Should cannabis be used as a part of addiction recovery? Can cannabis use keep people off of dangerous drugs like prescription pills? What do recovering addicts think about cannabis in reference to recovery?
One of the things that was used to demonize cannabis was the lie that cannabis was a gateway drug, meaning using cannabis would lead to the use of drugs like methamphetamine and heroin. There is ample evidence that cannabis is not a gateway drug. Former Attorney General under the Obama administration Loretta Lynch admitted that cannabis was not a gateway drug, but prescription pills are. There is an opiate crisis going on in the US right now. Prescription pill abuse is at an all time high, and people’s lives are being ruined.
I’ve written before about how patients are turned into pill addicts via their doctors getting them hooked, but what about people who use pills simply to get high? How does one become a recreational pill addict? If these addicts could use cannabis would they feel the need to do harder stuff? Could cannabis be an integral part of recovery? I put a question out on social media, asking people in recovery for their opinions on cannabis. The response that I got was overwhelming. The vast majority started using pills and other substances because they were on probation, they were being drug tested regularly, and didn’t want to risk a dirty UA. So they turned to drugs that left the system faster. As one woman named Maureen* who has been battling addiction to both meth and pills for years put it, “[Probation]’s where it all started for me. I wouldn’t have tried any of that stuff if I could’ve just smoked weed.” Maureen has now been clean for five years, which she owes to cannabis. “I struggled with sobriety until I finally bit the bullet so I could finish my sentence,” she said. “I finally got off probation and started smoking weed again. I don’t want anything else. I don’t even drink anymore. I don’t want to.” It seems more like probation is the real gateway drug, at least for some people.
Others had similar stories. One man Todd, never used cannabis until he wanted to quit using meth and a friend suggested that he try cannabis. “My life completely changed in that moment,” he said. “I knew that I’d be able to [quit using meth] now.” Sady, a recovering addict who is now active in the legalization movement said, “It helps dramatically with addictions!!! Love love love this natural alternative. It should be a part of recovery. Even if just for the craving of a habit itself.” Even those who said that they didn’t trust themselves to use cannabis for fear of relapsing said that they believed cannabis could be helpful in recovery. Jeff, who’s been clean from pills and alcohol for a year said “I’ve seen it pull people back from the brink [of death]. Pot saved them. Weed’’s not for everyone, I can’t smoke pot because I don’t wanna risk going back to my previous life. I seen it do wonders though. It should be an there for people who wanna use it or think it will help them.”
*To protect anonymity and privacy, all names have been changed.
Image Source: clearrecoverycenter.com
What do you think? Do you think cannabis could be a part of addiction recovery? Share your thoughts below.