While it may be hard to deny certain medical uses and benefits of medical
marijuana, it is important to keep in mind that there is little to no research
about the trigger effect that marijuana may have on addicts/alcoholics in
recovery. Some undesirable side effects of marijuana include increased heart
rate, appetite and sensory perception and diminished coordination. Marijuana
has been noted to cause short-term memory loss, anxiety, paranoia and even
psychotic episodes. There has been little research on its trigger effect on
schizophrenia but, it is believed that marijuana use amongst adolescents with
a predisposition to schizophrenia can be detrimental in the onset of the disorder.
Some users may experience anxiety and the sensation of panic when
they smoke marijuana. There has been much talk of a correlation between
marijuana use and psychological disorders, such as depression, bipolar
disorder, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety. However, it is not clear which precedes
which. Often times, those already suffering from mental disorders turn
to marijuana as a way to self-medicate – a more likely case. The concern
however, is whether this is a safe way to treat such disorders or if it only
serves to make matters worse.
Some addicts and alcoholics have tried the ‘marijuana maintenance’ program,
believing that they can simply smoke weed without going back to the harder
stuff that they were using before getting clean. This rarely works however,
because for those in recovery, the introduction of a drug in the brain releases
their addiction all over again. The fact is that whom may identify as addict or
alcoholic, have minds that are wired a bid differently and so using any kind
of intoxicating substance will set the wheels of our addiction spinning again.
It’s not unusual for some wavering addicts to think that they could go back
to only smoking pot after each bout of using the harder stuff – heroin and
cocaine, or other drugs of choice. However, soon enough and without fail,
these people often find themselves mired once again in active addiction.
Literature used in 12 Step fellowships reminds us that “alcohol is a drug”
… and so is marijuana.
For those who might be thinking, ‘perhaps I can still smoke pot’, its important
to remember that being clean means abstaining from any mood or mind-altering
drug. In other words, anything you use with the effect & intention of getting high.
And no, that doesn’t include taking ‘psych meds’, like anti-depressants or medication
to treat bipolar disorder. So, by that definition, using marijuana in and of itself breaks
one’s sobriety. To the alcoholic and addict, it is as detrimental as alcohol, heroin,
cocaine, or any other intoxicating substance.