December 3, 2009

Pot, a treatment for alcoholism? But no "cure" yet for what ails Walnut Creek's own pot club

As members of Walnut Creek’s embattled pot club, C3 Collective staged a small “protest” at the City Council meeting Tuesday evening, new research from a UC-Berkeley lecturer made headlines in the medical marijuana world, suggesting marijuana as a treatment for alcoholism and addiction to other drugs.

“Substituting cannabis for alcohol has been described as a radical alcohol treatment protocol,” says Amanda Reiman, a lecturer at Cal’s School of Social Welfare, in her study, published in BioMed Central's open access Harm Reduction Journal.

Reiman considers cannabis to be a potentially safer drug than alcohol with fewer “negative side effects.” Her research focuses on the study and evaluation of medical marijuana dispensaries—such as C3 Collective on Oakland Boulevard—as community health providers, and on using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs.

Her latest study features a poll of 350 cannabis users. The poll found that 40 percent used it to control their alcohol cravings, 66 percent as a replacement for prescription drugs and 26 percent for other, more potent, illegal drugs.

I know, I know. It would be nice if addicts of alcohol and other drugs could just give up all substances and live a clean, sober life. It’s challenging enough for me to give up some of my bad habits to have great admiration for a friend who gave up his long-time addiction to smoking.

Anyway, I’ve read up enough on the bio-physical realities of addiction to know that, for some people and with some drugs, it might take a lot more than will power, strong moral fiber, or a "higher power," to break free of an addiction.

Reiman belongs to the "harm reduction" approach to helping people address their self-destructive behavior. This approach, yes, has its detractors. She seems to believe that letting some addicts substitute pot for another, more harmful, substance, might be one way to go for them.

So, with this approach, could this mean that if you’re an alcoholic or a meth addict you could go to a doctor and get a prescription to smoke some pot instead of going to AA or NA? And could it mean that one day you could get your pot from C3 Collective?

That is, if C3 Collective, which opened this past summer, stays in business …

Collective members were at the City Council meeting Tuesday night, asking the city to stop trying to close it down, according to the Contra Costa Times. C3 currently is ordered to pay $500 a day in fines every day it is open for zoning violations.

While Walnut Creek has launched a study to look at if and how it would ever allow a medical marijuana dispensary to open in town, city officials currently say "no" to any pot clubs right now because their operation is illegal under federal law—though they are legal under state law. Walnut Creek officials have also filed a suit to shut down the collective because it, like any pharmacy, would be prohibited under zoning laws from operating in that particular location.


MickeyMartin said...

This study shows what most intelligent and common sense loving people believe- Marijuana is Safer. It is a safer alternative to many substances. As adults, people should have the right to use cannabis, therapeutically or as an alternative to other legal and far more dangerous substances. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Millions of Californians use cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes. Most of us either use, know someone who uses, or has used in the past this safe herbal drug. I think everyone would agree that they would rather have a person using cannabis around than a person who may be drunk. The real danger lies in creating criminal elements by allowing it to flourish on the black market. Common sense must prevail at some point and the people we have criminalized with our archaic laws should all be apologized to. As a person who has been on the receiving end of punishment for my safe and responsible use of cannabis, I shudder every time I think about the 800,000 Americans a year that are made out to be criminals because of Richard Nixon's intolerant approach to controlled substances. We must put an end to the madness.

Smokey said...

Legalize it already,,, tired of this topic!!!!

Anonymous said...

Marijuana is hardly safe. Smoking anything does major damage to the lungs over time. And marijuana is a gateway drug, no question about it.

MickeyMartin said...

The journal PHARMACOLOGICAL REVIEWS [2] reports that decades of research prove that, "Compared with legal drugs...marijuana does not pose greater risks." Yet based upon mortality statistics, we can safely conclude that cannabis is one of the safest medical drugs known, for, while prescription drugs, defined as safe by the FDA, kill up to 27,000 and aspirin up to 1,000 Americans per year, cannabis kills 0 per year [3].

The journal TOXICOLOGY LETTERS [18] published a study that found no link between cannabis smoking and lung cancer. The seven researchers in the study concluded:

It has been suggested that marijuana smoking is a proximal cause of respiratory cancer. However, these intimations have not been borne out by epidemiological investigation.

