We are hitting the point in dry January that may be becoming tricky for some of us. We all do it for different reasons, from just generally having a healthy month to trying to kick a dangerous habit. If you’re not much of a drinker anyway you might be doing fine. However, if you have addiction issues with alcohol you might be struggling. Getting through an entire month without an addictive substance can be a fantastic step towards kicking the habit all together, but the first four weeks can be almost impossible. This is where weed comes in, especially if you’re not normally a heavy smoker. As someone who used cannabis to overcome a drinking habit I can certainly say that I am not alone. All over the internet ex addicts talk about how they used cannabis to overcome heavy drinking. You may think it’s just substituting one addiction for another, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Let’s have a look at the differences between cannabis and alcohol as well as a few accounts of those that have found occasional smoking an excellent replacement for excessive drinking.
Alcohol vs. Weed
Most people assume that cannabis is more dangerous because it is largely still illegal and alcohol isn’t. That absolutely isn’t the case, the reason for one being allowed and the other not is far more complex and historical. I could go into the specifics of this issue but I would need far more than one article and I may be accused of veering violently away from the subject matter at hand. Essentially alcohol is an ingrained part of our society. As an adult it’s difficult to go to a single event or social gathering that doesn’t involve most of the attendees getting a bit squiffy. This also means that if you have an alcohol dependence you may feel like you need to avoid all socialising for the foreseeable future so that you’re not tempted.
It’s not just that booze is more widely available, it’s actually a more dangerous substance despite it being legal. Each year millions suffer alcohol related deaths, we know that alcohol is significantly more physically addictive than cannabis and far easier to consume in excess. Overdrinking causes severe hangovers, skin problems, lethargy, and a whole host of other issues long before it’ll cause death. Would you like to know roughly how many cannabis related deaths there are per year? Last year it was estimated about 30,000 out of the millions in the UK that smoke, but this is only deaths where cannabis was mentioned in the death certificate rather than necessarily being the direct cause. Essentially it’s so rare that it’s difficult to even say for certain whether a death is caused by smoking weed. Cannabis is obviously harder to get a hold of than booze due to its legal status, many find it harder to binge and usually the result is just getting too sleepy, passing out and then feeling basically fine the next day.
How Weed Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal
If you are attempting dry January due to a severe issue with alcohol you may be experiencing withdrawals. Alcohol withdrawal can be horrific and it often makes people go back to drinking. Symptoms can range from the shakes and general anxiety to hallucinations, fever and even death. During the detox stage, which you may currently be experiencing, cannabis can massively help to reduce these symptoms. If you are an extremely heavy drinker quitting cold turkey without talking to a doctor is not recommended. However, if you are simply trying to get through the less severe but still unpleasant symptoms weed can be your best friend.
You probably know that cannabis is often used medicinally to deal with a variety of symptoms caused by severe mental and physical illnesses. These symptoms often include anxiety, depression, nausea, lack of appetite and a lot of other issues that may pop up when trying to stop drinking. In this sense cannabis can help you get through the withdrawal and out the other side more comfortably.
If you’re like me you’re not physically addicted to alcohol and may not get withdrawal but definitely have issues regulating your drinking. I found that my issue is bingeing, which I’m not capable of doing with cannabis. Of course some people are, but even then it likely won’t be as intense as bingeing booze. For me personally it worked well as my alcohol tolerance is extremely high, whereas my weed tolerance is not. If I had the urge to have a drink, essentially the urge to alter my mental state, I was able to have a joint and not only would that basically fix the craving, often it would mean that I was just too stoned to think about getting drunk. However, even having a small amount of weed gives the brain that hit of something foreign that it needs to satisfy the desire to drink.
Of course, this is my personal experience but there are certainly others who have successfully used cannabis to get over alcohol dependence. I won’t link to any specific articles today but there are a few stories out there of how people with alcoholism or alcohol dependence used cannabis to substitute and defeat it. Sure it may be exchanging one vice for another but a far less dangerous one. If you vape or consume weed in a way that doesn’t involve cannabis or smoking it’s significantly less dangerous than getting wasted every night.
I think many of us are also far more palatable when high than when we are drunk. We can sit around with your friends enjoying films, food, board games without the urge to be in a crowded bar or potentially to start yelling at someone. Everyone has seen that wasted dude barreling down the street singing at the top of his lungs and trying to punch bouncers. How many stoners do you see doing the same?
If you’re struggling to stick to dry January maybe grab some bud and have a chill night in with some friends and a vaporiser, I bet you anything you’ll have a much better time than you would in a bar.
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