functions by allowing the patient to ingest cannabis in lieu of having a drink. This can curb an alcoholic’s cravings for alcohol, without the harsh effects of benzodiazepines.
Additionally, cannabis has been praised time and time again for its therapeutic effects for those suffering from mental health concerns like depression, anxiety and PTSD. And what causes a lot of people to drink to excess, which can be instrumental in the development of an addiction? Health concerns, like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Substituting a joint for a bottle at the end of a long and miserable day carries with it fewer health risks, a significantly lower possibility of dependence, and no withdrawal effects like one can see if they stop drinking or stop using some pharmaceutical medications.
While the idea of Marijuana Maintenance is still incredibly controversial, the increasing availability of cannabis as a treatment for other ailments has alcoholic advocates feeling positive about the future of treatment methods.