Alcohol is the #1 drug problem in the U.S. The state of Florida seems to be struggling with this problem considerably more according to Ben Pollara, political consultant. Alcohol kills thousands of people every year in Florida, whether that’s through traffic fatalities, direct overdoses or chronic abuse. Ben Pollara turns to medical marijuana to help (he engineered the medical marijuana amendment last fall). He states that “marijuana has proven medicinal purposes and has the potential to also decrease opiate overdose deaths, which are also at epidemic levels in Florida.”Alcoholism not only negatively affects the residents of Florida, but the state itself. The Annual Economic Impact of Alcohol and Drug Use in Florida found that the total cost to Florida of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is 21 billion dollars. A solution is obviously needed and legal medical marijuana is a viable option.
Medical marijuana should be considered for alcoholism treatment primarily because it is less dangerous to society and to individuals than alcohol. Legal medical marijuana does not kill brain cells or permanently damage any organs in the body. The majority of people who depend upon alcohol to get high or feel numb can transfer those sensations to smoking medical marijuana. The transition is relatively easy, and significantly cheaper than booze and alcoholism in the long run. Also, new studies show that cannabinoids protect neural cells from cell death during alcohol withdrawal. Where many cells would die from the withdrawal of alcohol from the body, cannabinoids actually protect the cells
Even though the use of legal medical marijuana as drug or alcohol recovery treatment is still quite new there are a lot of studies being done to help spread the word. A research project called “Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol and Other Drugs” found that people in the trial used cannabis to curb their alcohol cravings, as an alternative to previous use of prescription drugs. 57.4% of respondents chose to use cannabis because it provided better symptom management as well. Legal medical marijuana patients are able to function better in daily activities and work, unlike with many prescription opiates for symptom relief. There are also fewer side effects with marijuana than with many traditional drug treatments.
With alcoholism impacting the Florida economy and residents the need for change is crucial. There are many medical marijuana doctors in Florida who believe in alternative medicine and the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of alcoholism. Hopefully, in time, more studies and research will show what a realistic and preferred option this could be for people suffering from alcoholism in Florida and throughout the United States.