Can Cannabis Help Addicts Get Off the Hard Stuff?

July 3, 2018


As marijuana and cannabis products become more widely accepted and used for both recreational and medical purposes, it begs the question as to whether or not cannabis can be used as a means to help individuals who are struggling to come off of harder substances. Since cannabis is a less addictive substance, it would make sense for addicts to turn to cannabis rather than to their drug of choice. In this article, we will explore the use of cannabis to treat drug addiction and abuse.


The Question: Can Cannabis Replace Harder Substances and Treat Drug Abuse?

Yes, cannabis can and is already being used to help drug addicts work towards a drug-free lifestyle. In fact, the term for this type of treatment is known as "harm reduction." Rather than attempting to cut drugs out of someone's life completely, a specialist will instead recommend that an individual begins using marijuana in place of a user's normal drug. Some people are unable or reluctant to come off drugs immediately, and harm reduction helps them to live a more comfortable and healthier lifestyle while they work to come off of drugs altogether. The other model that is more commonly utilized is the abstinence treatment which requires drug users to quit all at once.


The Proof

One example of this type of drug treatment program can be found at the Los Angeles-based rehabilitation known as High Sobriety. Joe Schrank, the founder of High Sobriety, fully backs the use of cannabis for hard drug users.


"... You're supposed to go to rehab to get off drugs and cessation of drug use can be a goal for some people, but pacing is also important," he says in an interview with CNN. "With cannabis, there is no known lethal dose; it can be helpful for certain conditions."


However, while we can see positive changes in some drug users, others may continue to use a harder substance despite giving the opportunity to switch to cannabis. Also, there is little to no statistical evidence or research that can speak for this treatment's effectiveness since progress varies from patient to patient.


Our Verdict

While there is no doubt that cannabis can be utilized as a tool to help addicts wean themselves off harder substances, there is also little evidence to support its effectiveness because treatment depends largely on each individual and the external factors in their unique situations. Anyone considering this type of treatment should do their research and carefully weigh the pros and cons before joining a harm reduction program.




The Independent

Midwest Alcohol Rehab Institute

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