Cannabis Substitution: Harm Reduction Treatment for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence —by Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D. and Jerry Mandel, PhD.


«Freedom from toxicity afforded by cannabis compared with alcohol is the simple physiologic reality. The problematic biphasic chronic alcohol inebriation-withdrawal cycle ceases with cannabis substitution. Sleep and appetite are restored, ability to focus and concentrate is helped, energy and activity levels are improved, pain and muscle spasms are relieved. Family and workplace relationships are restored as long term goals replace crises and apologies. Sobriety through cannabis substitution for some is not unrealistic. In providing a substitute for alcoholism and other drug habits, cannabis restores normal physiologic functioning of CNS, GI, hepatic, orthopedic, and endocrine. […]

In using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, the cumulated problems of a hard alcoholic life did not disappear; but they could be seen and act upon from a distance, and soberly. At minimum, more effective coping and control resulted from cannabis substitution. Hope is restored with relief from chronic poisoning, and a life line back to functionality and dreams replaces injuries and  nightmares.

 For the senior author, as a physician, another duality regarding cannabis has often become more important, urgent, and threatening than any caused by smoking cannabis per se. That duality is imposed by federal prohibitory laws. For physicians to alleviate the problems that patients with long-standing alcoholism bring to them, is to risk being defined and treated as a criminal. […]

 If the experiences of alcoholics, described above, are not unique to the geographic range of the author’s medical practice, then there are tens of thousands of persons in the U.S., alone, who could benefit from cannabis substitution for alcoholism. Many patients remark that other physicians will not hear of the curative value of cannabis for debilitating drug problems, or will not recommend cannabis because of fears of legal repercussions.»

Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.