Alcoholism is a fatal disease responsible for taking the lives of an estimated 88,000 people every year, while almost 10,000 deaths are associated with drunk and alcohol-related driving. This debilitating condition not only impacts the individual but destroys families, communities, and has a butterfly effect on everyone around.
However, a growing theory surrounding the effectiveness of weed in alcoholism is urging many people to rethink this multi-faceted herb. While many Americans have believed marijuana to be the gateway to alcoholism and addiction — it’s now proving to be the gateway to recovery for alcoholics. Let’s take a closer look at the effectiveness of weed in the treatment of alcoholism.
A New Way to Treat Alcoholism
For most alcoholics, the only way to effectively battle their demon is to stop entirely, which is easier said than done. In fact, quitting cold turkey for many alcoholics can open the door to life-threatening withdrawals. To counteract these potentially fatal side effects, physicians regularly prescribe powerful tranquilizers or benzodiazepines.
Common benzos like Xanax and Valium may offer a recovering alcoholic relief from the symptoms with powerful sedating effects, but these medications are among the most abused in the nation. At the same time, traditional treatment models have dismal rates of success — averaging only 50% success. Most end up relapsing in as little as six months. Fortunately, there is hope, and it comes in the form of marijuana.
How Can Weed Be Used to Treat Alcoholism?
Marijuana maintenance is the process of using weed to treat alcohol abuse. With this type of therapy, an individual will replace the use of alcohol with marijuana and either ween themselves off pot once the alcohol withdrawal symptoms have subsided or continued using marijuana recreationally.
For people who prescribe to this therapy, they tend to use marijuana whenever the alcohol cravings kick in. In addition, marijuana can be used as a natural and less-harmful alternative for prescription medication. The highest success rates for marijuana maintenance for alcoholism may include the use of traditional non-medical forms of therapy, such as AA or similar programs.
Medical Marijuana Can Be Used for Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal is serious. In fact, the family of late Amy Whinehouse — a soulful English singer and songwriter known for her deep contralto vocals — has reportedly suggested she died from alcohol withdrawal. The repeated long-term consumption of alcohol results in chemical changes to the brain. After the brain develops a dependency, it becomes virtually impossible for the individual to live without it.
Weed and alcohol withdrawal
Consuming alcohol can seem as essential as air for daily living and survival. When this seemingly life-giving substance is removed, the brain becomes confused and starts to panic, which induces symptoms that can span from tolerable to fatal. There are two concerns typically linked to withdrawal-related deaths:
If you have been heavily drinking for several years, you may be more likely to experience seizures during the withdrawal process. Seizures can cause physical injury, aspiration, and choking because of uncontrollable convulsions.
Delirium Tremens (DTs)
DTs include a vast range of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, including hyperactivity, disorientation, heart attack, seizures, and stroke.
Compelling research published in the National Library of Medicine presented evidence that cannabinoids help protect precious neural cells from dying during the period of “drying out”. Without the cannabinoids, several cells would die off because of the body’s withdrawal from alcohol.
However, cannabis has demonstrated the ability to protect the cells from dying. The study went one step farther and proved the exact opposite is true by introducing a cannabinoid antagonist. In doing so, researchers observed an accelerated cell death during alcohol withdrawal.
Medical Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol
One of the biggest arguments against marijuana maintenance for alcoholism is the notion the individual is simply swapping one substance for another. However, recent studies on the benefits of medical marijuana demonstrate how exponentially less dangerous marijuana is to society and individuals than alcohol. As highlighted in the UK: Journal of Psychopharmacology, marijuana will not destroy brain cells, kill your liver, or cause permanent damage to other organs in your body otherwise.
Is There Scientific Evidence to Support Medical Marijuana Maintenance?
Medical marijuana has a growing amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests it helps everything from cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, and glaucoma.
Yet, the scientific-based evidence and research is slowing beginning to come together to divide hearsay vs real medical research. Already, marijuana has been proven to help manage the life-threatening symptoms associated with withdrawal.
Contact Medical Marijuana Doctors
With medical marijuana legislation sweeping the nation, now is the most opportune time to experience the time-tested benefits of this ancient plant. If you suffer from alcoholism, marijuana maintenance may be an ideal way for you to manage your withdrawals and break free of alcohol. And the experts at Medical Marijuana Doctors can help guide you through the process.