Many of us grew up with the D.A.R.E. program being a mandatory requirement as we prepared to go into high school. For those of you who are not familiar with the D.A.R.E. program, it was a drug education class that was normally a part of a Health class. For most of us, it was our first introduction to drugs. Nancy Reagan coined the phrase that became the D.A.R.E. program’s slogan. Just Say No. They focused on the harm that drug abuse among teens could have on our lives. They also told us cannabis was a gateway drug, leading to the use of harder drugs. I argue that cannabis is a gateway drug…a gateway to recovery.
It’s probably no surprise to you that cannabis is used by many trying to get clean from harder drugs. Most indoctrinated with the D.A.R.E. program’s teachings might dismiss this as an addict trading one drug for another and not treating the underlying physical or psychological addiction. But like most things, the truth isn’t quite so cut and dry.
It’s also common knowledge that cannabis is used everyday as a natural treatment most commonly for nausea, insomnia, muscle cramps, and pain. All symptoms any person going through detox will experience. If a person is trying to get clean, it is hard enough to battle the voice inside your head asking for more, let alone the physical agony your body goes through getting rid of the toxins built up in your system. Cannabis has helped many patients in relieving these extreme body aches and pains when breaking the strong physical dependence that stems from drug abuse.
Not only does cannabis make a person a little more comfortable, but it also makes it so the body can recover easier and faster. CBD (cannabidiol), also commonly found in cannabis, acts as a neuroprotectant of your very important brain cells, and can help protect them from cell death as a person detoxes.
Do No Harm
“But you’re still just trading one drug for another…” True, but there are a few really good arguments as to why this is not an issue when discussing cannabis.
First off, doctors give heroin addicts Methadone as a way of getting off heroin all day every day. That seems just fine to the larger medical industry. Why not something that is way safer? Why not something that is known to help treat patients? Why not cannabis?
Only 11% of people who try cannabis become somewhat dependent. Less addictive than coffee, let alone alcohol, cigarettes, or harder street drugs. The majority of people who use cannabis to quit other drugs would not become addicted.
Alcohol, cigarettes, and harder drugs, all take a heavy toll on your body. Someone who becomes addicted to any of these is almost guaranteed to take off a large chunk of their life expectancy. In contrast, Cannabis helps regulate the body and promotes homeostasis, keeping your body in balance.
When you look at the harm cannabis has on communities, compared to other drugs, it’s like comparing…well, it really isn’t much to compare. On average, 10,000 people die every year from drunk drivers. Cigarette smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths per year. Many people who use harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin often commit crimes to support those habits because they are so addictive. Not the case with cannabis. There have been zero deaths attributed to cannabis. Not one. Peanuts cause more deaths than cannabis. And I have yet to meet the person who had to rob a liquor store to support their cannabis habit. It’s just not that serious.
Bottom line, if someone has made the mental commitment to get clean, they should be given all the help they can get. If it makes it a little bit easier to kick a bad habit, by all means, smoke some cannabis. Pass that joint. It just might save someone’s life.