Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
If you have ever tried to quit drinking, you know it's not easy!!! Especially if you are a social drinker, dinner time wino or in the age range where hangovers are cured with a quick swig of Gatorade. Even when you begin facing terrible hangovers and have an army of tiny humans to wake you up bright and early, cutting back can be difficult.
Alcohol is a highly addictive substance that can become challenging to give up, especially once you build up a tolerance and have found its way integrated into your daily life!
Some people like to substitute alcoholic beverages with cannabis when trying to cut back or quit. It can become a substitute for the evening wind-down glass of wine or getting pumped up and ready for an evening of dancing. While it can be helpful for some, several factors need to be considered when taking this path.
While there is no black and white answer on what is best for your body due to limitations in research and the fact that everyone is different. Both substances can be addictive and have risks. We hope this overview can give you some insights to support your decision-making.
1. The compounding effect is different.
If you are a new or infrequent user substituting a 6-pack of beer for a 6-pack of weed drinks could leave you in a terrible state unless you opt for CBD-only beverages. Eating some gummies and heading to a club may also take you on a ride you do not want to be on. Our advice is always to start low and go slow. Like alcohol, you can always have more, but you can't have less!!
Talk to your local budtender to get advice on the best options for your goals. They can also help you understand the differences between CBD and THC, and other cannabinoids. Then slowly start experimenting with low dosages at home (with a support person) to see how you feel. Going in hot can leave you feeling like you are 16-years old again and drinking a mix of everything in your parent's liquor cabinet for the first time. Nobody wants you to relive that experience, especially our budtenders.
2. Statistics suggest cannabis has less risk than alcohol.
Alcohol kills 2.8 million people every year globally. According to the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), 77,000 Canadians were hospitalized for conditions directly caused by alcohol in 2015-2016. While people can be hospitalized when using cannabis, it is often due to the immediate and sometimes overwhelming effects of overconsumption or a toxic reaction when used with other substances. Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), which can occur in long-term users, is another source of hospitalization.
While there are always risks with substance use, the biggest pro of choosing cannabis over alcohol is that the risk of a fatal overdose is extremely rare. However, you can die from overconsuming alcohol or binge drinking at high levels over a short period of time.
There are also more long-term health implications associated with alcohol use than cannabis use. That said, users must remain mindful that overconsumption and consistent long-term use of any mind-altering and addictive substance is a health risk.
3. Developing a new dependency
Dependency on a substance is a complex issue. If people have previously struggled with alcohol misuse, then there is a possibility that one substance will replace the other. In this case, the root cause of the addiction will not be addressed. There is a common misconception that cannabis is not addictive, but like all substances, it can be misused, and people can become addicted. If you want the benefits of cannabis without the mind-altering effects, we recommend focusing on CBD-only products.
There are many causes of addiction. We always recommend seeking mental health support when you find yourself relying on a substance. Working with a professional can help you find a solution that works well for your body and mind. It's ok to not be ok, struggling with addiction is challenging, and you deserve support on this journey.
We hope that these considerations support you in your journey to reduce or remove alcohol in your life. However, we are not medical experts. Therefore, we always recommend talking to a doctor or mental health professional to get personalized support.
Our budtenders will be ready to help you pick the right product once you have decided on your next steps.