Not only is the evidence linking cannabis smoking to cancer negative, but the largest human studies cited indicated that cannabis users had lower rates of cancer than nonusers. What's more, those who smoked both cannabis and tobacco had lower rates of lung cancer than those who smoked only tobacco -- a strong indication of chemo-prevention [4][12][13]. Even more, in 1975 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia found that cannabis showed powerful antitumor activity against both benign and malignant tumors (the government then banned all future cannabis/cancer research) [4]. In fact, the NEW ENGLISH DISPENSATORY of 1764 recommends boiled cannabis roots for the elimination of tumors [19]. Powerful evidence that cannabis not only does not cause cancer, but that it may prevent and even cure cancer.

With its vast resources, the "GovtMedia elite" are able to fabricate and fob off a pharmacological fraud against both cannabis and the public interest. Through sheer repetition and consistent suppression of contrary information, they are able to construct an edifice of public consensus which even the hardest scientific facts fail to topple.

Coffee is a gateway drug. I see more 13 year olds drinking it these days than ever use cannabis. The gateway theory has been disproved time and time again.

Gilbert Doubet said...

One of several who spoke at Tuesday's council meeting, my final comment was a quote from the new biography of William F. Buckley, Jr.

Its author, Richard Brookhiser, noted historian and a senior editor of National Review magazine, used MMJ during a recent bout with cancer. (If the name sounds familiar, Brookhiser is a frequent pundit on the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour.)

Addressing the dispensary issue, Brookhiser writes: "Law and order is not served by passing laws that bring the system into contempt. Liberty is not served by inserting the state between patients and their doctors. And morality is not served by withholding help from the sick.”

MickeyMartin said...


Long time, no hear. I hope you are doing well my friend. Glad to hear you are still advocating for common sense and people's right to feel better. I look forward to talking to you again. Be well.


Anonymous said...

Oh great... M&M is back peddling drugs again.

MickeyMartin said...

Creative. I am not peddling anything but the truth, anonymous. Does a little education scare you? I know the truth is hard to cope with. Cannabis is safer. End of story.

Teacher said...

We are so sick of you promoting drugs. Pot 2.0 is not like the weed your dad smoked back in the 60s and 70s. It is more potent and dangerous. Just look at the THC levels in todays pot. This isn't some sort of miracle drug or multivitamin. I can see already how pot has developed psychotic illnesses such as delusion in you. Try eating an orange or drinking some V8 instead.

MickeyMartin said...

If your theory is correct about cannabis being more potent (and those are based on US Government statistics of cannabis seized by agents), as a medicine wouldn't that mean it was MORE EFFECTIVE, therefore less needs to be used by a patient, thus less negative side effects. The drug warrior position will never change. All of these supposed "dangers," and still no hard evidence of these dangers in real life statistics of impaired health conditions, hospital reports of fatalities, or healthcare professional reports of patient conditions effected by these dangerous plants. Any other common law enforcement myth's you would like to debate?

MickeyMartin said...

I would suggest folks read this very good article on the growing number of women joining the fight to end prohibition. Very well done and very informative. A good look at the "soccer mom" point of view.

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Anonymous said...

I know this is an old article and I apologize for posting anonymously, but I'm an alcoholic who periodically managed sobriety (five years at one point) but always relapsed under terrible stress. Two years ago, my brother (a successful, achieving business-owner, family man, and pothead) suggested I try weed. That suggestion gave me my life back. Like others in studies of alcoholics and marijuana, I find that vaping just a little (I vape or eat it, rather than smoke, as I quit smoking cigarettes decades ago and didn't want to take the combustion health risks again) relaxes me and calms me without making me aggressive or losing self-control, and most importantly, it relieves the urge to drink. Marijuana reduces that urge to a level that I can control, and doesn't replace it with a corresponding desire for more weed. I know it's not the answer for everyone, but for me it was a godsend, it gave me back my life and my health, and I'm sure that for some others it can do the same. All I can say to the negative commenters is please, have some compassion, and keep an open mind.

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