Can You Smoke Weed and Claim Sobriety?

Is it possible to smoke marijuana and be sober?

By definition, sobriety involves abstaining from alcohol use. It can also describe going extended periods without using illicit drugs or abusing prescription medications. But in recent years, people in recovery have claimed that you can smoke cannabis and be sober.

Many of them say you can remain sober so long as you don’t have a marijuana addiction. But others strongly believe that any drug use during recovery disrupts sobriety.

The Argument for Smoking Marijuana and Claiming Sobriety

A number of people maintain that sobriety applies only to your drug of addiction. Others allude to the medical benefits of marijuana and its role in treating a variety of illnesses and health conditions. Some say cannabis has helped them stave off cravings for other drugs.

Does Sobriety Apply to Drugs You’re Not Addicted to?

If you are recovering from alcohol addiction and have avoided drinking for a period of time, can you smoke cannabis and still call yourself sober? Some people say yes. The argument: I was not addicted to the drug, so I am still sober.

Many people believe that smoking marijuana should not prevent someone from legitimately participating in Alcoholics Anonymous, a support group for people in recovery from alcoholism and those recovering from alcohol problems. Because the program doesn’t focus on cannabis use, some AA participants call themselves sober even though they smoke the drug.

Marijuana Use Helps Wean People off Hard Drugs

Some individuals argue that marijuana helps them avoid substance use problems. For example, people have used marijuana to stave off heroin cravings. These individuals say smoking marijuana helped reduce urges to use other drugs, such as methadone.

Marijuana Has Health Benefits

Some people say that marijuana has helped them deal with chronic pain, so they use the drug for therapeutic purposes. Research shows that cannabis has medical benefits. It may help treat mental illness and other addictions.

Marijuana includes various levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, a nonpsychoactive ingredient that is potentially helpful in treating pain and controlling epileptic seizures. When compared with recreational marijuana, medical cannabis has higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC, the ingredient in cannabis that produces euphoric effects.

The Argument Against Smoking Marijuana and Claiming Sobriety

People also argue that you cannot smoke marijuana and claim sobriety. They say marijuana use simply replaces one addiction with another. In some cases, people recovering from alcoholism have changed the starting date of their sobriety because they used marijuana.

Replacing One Addiction with Another

A drug is a drug. People argue that replacing one drug with another addictive substance does not constitute sobriety. They may believe that people who use a substance that damages their health should not consider themselves to be sober.

Staying sober is more than just not using a substance. It involves living a healthy and productive life. And some maintain that smoking marijuana should not be seen as an activity conducive to a healthy life. It is a drug that can cause addiction.

Smoking Marijuana to Escape Problems

Marijuana has numbing properties. As a result, many people smoke cannabis to escape physical or psychological problems. The drug helps them decompress and allows them to relax more easily.

When debating this issue, people say intent is important. They may contend that someone in recovery who uses marijuana for psychological relief should not claim sobriety. Many people with addiction turn to their drug of choice for the same reason.

Using Substances that Alter Your State of Consciousness Violates Sobriety

Some people believe that recovery involves avoiding all psychoactive substances. And they maintain that using substances that alter perceptions and change moods compromises sobriety.

Not everyone who smokes marijuana is addicted to the drug. But smoking cannabis can still affect the brain. Marijuana use can alter a person’s sense of time and impair memory. When taken in high doses, it can lead to hallucinations, delusions or psychosis.

No Correct or Incorrect Answer

So can you smoke marijuana and claim sobriety? A right or wrong answer may not exist. People on both sides of this argument make valid points.

But smoking marijuana and claiming sobriety does not protect you from the consequences of cannabis use.

Research has shown that marijuana can be addictive, and it remains a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. The drug can stunt brain development in youths, leading to learning problems and a host of other consequences.

Frequent marijuana use can lead to dependence or addiction. Luckily, many treatment centers in the United States address marijuana addiction. Professionals at these facilities craft treatment plans to fit an individual’s specific needs.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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