Is Weed An Effective Ally To Combat Alcoholism?
Estimated 5-minute read
We completely understand why a person might like to use a little pick-me-up to relax after a stressful day. Everyone has their favorite way to do so; here at HØJ, we love the ecstatic and chill feeling that only cannabis can give. Although, you have plenty of choices when regaining your bearings and pushing anxiety and exhaustion away with tobacco, coffee, alcohol, etc. Whatever fits you the best, these do give you the strength to face whatever challenges come your way.
However, if you are not careful, it is easy to fall into a trap where such substances become an obligatory part of your day. You should step back and question if there might be a problem, especially when alcohol is involved. Sadly, these situations have become more and more common, and today, alcoholism levels in the United States have begun to reach epidemic levels.
According to the American Addiction Center:
“25.8% of people aged 18 and older reported binge drinking [having at least five drinks for a man or four drinks for a woman in around 2 hours] in the past month. Binge drinking was reported by 29.7% of men and 22.2% of women in this age group. Furthermore, 6.3% of adults (8.3% men and 4.5% women) reported that they were heavy alcohol users in the past month. High-intensity drinking is an emerging trend.”
These alarming numbers state that there’s plenty of research devoted to not only understanding the causes of alcoholism but also the most effective methods to fight it effectively. Especially when resources like rehabilitation centers, treatments, help groups, and effective therapies are few and far between. After all, alcoholism kills around 80,000 people every year without taking into account the economic, emotional, and social impact that such abuse produces all around us.
But not everything is bad news. As we said, plenty of research is being done to combat an enormous growing problem every day. One of the most exciting discoveries in the war on alcoholism is how cannabis can surprisingly yet effectively treat this ailment in most patients. We are not joking! Weed can be your ally against Alcohol Use Disorder (the medical name of alcoholism), and the science behind it is fascinating. So without further ado, let’s find out how cannabis can be a lifesaver for the people who struggle with this particular addiction daily. Thanks for joining us!
Why is cannabis effective against Alcohol Use Disorder?
First things first, we would note how this research has a pretty serious push behind it. Respected institutions like the Alcohol Research Group and the National Library of Medicine are now involved in finding out how cannabis can be such a valuable tool in the fight against Alcohol Use Disorder. The main argument here is how CBD can be used as some sort of substitute for alcohol dependency, especially when intense withdrawal symptoms can make an individual unlikely to shed this addiction and not relapse even with successful initial treatments.
“Although heavy cannabis use is certainly not risk-free, taken together with results from our other studies, these findings suggest that the heaviest cannabis use is not linked to persistent alcohol problems”, is one of the results of the study by the Alcohol Research Group. “Many participants in the study said that signs of alcohol dependence came back when they stopped using cannabis. 29% of the participants also turned to booze to help with pain management, then started to use cannabis instead.” But how, exactly, is cannabis helping a person struggling against Alcohol Use Disorder? In these key areas, CBD has proven to be a valuable resource:
- First of all, let’s talk about alcohol withdrawal. A good percentage of people struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder find that withdrawal symptoms are one of the worst challenges in quitting the addiction. Withdrawal symptoms in fact, pushes a person to keep drinking beyond what is healthy, overriding any other rational thought. Moreover, the physical discomfort caused by prolonged withdrawal can be vicious, with things like heart palpitations, higher blood pressure, insomnia, excessive sweating even outside hot temperatures, and a strong feeling of anxiety that can be very hard to fight. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that CBD can be effective; this compound is good at fighting precisely these kinds of symptoms, especially anxiety.
- There’s no doubt that one of the best-known consequences of alcoholism is liver damage, also known as cirrhosis, which consists of scar tissue building up in the liver. Although our liver is pretty well adapted to alcohol consumption in moderation (literally designed to do so), abuse can cause lifelong damage to this vital organ, to the point that a transplant may be needed. Nevertheless, CBD, according to some recent studies, can help alleviate many of the worst symptoms of liver damage, so the use of this cannabinoid seems to have become standard procedure in AUD treatments.
Check out some studies related with CBD and alcoholism.
- Finally, as we mentioned earlier, craving for alcohol is the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to effectively fight Alcohol Use Disorder and the biggest reason why a person in recovery might relapse. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the urge to chase for another dose of alcohol, thanks to the dependence developed by the body (incidentally, this is why going “cold turkey” is seldom an effective strategy, and it can be outright dangerous). According to the 2021 research by the aforementioned institutions, CBD can help in greatly reduce these cravings, and effectively substitute cannabis for alcohol. This can hence, be a lot less dangerous and can serve as a “crutch” during recovery, not to mention the relaxing effects that we already know so well.
So what’s next for the fight against alcoholism?
Of course, HØJ is not a medical blog, and we are not saying that if you think you are suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder, you can find a magical cure in your next joint. As always, it is advised that you open up to someone close and responsible to you and seek professional help to fight a severe condition. However, news like these shows that, for people suffering from these terrible illnesses. New research is being done every day, and as of now, cannabis seems to be a good answer that someday might help you, or someone you love, to leave AUD behind. Thanks for reading!