Alcohol is, without doubt, one of the most harmful drugs in existence today. Also, heavy drinking is common in America, although it can be fatal, with CDC research linking about 95,000 deaths to excessive alcohol consumption. Therefore, it is undoubtedly prudent to seek help with alcohol addiction to avoid the many negative consequences of prolonged consumption. Cannabis-aided alcoholism recovery or “marijuana maintenance” is an option for recovering drinkers substituting alcohol for marijuana. But does marijuana help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms?
Quitting Alcohol And Cold Turkey
Many experts believe that quitting alcohol can be even more harmful than actual drinking. If you are a chronic alcoholic, going “cold turkey” is one of the most challenging things you can do, as one in five people who attempt this die. Decades of heavy drinking creates alcohol dependence, so trying to quit drinking abruptly through the cold turkey method can lead to potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like:
- Rapid breathing or a racing heart
- Shaky Hands
- Panic attacks
Marijuana As An Alternative To Cold Turkey
The major problem with the cold turkey tactic is the unrealistic attempt to detoxify your body of alcohol and its adverse effects quickly after years of dependence. The quitting processes must be gradual and sustained to see actual results. Nevertheless, you will still desire alcohol to satisfy your cravings, and this is where marijuana can intervene. As such, a simple answer to the question “does marijuana help with alcohol withdrawal?” is yes since it can help you quit alcohol slowly instead of instantly.
Does Marijuana Help Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms?
Marijuana softens the blow of alcohol withdrawal by curbing an addict’s cravings and withdrawal symptoms. For instance, insomnia is a significant side effect of quitting alcohol and is often cited as one of the primary reasons for relapses. Lack of sleep can overwhelm you and worsen your symptoms. However, ingesting some edibles just before bedtime can prepare you for much-needed recovery and rest. Also, marijuana’s effects are more potent, and the “high” lasts relatively longer than alcohol. Furthermore, you can curb your alcohol cravings by using marijuana as a substitute since marijuana can make you feel more satisfied than usual.
Also, using marijuana on your alcohol recovery journey can lessen the anxiety, depression, and stress that comes with the entire process of alcohol withdrawal. Indeed, studies suggest that responsible marijuana use can offer relief from these emotional ailments minus the dangers of addiction and withdrawal that accompany alcohol and various prescription medications.
What’s more, some proponents of marijuana maintenance argue that it is a more realistic approach to quitting alcohol for people who cannot attend abstinence-based programs. The failure rate among people who are unwilling or unable to participate in such programs is high, so these supporters believe that marijuana use is an excellent substitute. Other marijuana maintenance supporters also argue that society has demonized marijuana, given that it has fewer interactions than alcohol, less of an impact on long-term health, and no risk of death from binging. Therefore, they believe it is a safe substitute for alcohol intake.
Robbing Peter To Pay Paul?
Alcohol recovery begins with recognizing how harmful the substance is and your lack of control over your use. Therefore, substituting alcohol for marijuana, another potentially addictive drug, is essentially a harm-reduction approach. Consequently, although marijuana may be less dangerous than alcohol for some, it isn’t without its unique risks. For instance, you may become addicted to marijuana if you use it to satisfy particular needs that alcohol used to fulfill. As such, some experts see marijuana maintenance as a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scenario and advocate for avoiding all addictive substances instead.
Also, there are numerous negative concerns associated with marijuana use that make it potentially an equally harmful alternative to alcohol. For example, marijuana can be a gateway drug for some people, leading them to explore other dangerous drugs like heroin and cocaine. Additionally, marijuana can worsen any underlying mental health issues common in heavy drinkers. Furthermore, your lungs, memory, and bones can suffer due to long-term marijuana use. As of now, research is unclear about whether the negatives outweigh the positives, so many health experts do not recommend replacing alcohol with marijuana. Instead, you will likely receive referrals to a trusted recovery center as a safer and more reliable way to recover from alcohol addiction.
These facilities usually have programs and individualized treatment plans designed to offer quality care aimed at lifelong sobriety. All the methods are also usually backed by research, making them more effective.