You might’ve heard it said that cannabis works wonders for your health and wellbeing and can help with various afflictions, including alcohol addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
Now, as anyone struggling with addiction will tell you, withdrawal is a job and a half in and of itself and while many remedies have been advertised over the years as “miracles” few actually rise to the task.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at what cannabis, marijuana and other types of extracts from the Cannabis Sativa plant can do for withdrawal.
It’s A Process.
When people hear of substituting alcohol with marijuana to help with alcohol withdrawal, they sort of jump the gun and assume it means quitting the bottle and taking up marijuana instead. But this is actually a pretty bad idea.
First of all, the effects of withdrawal are severe, and sometimes, not even cannabis can alleviate them all. So you will still have to go through a huge shock if you go cold turkey, even if you do try to soften it with marijuana.
Secondly, this method poses the risk of developing a marijuana dependency. By using it to answer some needs that were previously fulfilled by alcohol, you are practically encouraging your body to become dependent on cannabis instead. And obviously, that’s not going anywhere, really.
But it can be done, quitting alcohol (and bearing the withdrawal) with the help of marijuana. You just have to do it gradually. Experts on the topic recommend weaning yourself off alcohol slowly, by reducing the quantity and using the positive effects of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms. It will still feel like withdrawal because your body is used to a larger quantity of alcohol and will react badly if you take that away. But it won’t be as bad as going cold turkey, and marijuana can help by alleviating stress, combatting some symptoms of withdrawal, such as fever, sweating, and so on. Consuming cannabis also allows you to feel more full, and as such can diminish the physical craving for alcohol.
Many former addicts report quitting the bottle by following this process, though they do admit it takes some time, and quite a lot of determination, to keep on a straight path and not fall into marijuana addiction. The same is true for kicking all addictions.
The reason why this method may work better than just replacing the two is that you are much more aware, while your balancing cannabis with a moderate to low consumption of alcohol, of your body. You are in control throughout the process. Not having to deal with the worst type of withdrawal, you get a period of grace as it were, during which you develop a drive and a calm that will help you leave alcohol behind completely, eventually.
Marijuana As A Gateway Drug.
Now, the main reason why some people oppose using marijuana as a way to quit alcohol is that they explain it will act as a gateway drug. Generally speaking, the people who misuse alcohol in the first place are already showing dependent tendencies, which may be aggravated by the use of cannabis. In time, this may also work as a stepping stone toward harder drugs, such as cocaine or heroin.
Another reason why people are against marijuana for withdrawal is that it has been linked with some health issues, such as the loss of bone density if used for a long time. One 2015 study even found that using marijuana might actually deter efforts to abstain from alcohol use, so while there is a lot to be said for the use of marijuana, there’s also quite a bit of logic behind the against argument.
Can Marijuana Help With Alcohol Withdrawal Or Not?
It’s hard to say, and of course, the results will depend greatly on the person, on character, traits, history of abuse, and so on. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer here, just like there is no ultimate cure for addiction.
While marijuana can probably have a positive effect and help alleviate some of the worst withdrawal symptoms, marijuana comes with its considerable set of downsides, as well. So it would probably be best to consider using marijuana for alcohol withdrawal as a potential last resort, second only to cold turkey, and you should discuss this plan with a doctor who might be able to guide you through the worst of it.
You might also want to consider using other Cannabis-derived products, such as vaping substances, CBD oil, and so on. Most of these are legal (you will have to check your local laws) and safer, as they contain a far smaller amount of psychoactive compounds.
Recommended Read: What Does CBD Oil Do? Let’s Take A Look.