Using Medical Marijuana for Pain In Sobriety

As of mid 2014, 23 states have legalized the sale and use of medical marijuana, with many more on track to do so in the coming years. This is a polarizing issue for many, with advocates arguing the medical purposes of marijuana and the genuine relief it provides to users and with protesters arguing that it is making a dangerous drug far too available for misuse and abuse.

Medical marijuana is an especially sensitive topic for those in recovery. In recovery, one is supposed to avoid all mind-altering substances. But there are times that people in recovery must take medication prescribed by a doctor, whether to deal with a chronic condition, illness or pain. So what about medicinal marijuana?


Medical Uses of Marijuana


There is no arguing that marijuana has medical properties and can be a very effective treatment for a number of conditions. Marijuana has been clinically proven to relieve pain and lessen symptoms of numerous disorders, including muscle disorders, digestive disorders, depression and anxiety. For people living with chronic pain, marijuana can give them a sense of relief and the ability to lead more normal lives.


The Problems with Medical Marijuana


While medical marijuana can be a godsend for many people living with pain and/or illness, there are definitely problems associated with medical marijuana. Getting a prescription for medical marijuana is laughably easy; in many states (including California), it takes little more than $40 and a 5 minute consultation with a doctor. For a drug with such high abuse potential, the ease with which one can obtain a prescription is alarming, and there are countless people who are using medicinal marijuana for recreational purposes.


Medical Marijuana in Sobriety


The use of medical marijuana in recovery is, at best, a slippery slope. While medicinal marijuana can be used to treat issues that people in recovery might be struggling with (say anxiety, for example), all other non-medicinal treatment options (such as therapy) should be explored before considering taking ANY medication, marijuana included. The potential for abuse of medicinal marijuana in recovering addicts and alcoholics is astronomical.

That being said, I think there are valid uses of medical marijuana for people in recovery. For example, if someone in recovery is suffering debilitating pain as a result of chemotherapy and marijuana is the only thing to alleviate that pain? I am 100% for it. People in recovery should never be denied medication or treatment that they need in order to function on a daily basis, whether it has potential for abuse or not.

There’s no definitive right or wrong when it comes to the use of medical marijuana for pain in sobriety. While medical marijuana is certainly helpful in relieving pain, people in recovery need to be extra vigilant of their motives and their behaviors surrounding the use of medical marijuana…  What are your thoughts?

Related post – Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Considered a Relapse? 

Read more though provoking articles on Into the Heart of Addiction.


  • [email protected]
    Posted at 00:30h, 23 June Reply

    Medical marijuana and some of the plant’s chemicals have been used to help Alzheimer’s patients gain weight, and research found that it lessens some of the agitated behavior that patients can exhibit.

  • John Lane
    Posted at 04:43h, 06 July Reply

    I have been sober 29 years. I was injured 8 years ago and am a incomplete Quadriplegic. 5 years ago I tried MMJ for some relief. The drugs they were giving me were all dangerous and mood altering. I use mmj occasionally now as medicine. I don’t care what anyone thinks. I have never had a urge to drink or have abused anything in those 5 years. I was really scared at first, I spoke with my Doc and got her blessing. I reviewed my motives for a long time before I tried it. Did lots of research. I don’t like the feeling of being high.

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