Addiction, Medical Marijuana

Our Response to Kevin Sabet’s Medical Marijuana Comments in Addiction Pro Magazine


Last week a story in “addiction pro magazine” started some rabble rousing among providers. Leading the charge in the “against” camp was, per usual, Kevin Sabet. Sabet is an anti marijuana crusader with little to back up his claims except the stale and rote “just say no” rhetoric that lingers despite failure. High Sobriety’s own, Dr. Amanda Reiman weighed in on Mr. Sabet’s comments  

Mr. Sabet’s perspective represents a very obtuse view of the urgency around opiate dependence and a life-threatening situation. For most people, traditional abstinence based treatment is not a long-term solution, and every relapse brings with it the chance for death. Death is irreversible. Those of us who work with people dependent on opiates see the hopelessness that comes from repeated failures to live up to the mantra of sobriety touted by the treatment centers they access. We also see the myriad of pharmaceutical drugs being given to those treating trauma with substances, including anti-psychotic, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. To embrace that protocol while brushing off the use of a therapeutic plant to address a very real life and death situation is inhumane. It is also important to draw a distinction between causal cannabis use by someone who is in treatment or recovery and using cannabis as a withdrawal medication to prevent relapse and potential fatality. The use of cannabis in the context of alcohol and opiate treatment, administered and overseen by a physician as an approved medication for symptoms of withdrawal is safer for the patient than methadone. The use of cannabis to treat opiate dependence is not some new and crazy idea. It was written about in The Lancet in 1889 in an article entitled, “The Use of Indian Hemp in the Treatment of Chronic Chloral and Chronic Opium Poisoning”. We must stop allowing orchestrated fears about cannabis get in the way of what could be a life saver for so many struggling with alcohol and opiates, and for their families, who would rather they use cannabis and live to work through their underlying issues, than be held to abstinence and die feeling as though they have failed.

As always, High Sobriety welcomes all comments and emails, supporting or dissenting.

Author: Joe Schrank