The road to sobriety looks different for each individual traveling it. For some, reaching a healthy state of mind requires refraining from substance altogether. But for many, the use of cannabis provides a welcome bridge to addiction-free living. Marijuana maintenance is the theory that those struggling with addiction and detox can use herb to safely rid themselves of toxic drug use. As legalization efforts take root across the United States, cannabis is increasingly revered for its healing qualities. 

Kicking substance abuse to the curb isn’t always straightforward. Those suffering from disorders who are undergoing detox & medication management programs may be wise to consider incorporating cannabis into their daily health rituals for the following reasons. 

Harm reduction

Cannabis advocates argue that through media and government efforts, marijuana has been unjustly demonized. The misconception that herb is a gateway drug, leading to a life of criminal activity and addiction, which is quite contrary to the 48% of everyday Americans that use some form of cannabis. Furthermore, marijuana is proven to have no risk of death from overuse and binging. As such, those in recovery from substance abuse report smoking cannabis to avoid using more toxic substances. Instead of seeking out black market or unregulated drugs, a recovering addict can safely use marijuana products that are less impactful on one’s long-term health. 

Withdrawal symptom management 

Common symptoms of withdrawal from opiates and other addictive substances include anxiety, nausea, insomnia, and irritability, all of which can be treated with cannabis. Over the years, more and more research has shown marijuana to provide significant relief to those struggling with anxiety, and countless doctors prescribe cannabis as a treatment option. CBD, a cannabinoid extract from cannabis, has been proven to provide relief from inflammation and even has anti-seizure effects. Even marijuana critics cannot argue with the herb’s ability to stimulate appetite and curb feelings of nausea. Considering the success marijuana has on curbing typical withdrawal symptoms, more recovery programs should seriously consider including cannabis in treatment plans.  

An alternative to abstinence-only programs 

A one-size-fits-all approach to recovery only results in a higher failure rate for those who are unable or unwilling to forgo substances. For thousands of people considering AA programs or other treatment plans, the prospect of a singular abstinence-only method is simply unattainable. Recognizing this, many advocates of marijuana maintenance plans argue that including cannabis in treatment plans creates more space for those seeking help. Furthermore, recovering addicts that choose to gradually cut down on their use are more likely to succeed while using marijuana. 

Closing thoughts 

Those recovering from substance abuse should be surrounded by a compassionate community that understands that several paths to sobriety exist. While some may choose to pursue an abstinence-only route, others experience debilitating withdrawal or other factors that push them back to substance abuse. For those individuals, a cannabis-inclusive treatment plan may guide them on the road toward recovery. Recognizing marijuana as a tool for harm reduction and withdrawal management changes society’s perception of ganja as a potentially fatal drug. Instead, it depicts cannabis as a healing herb, harvested to alleviate pain and improve quality of life. 

Of course, anyone who is detoxing from drugs or taking part in a drug rehabilitation program should talk to their doctor before introducing cannabis products to their regimen. While cannabis has been proven to help many substance use disorder sufferers to detox from hard drugs, it may not be the optimal solution for everyone. 

Furthermore, your doctor or rehab program manager may be able to offer insight on the best form of cannabis to use. Some physicians may object to smoking marijuana while in a rehab program, so using alternative forms like oils, concentrates, and edibles may be more fitting.