SAMHSA’s National Helpline was the very first link that showed up in Google while I was beginning to do a bit of research on this. If you happen to be someone who is desperately looking for a way to get out from under the alcohol demon, please consider this option. This is a question that popped into my head on one of my walks and I thought “If I came up with this question, there have got to be a few others who’ve also thought about this”. It happened to be on a weekend so I thought “Yeah, I’ve got the time to dig into this a bit”. I am not any kind of expert or professional in this world of cannabis, addiction, or drug abuse. I’m just a person trying to learn more about a couple different things who also happens to publish their learnings online.
“In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.” According to their website.
The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly contributed to the increase in calls. Being locked up at home (some folks without any social interaction at all!)… A lot of us have had either a few more drinks or tokes this past year.
In 2019, before the pandemic, nearly 1,800 people per day made the decision to get some help and call SAMHSA — I promise you, you are not alone. You are loved, you are needed, and there are folks who cannot wait to help you get you back where you want to be.
Now, let’s get into it.
Does cannabis help with alcohol withdrawal?
Again, not even remotely an expert in this field. I’m just regurgitating the things I’m learning here. And I believe there’s good news inside what I’ve learned today. 🙂
The first thing I found that really fascinated me was this paper that was written by the Journal of Neuroscience. It concludes that cannabis actually works as a neuroprotective shield against damage already caused by alcohol in the brain stem. They even suggest that cannabis greatly lessens severe craving symptoms and eases the path to full recovery.
It became obvious to me that it’s not a secret that quitting alcohol cold turkey is very risky. And I came across a couple of different articles that suggest quitting cold turkey is sometimes riskier than alcohol consumption alone!
Alcohol is dangerous in many ways. One could argue that one of the greatest dangers lurks in the general acceptance of excessive social drinking. A few drinks at the nightclub and you are technically binge drinking, while the vast majority may call it “just getting loose”. says Royal Queen Seeds
My personal experience
For me, personally, I would rather light up than have even one drink.
I admit, I never honestly struggled with alcohol so my perspective may be a bit skewed here. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been counting down days to some parties/weekends where I knew we were going to get absolutely plastered. That excited me at times. I could barely do 2 nights of drinking in a row (never 3). I didn’t struggle with alcohol at that kind of a level. I started smoking regularly in June/July 2019. And my alcohol consumption has dramatically dropped.
For others, smoking cannabis could end up heightening the craving for a glass of alcohol. If you’re considering weed to help quit alcohol, please be cautious with this. I don’t think you need to worry too much about harming yourself by taking this path,
But there really isn’t a ton of research behind this BECAUSE CANNABIS IS STILL F*CKING ILLEGAL AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.
We know so much about alcohol. We know its long-term effects and we know exactly how our body metabolizes and affects us in the short term. We know all of this stuff. Cannabis, I believe, has an unlimited number of use cases scattered across the spectrum. We don’t even know its limits because we’re still locking folks up over carrying the plant.
I think it’s worth a look.
But it’s very important that I note this from Ria Health—marijuana/cannabis/weed/pot is still a potentially addictive substance, using it to “replace” alcohol is essentially a harm-reduction approach.
I honestly have no idea what the real long-term effects of cannabis are. But I know that people have been lighting up for years. And now you can throw it all into a cookie? A piece of candy? I would put my reputation on the line to say that eating a cookie is far healthier than inhaling smoke. We’re getting closer to realizing this huge upside cannabis has. And we’re doing it while making it’s consumption healthier.
If you’re thinking about cutting alcohol out completely, mix in a little weed to help wean yourself off. Cold turkey is so tough even from a habit-change standpoint. You’re dramatically shaking up your life on a dime and not really giving yourself a chance to make this change. And make a new habit stick. When you stop drinking so suddenly like that, it’ll create a void that needs to be filled too. I’m not at all suggesting you fill it in completely with cannabis. If you light up just to relax, it’ll help lessen the stress that causes the drinking.
You have to give yourself the best possible chance at success.
Decrease your alcohol consumption bit by and smoke a little at night instead of having a couple of drinks. One healthy toke right before I climb into bed gives me some of the best sleep I’ve ever had or can ever remember. If I were to have a couple of drinks, I would sleep like sh*t. And I would wake up dehydrated as hell. If I have my nighttime toke, I wake up ready to go the next morning. I love getting up and going for my morning walks. I could never do that when I had even a few drinks the night before. I would almost always have to write off my mornings after a night of drinking. I hated that.
Again — not an expert. But I’m always going to suggest giving cannabis a try (unless you already know cbd/thc gives you an adverse reaction).
For the easiest, most valuable information on the topic, consider checking out this article by Ria Health.
The United States National Library of Medicine
The US National Library of Medicine published their findings and rather than trying to rewrite them in my own words, I think this is something that needs to be heard straight from the horse’s mouth — I copied + pasted their Results and Conclusions below. And you can read more by clicking the link to the full publication below.
Results: All criteria appear either satisfied or partially satisfied, though studies relying on medical cannabis patients may be limited by selection bias and/or retrospective designs. Individual-level factors, such as severity of alcohol problems, may also moderate substitution.
Conclusions: There is no clear pattern of outcomes related to cannabis substitution. Most importantly, the recommendation to prescribe alcohol-dependent individuals cannabis to help reduce drinking is premature. Future studies should use longitudinal data to better understand the consequences of cannabis substitution. National Library of Medicine