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Cannabis May Treat Alcohol Withdrawal, Says New Study

A new study published by the Journal of Neuroscience has found that heavy alcohol consumption leads to a decrease in the availability of our cannabinoid receptors, making cannabinoid receptor noalcoholactivation a potential treatment for the negative impact of alcohol withdrawal and abstinence.

For the study, “20 healthy social drinkers underwent [18F]MK-9470-positron emission tomography (PET) at baseline and after intravenous ethanol administration (ALC ACU). Moreover, 26 alcoholic patients underwent sequential CB1R PET after chronic heavy drinking (ALC CHR) and after 1 month of abstinence (ALC ABST). Seventeen healthy subjects served as controls.”

In following this method, researchers found that; “whereas the acute alcohol effect is an increase in CB1R availability, chronic heavy drinking leads to reduced CB1R [type 1 cannabinoid receptor] availability that is not reversible after 1 month of abstinence. Longer follow-up is required to differentiate whether this is a compensatory effect of repeated endocannabinoid overstimulation or an enduring trait-like feature.”

They conclude that; “An enhanced CB1R signaling [which can be done through cannabis consumption] may offer a new therapeutic direction for treatment of the negative affective state produced by alcohol withdrawal and abstinence, which is critical for the maintenance of alcohol addiction.”

The study can be found by clicking here.

A separate study published online by the National Institute of Health has found that; “Substituting cannabis for alcohol may reduce drinking and related problems among alcohol-dependent individuals.”

TheJointBlog

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

6 comments

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  1. Jayne

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to share my experience in case it can help anyone out there. I was prescribed Ativan (a benzo) about 19 months ago and it ruined my life. I took 0.5 to 1 mg at night with a glass of wine (dangerous) and quit cold turkey after 5 weeks noting that I was almost unable to function anymore.

    During the three weeks I had to take off work I developed an affinity for alcohol which is my drug of choice. Since then I have had major physical dependency issues with alcohol and can only withdraw safely after a long period of tapering which is dangerous, frustrating and upsetting.

    I was doing really well 3 months ago, but after drinking heavily one weekend with a friend it all came back. I ended up with mild pancreatitis and lo and behold ended up in the hospital on extreme amounts of Ativan though I explicitly told and cried to anyone who would listen that Ativan is what CAUSED my problem in the first place.

    I have been in and out of detox facilities in Alberta. Regardless of explaining that I can’t take benzos because it CAUSES my issues (and they get way worse after even a few days on Ativan), I am given Ativan. So i leave a detox facility grateful to be “sober” but very dependent on Ativan which seems counterproductive. After a few days, I transition back to alcohol because it seems the lesser of two evils, is legal, and can be administered in smaller regular does. (An ounce or two of wine an hour vs. a 1mg tiny pill.) ATIVAN WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE. I cannot be clear enough on this. It is a dangerous dangerous drug.

    Anyways, tonight for the first time I tried medical marijuana with no THC which means there is no impairment. WOW is this a game changer.

    I have been going through withdrawal since I stopped Ativan 8 days ago (about 3-4mg a day), my body aches, my ears hurt from sounds ike leaves falling, I am anxious if I don’t drink, and extremely nauseaous when I wake up in the morning. So basically I drink small amounts 24 hours a day to self-medicate, requiring an immediate full drink when I first wake up in the morning. And I am miserable with this procedure, but can’t approach the medical society because all they want to do is give me Ativan, starting the cycle over, and making my initial problem way worse.

    The medical marijuana is really interesting and therapeutic. Smoking pot has been a disdainful thing I occasionally see people doing and I had no interest in becoming a pot smoker myself. But after one puff tonight on a nonTHC strain of medical marijuana, I felt almost normal. Felt that the alcohol and Ativan withdrawals went away. I stopped shaking for once, my shoulders relaxed and I was able to smile and talk for the first time in a long time.

    I have a little more from my friend, and plan to try a small bit in the morning and see if it stops my alcohol withdrawal symptoms (nausea, tremors, confusion, vertigo) and report back to anyone else who is interested.

    Having a problem with both alcohol and benzos is almost untreatable – modern day alcohol withdrawal is treated with a benzo in Alberta – no matter how much you insist you are an addict with it, it’s insisted that you take it.

    So today, I am just trying to manage at home alone – tapering off alcohol.

    Wish me luck with the no THC marijuana experiment – I have a great feeling it’s going to work.

    1. Frankie

      Hello .i think ill try cdb thats the no thc weed.i have medical card and it helps.
      Never thought of trying the non thc weed.cdb.its a hard road

  2. psykolog aalborg

    Alcohol will undermine any stability in your situation. If you dont find a way to be sober you will see the consequenses to physical and mental health.

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    In Philadelphia, and such as the Main Line and surrounding counties, growing marijuana
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  4. Nathan G.

    I too find that my drinking has become the core focus of any activity. I have been through an inpatient rehab facility in CA (VA Medical center). that was 3 years ago and well, low and behold I drink less per 24 hr period (probable reverse tolerance) but drink every day. Living in OK, medical marijuana doesn’t exist and any possession is a possible 1 year sentence. Diazepam works if withdrawals are severe (which I’d say yes as seizures are a pretty severe symptom) but here in the sticks no doctor will prescribe more than a 2 day supply unless you go inpatient. “Drug seeking” behavior as their guise. Pot isn’t an option unless I embrace the paranoia that it causes when i know at any point, I can be arrested. Soooo, I just drink and it goes on. Irony? Born and raised in Colorado haha

  5. Kelly Kasten

    I would love to be a test subject, my drinking embarrasses me.
    Several attempts to quit….I just keep going back, when I do smoke weed now and again….I feel great, less urge to drink.
    Keep me in mind,
    Kelly Kasten 🙂

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