The holiday season is upon us, so I think it’s time to explore the benefits of using cannabis to help someone recover from addiction. This might sound a little strange to you, but please hear me out. Cannabis used to be referred to as a gateway drug, meaning cannabis use inevitably led to the use of “hard drugs”, like cocaine, meth, and heroin. There is of course no evidence of this, but it doesn’t stop opponents of cannabis legalization from perpetuating this myth. Before we get into the possibilities of using cannabis to recover from addiction, there are some things we need to clear up first.
Cannabis is not a Gateway Drug
Cannabis is not, nor has it ever been, a gateway drug. The gateway drug myth was made up in the early days of cannabis prohibition when Harry Anslinger, the “father of cannabis prohibition”, initiated his smear campaign against cannabis. The myth persisted through the seventies with the start of the war on drugs, all the way through the nineties with mass incarceration and the DARE program. One of the first things I was told in DARE was that cannabis was a gateway drug. For years I believed it. It was easy to keep the lie going. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, so research is very difficult to conduct.
Now, things are different. Medicinal cannabis is legal in over half of the United States, and public opinion towards cannabis is overwhelmingly positive. Our own former head of the Justice Department Loretta Lynch, admitted that cannabis is not a gateway drug. You know what she said was the real gateway drug? Prescription opiates.
Patients are Choosing Herb over Pills
Recent surveys have shown that patients who had been taking prescription pills are now choosing to use cannabis. These patients are not only using cannabis as a part of their pain regiment, they are also using cannabis to help them recover from addiction to those pills, an exit drug, if you will. Much to the chagrin of the pharmaceutical industry, most are succeeding. A report from the medical journal JAMA showed that opiate overdose deaths are down 25 percent in states where medical cannabis is legal. They are finding that it is possible to move on from addiction to pills. If their situation sounds similar to your own, there is hope that cannabis can help you too. If you’re reading this, surely you are already using cannabis, most likely as a supplement to your other medications. I’m not giving you medical advice of course, but it’s something you will want to take into consideration.
It’s not Just Pills
People are also using cannabis to help treat other addictions such as for alcohol and even cigarettes. Why not? People are drinking less in legal states. We know that traditional approaches to alcohol abuse do not work. Roughly half of all people who seek treatment for alcoholism end up relapsing. The failure rate for cigarette smokers is surely much higher. This should show you that complete abstinence is not working.There has to be a better way. Why should recovery be all about denying yourself? For many who want to use cannabis as a part of their recovery, it’s not about getting high. Cannabidiol can help heal the body, without getting you high, if that’s what you’re afraid of. If CBD or THC can help, then why deny people that? If cannabis can get you off of something like heroin addiction, then why not look into it?
Featured Image Source: pymb.org
Do you know anyone who has used cannabis to recover from addiction? Have you done it yourself? Feel free to tell us about your experiences below.