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Can Medical Marijuana Treat Alcoholism?

Can Medical Marijuana Treat Alcoholism?
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In recent years, the conversation around addiction treatment has evolved as researchers have begun exploring medical marijuana as a potential solution for alcoholism. That research is still in its early stages, but the results so far have been promising.

In this article, we’ll delve into those results and examine the risks and benefits of using medical cannabis for alcoholism.

What Is Alcoholism and What Are the Symptoms?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is a condition characterized by an inability to manage one’s drinking. It’s a severe form of alcohol abuse that involves a preoccupation with alcohol and continued use despite negative consequences. Alcoholism can lead to devastating medical, social, and financial effects and impact nearly every facet of an individual’s life. The symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Increased tolerance to alcohol’s effects
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • Drinking more or for a longer time than intended
  • Unsuccessful efforts to cut down on alcohol use
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from alcohol
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities due to alcohol use
  • Continued alcohol use despite knowledge of having persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems likely caused or exacerbated by alcohol

Can Medical Marijuana Help Alcoholism?

Studies have demonstrated that medical marijuana use can lead to reduced alcohol consumption and mitigate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (such as anxiety, insomnia, and nausea), thereby easing the path to recovery for alcoholics.

However, critics argue that substituting one substance for another doesn’t address the underlying causes of addiction. Therefore, while medical marijuana shows promise in certain aspects of alcohol addiction treatment, it’s not universally endorsed as a cure or solution.

Marijuana Cause Sleep Apnea

How Can You Treat Alcoholism with Medical Marijuana?

Since research indicates that CBD (cannabidiol) can curb alcohol cravings, reduce alcohol consumption, and provide neuroprotective effects for alcoholics, CBD-dominant products are recommended for those aiming to treat alcoholism with medical marijuana.

That said, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider before using any medical marijuana products for this purpose.

What Are the Risks of Using Medical Cannabis for Alcoholism?

The risks of using medical cannabis for alcoholism include:

  • Dependency: Substituting alcohol with cannabis can lead to a cannabis dependency.
  • Mental Health Concerns: For individuals predisposed to conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, cannabis use may exacerbate or even trigger mental health issues.
  • Impaired Cognitive Function: Long-term cannabis use can affect memory, concentration, and decision-making capabilities.
  • Potential Lung Damage: As with tobacco, smoking cannabis, can lead to lung-related health issues, including chronic bronchitis and lung infections.
  • Drug Interactions: Cannabis can interact negatively with medications prescribed to treat alcoholism or related health issues, leading to adverse effects.

Can CBD Help Decrease Alcohol Consumption?

Research indicates that CBD can reduce cravings for alcohol and decrease alcohol consumption, but more extensive human studies are needed to confirm these effects.


In summary, while medical marijuana has the potential to serve as a valuable treatment supplement for alcoholics, more research is needed to fully understand its efficacy. It’s essential to approach this treatment option with caution and an awareness of the risks it carries, which include dependency and mental health complications. If you’re considering medical marijuana as a treatment for alcoholism, be sure to consult a healthcare professional first.

If you’re seeking to obtain a medical marijuana card for alcoholism and/or another qualifying condition, the Sanctuary Wellness Institute has you covered. We can connect you with a licensed medical marijuana doctor and, if they deem you eligible for one, help you apply for a medical marijuana card in your home state.

Book an appointment with us today to get started on your medical marijuana journey.

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