Alcoholism is a horrifying disease that kills nearly 100,000 Americans each year. Alcohol abuse can permanently damage much of the body including the heart, brain, and liver. According to the National Institute of Health, “Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.”

For many alcoholics, the only choice in battling their addiction is to quit drinking alcohol entirely. Quitting cold turkey is not easy for alcoholics and withdrawal can be a life-threatening ordeal. Doctors often prescribe addictive painkillers like benzodiazepines to help with the withdrawal symptoms. Traditional models of treatment have very low success rates. In fact these traditional treatments only have a success rate of 50%. People often end up relapsing within six months. Recent studies have shown how effective cannabis treatment for alcoholism can be.

Marijuana maintenance is the term associated with using cannabis to treat alcohol abuse. When someone is using marijuana maintenance, they replace alcohol with marijuana and either continue to use cannabis or ween off of cannabis once their alcoholism withdrawal symptoms are relieved. According to those who believe in the idea’s efficacy, cannabis can be consumed when a craving for alcohol arises. It can also be used as a less-harmful and natural alternative replacement for prescription medications for alcoholics.

There is of course the argument that marijuana maintenance may just be replacing people’s alcohol addiction with a cannabis addiction. While this is a concern for some, evidence suggests that cannabis is not nearly as addictive as alcohol. Also, using cannabis during a marijuana maintenance program is intended to be limited, responsible, and monitored by a treatment professional. Marijuana maintenance programs are typically accompanied by the traditional non-medical forms of treatment- like the 12-step program.

At this time, there is not enough scientific evidence to conclusively prove that using cannabis will make quitting alcohol an easier ordeal. However, there are many anecdotal accounts of marijuana maintenance programs working well. No matter what, it is clear that using cannabis as a replacement for the dangerous prescriptions and addictive painkillers often given to alcoholics is a safer and healthier alternative.



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