It’s believed that 70% of adults in America have drank alcohol in the past twelve months. However, there is a difference between enjoying the occasional drink and a alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is on the rise in the United States today. It’s now estimated that a whopping one out of every 8 American adults suffers from an addiction to alcohol.
This number is much higher than it has been in previous years. The rise in numbers is indicative of a growing public health problem across the country. The consequences of this problem are far reaching. Alcoholism has devastating effects on both individuals, communities and society as a whole. This is why successive governments have made it a top priority for progress.
Unfortunately, they haven’t been successful. Clearly, there is more need for an effective treatment for alcoholism today than there has ever been before. Recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous can be very effective for some people. However, approximately two thirds of those who take part in them leave before completing the program.
This is because the withdrawal symptoms are too strong for many people to resist for very long. As a result, support groups only work for a small number of people who are suffering with alcohol withdrawal. A new treatment option is badly needed for these people. As a result, some are suggesting that medical cannabis, or medical marijuana as it is often known, could be the solution.
Supporters of cannabis alcoholism treatment programs argue that the drug is perfectly safe to use under medical supervision. However, many people remain wary of the possible health benefits which the plant has been found to contain. As a result, it remains a highly contentious issue among healthcare practitioners and patients alike.
Medical scientists have been studying alcoholism for many years now, and they have learned a great deal about the disease. However, it does remain stubbornly mysterious in many regards. The causes of alcoholism is one aspect of which researchers are still relatively unsure. Studies have revealed that there is certainly a genetic element to the illness, and that alcoholism does run in families. However, beyond this they are unsure why some people are prone to addiction and others are not.
The symptoms of alcoholism can be hard to spot. They are usually very subtle to begin with and can often be explained away easily enough. However, as the illness progresses they become more difficult to deny. The symptoms of alcohol abuse are primarily behavioral and boil down to:
One aspect of alcoholism which isn’t mysterious is the effects of the illness. Research has shown that the consequences of the illness on the body are often life threatening. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that approximated 88,000 people die as a direct result of alcoholism each year in the United States. Of this figure, they believe that almost two thirds are male and one third are female.
Alcoholism also has far reaching consequences for communities. Where rates of alcoholism rates are high, so too are rates of crime, domestic violence, child neglect and abuse. This is a disease which tears families apart, destroys careers and can, if left untreated, ruin lives. This is why effective and long lasting addiction treatment is so badly needed. It is also why a growing number of patients are turning to medical marijuana.
Marijuana maintenance is the term which is increasingly used to describe cannabis based addiction treatment. This treatment is now being used for a host of substance abuse problems, including opioid addiction and alcoholism. To many people it seems bizarre and illogical to many people to treat an addiction with another addictive substance. Yet, there is evidence to suggest it could work well.
The main argument in favor of treating alcoholism with cannabis is based on physical withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis has been found in countless studies to contain a vast number of health benefits. These benefits are uniquely suited to tackling the physical withdrawal symptoms of many addictions. It is believed that by reducing the severity of these symptoms, it’s easier for patients to complete treatment. This should help patients to stop drinking in the long term.
Another argument put forth by supporters of marijuana maintenance is that alcoholism often stems from mental health problems. Cannabis has been found in a large number of clinical trials to significantly reduce depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. It is expected that by treating the cause of alcoholism for these patients, it will be easier for them to stop drinking.
The side effects of cannabis use have been blown out of proportion, according to many researchers and doctors. They argue that a medical cannabis treatment program replaces a harmful substance with one which causes infinitely less harm. Some believe that this is in the best interests of harm reduction and patient welfare.
For now, the jury is very much out on whether or not cannabis can be successful in fighting alcoholism. Much more investigation into certain aspects of cannabis treatment is needed, including the varying effects of different strains of the plant on the body. Who knows what the future of marijuana maintenance research will unveil? In the meantime, it is certainly an option worth considering.