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With the legalization of cannabis spreading like wildfire across the united states, there is a lot of talk regarding how CBD and marijuana can help improve mental and physical health. While CBD and marijuana have many medicinal benefits, cannabis can also be effective in helping those who are suffering from alcoholism to mitigate alcohol withdrawals and rebalance brain chemistry that has been affected as a result of alcohol abuse. Lastly, marijuana use can be used as a harm reduction tool in preventing alcohol relapse among those suffering from alcoholism.
Cannabis and Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol withdrawal can be so severe that many people who want to stop drinking will continue to drink purely to prevent feeling the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that come when they put the bottle down. Some individuals can even experience seizures during alcohol withdrawal, making it extremely dangerous to attempt without detox medications. Often times, addictive benzodiazepines are used to mitigate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, using cannabis to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be a safer, less addictive solution.
A study discovered that cannabinoids can help reduce the negative effects produced by alcohol withdrawal and help those suffering remain sober during the detox period by acting upon the endocannabinoid system. Furthermore, research has suggested that marijuana use can alleviate intense cravings for alcohol and can help make the path to recovery much easier.
Other ways cannabis can aid in alcohol withdrawal include:
- Fighting against insomnia that comes from removing alcohol from the body.
- Alleviating anxiety that accompanies alcohol cravings.
- Reducing nausea, which is extremely common during alcohol withdrawal.
- Increasing appetite to allow the body to consume the nutrients it needs.
- Diminishing depression that is often experienced by those suffering from alcoholism
- Stopping seizures or making seizures less severe
Cannabis and Brain Chemistry
Studies show that the profound chemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of prolonged alcohol abuse are mediated by the cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids, found in marijuana, are powerful compounds that carry great medicinal powers which have the ability to help reverse the damage done in the brain by chronic alcohol abuse. The study found that one of the cannabinoid receptors that plays a significant role in the development of alcohol use disorders can benefit from cannabis use. When cannabis is ingested, this receptor is activated and was shown to block the voluntary alcohol intake in mice. This suggests that not only can cannabis change brain chemistry that is affected by alcoholism, but it may be able to deter some people from drinking in the long run.
Putting the Bottle Down With Cannabis
For the chronic alcoholic, simply smoking weed and putting down the bottle may not be that easy. In this case, one can use edibles rather than smoke. The potency of edibles is stronger and the high lasts longer, making it a great way to deal with alcohol withdrawal.
When the withdrawal period is over, an alcoholic mind is still an alcoholic mind. Without help, it will still crave alcohol despite the consequences. Brains that are affected by alcoholism heavily rely on the reward structures of the brain. However, adding cannabis to an alcohol-free lifestyle can help reinforce these reward structures and fight against the urge to drink again.
When it comes to alcoholism, treating mental health and addiction are equally important. Additionally, many people who suffer from alcohol use disorders live with mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. However, studies have proven that cannabis can provide vast relief towards symptoms of mental health conditions. Using cannabis as a coping tool can be an effective way to keep alcoholics away from a drink.