I actually forgot about this video I did last year regarding using cannabis to taper off of alcohol – and then I got this comment and thought with the holiday party season coming up, the video is a good reminder that one doesn’t have to drink themselves silly… just turn to a little of the plant medicine.
Here’s the comment and then following is a link to the (oldie but goodie) video!
Becca, I have been substituting weed for a week or so now to get off the drink and it really helps. In Canada weed is legal and cheap but alcohol is bloody expensive. As a heavy alchoholic for the past many years, I do agree that I get really shitty sleep when I drink – but damn near sleep like a baby when I smoke dope. Also trying to get fit. I mean weed might give you the muchies but if you’re crushing 60 cans of beer a week you’re doing your health a lot worse! LOL
– Andrew

So …. thank you! Thank you for, gosh, sharing stuff that’s like personal and family secrets about how cannabis has helped weaned you or others in your life off addictions including opioids, prescription meds and, of course, alcohol. A lot about cannabis support in weaning off of alcohol.

I just want to share one with you that was representative of the tone of all the emails I got. This one from let’s call her, “Cary” who lives in the Pacific Northwest. I always respect the privacy of those who connect with me because we’re talking about sensitive, intimate stuff here, right?

So Cary says,

“My Auntie was a lifelong pill and beer addict. My uncle has always grown the herb (cannabis) to help subdue his sometimes violent temper.

He makes pretty potent capsules from his herb. So, when my Auntie decided to become sober, she used them to sleep through the most turbulent part of her detox. She’s been sober for 4 years now, and doesn’t need to use the herb anymore. It worked for her when she needed a hand, a friend, an ally. Also, Cary adds, “she was able to recover in her home, which was very important to her mind, body, and spirit.”

Cary ends by saying, “Cheers to The Mother!”  In other words, much praise to this plant that appears to be watching out for us, like a nurturing mother.

Now, in Western science, we call reports like that “Anecdotal” … “Anecdotal evidence” and it’s pretty much dismissed because it’s a personal’s account of what happened … and science likes measurements and systematic observations and duplication of results. No question, well designed and performed studies are invaluable to proving cannabis’ efficacy.

Yet our modern day science only started connecting the dots on HOW cannabis acts on the brain about 30 years ago – we knew it acted on the brain, but how? So the science is WAY behind the popular use and citizen experience of this plant medicine. And of course the War on Drugs pretty much stopped research on cannabis dead in its tracks through the 70’s, the 80’s, the 90’s and while research is now opening up, there are still many barriers to conducting research in the United States.

But, in regard to alcoholism and interventions with cannabis, I want to bring to your attention a seminal study done by the late, great, maverick medical doctor in California, Tod Mikuriya, who I talked about in another video a while back. We’ll give you the link to that because he was a fascinating guy … he died in 2007.

Anyway In 2002, Dr. Mikuriya – or Dr. Tod, as they used to call him; he was beloved. He embarked on a study of people – self-described alcoholics.

Even though the War on drugs was raging in the 1990’s, in California, medical marijuana was approved by voters in 1996. Through that, people were able to get a doctor’s approval to treat their condition with cannabis.

So Dr. Tod, in his private medical practice, used this opportunity to identify 92 patients who said, with a doctor’s consent, they were using cannabis to treat “alcohol abuse”.  These patients were then followed-up with consultations… interview them to confirm they were, in fact, alcoholics.

The majority of patients identified themselves as blue-collar workers, like construction workers, truck drivers, waitresses, others were in sales, there was a teacher, actor, paralegal, computer technician … to name just a few. 92 people all together. You know, alcoholism is across the board cutting through all socioeconomic groups.

The patients were asked to complete a number of questionnaires to find out their experience in using cannabis to treat their “alcohol abuse”. There was a wide range of reports from these patients noting basically how miserable their lives were, being alcoholics …. a lot of fights, arguments and accidents while drunk. And also, digging deeper, the reason they were drinking in the first place was to numb anxiety, depression, other difficult emotions as part of post traumatic stress disorder – PTSD.

So these patients were tracked through these questionnaires on their use of cannabis in place of alcohol. I’ll make available here the link to Dr. Tod’s full account, it’s intriguing reading. But in one report from a patient that was typical of the group’s experience in moving from alcohol to cannabis: This from a 33-year-old river guide (and decorated Army vet), named Albert: HE SAYS: “I’ve had a problem with violence and alcohol for a long time and I have a rap sheet to prove it.

None of the problems occurred while using cannabis. Not only does cannabis prevent my violent tendencies, but it also helps keep me from drinking.”

On his follow-up visit, a year later, Albert reported improved communication with family members and fewer problems relating to other people. His alcohol consumption had decreased from 36 drinks a week to none. Very typical of what the patients were reporting. Another patient said, QUOTE: “Cannabis in the evenings makes me calmer with my kids, drink less alcohol and sleep through the night without waking angry or anxious.”

Also a good percentage of the patients, about a third of them – reported a RETURN of symptoms when cannabis was discontinued. One comment, from a man who said: “I quit using cannabis while I was in the army (because he had to, right?) and my drinking doubled. I was also involved in several violent incidents due to alcohol.”

To sum it up, regarding this 2002 study, Dr. Tod noted, that although medicinal use of cannabis by alcoholics can be dismissed as “just one drug replacing another,” he points out that those who use cannabis and those who use alcohol tend to run very different courses. That even if used every day, cannabis replacing alcohol reduces harm because of its mostly benign side effects.

In the end, he said, The chronic alcohol–inebriation-withdrawal cycle STOPS with successful cannabis substitution.

Pretty powerful stuff, yeah? I’d love to hear what you have to say about this, drop down to the comments and let me know your thoughts on this!

I’m Becca Williams, and I want you to lead your most magnificent life – and I want to help you do that!

Tod Mikuriya’s full report: Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol