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40% of Medical Marijuana Patients Use Cannabis to Control Alcohol Cravings

posted 04:18 AM EST, Mon December 07, 2009
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40% of Medical Marijuana Patients Use Cannabis to Control Alcohol Cravings © Photo Credit: Spliffr

A University of California, Berkley researcher says that almost half of medical marijuana patients at a Berkley marijuana dispensary are using cannabis to control alcohol cravings and suggests marijuana substitution as a “radical new alcohol treatment”.

According to Amanda Reiman, from the University of California, Berkley a significant percentage of medical marijuana dispensary clients are using marijuana, at least in part, as medication to control alcohol cravings.

In determining this, Reiman polled 350 patients who were clients of the Berkely Patient’s Group, a marijuana dispensary. She found that:

  • 40% were using marijuana, at least in part, as a medication to relieve alcohol cravings
  • 66% used marijuana as a preferable alternative to prescription medications
  • 65% used marijuana because it had fewer adverse side effects than alcohol, prescription medications or illicit drugs
  • 34% used marijuana because it caused fewer withdrawal symptoms

Reiman says that although many people would consider giving marijuana to alcoholics to be, “a radical treatment approach” that marijuana has fewer negative side effects than heavy drinking and “that substitution might be a viable alternative to abstinence for those who can't or won't completely stop using psychoactive substances."

Read the full results of the research study in Harm Reduction Journal.

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