The dangerous and destructive effects of substance addiction are now well-known concepts around the country. We have seen how abuse of drugs and alcohol has destroyed the lives of both celebrities and regular people alike. While those in Hollywood may seem to live on a different planet at times, their trends continue to drip into the lives of those who look up to them.
Our Stuart, Florida, Banyan treatment center asks the question: What does “California sober” mean, and does it serve to help or hinder the people that adopt this practice?
What Does It Mean to Be Cali Sober?
The phrase refers to the practice of abstaining from all substances, with the exception of marijuana. The theoretical purpose behind this is that drugs within the ranks of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and those like them, are far more damaging and dangerous, while cannabis possesses a much smaller list of physical and mental consequences. Some individuals practicing this lifestyle also believe that psychedelic use is acceptable and may take substances like LSD or magic mushrooms.
California Sober Lifestyles as a Form of Harm Reduction
The phrase harm reduction refers to a set of strategies and practices aimed at reducing the negative consequences of drug use. There are a total of eight harm reduction principles, many of which promote themes of agency, empowerment, social responsibility, and awareness.1 It primarily focuses on meeting the addicted individual where they are in their condition and coming up with effective ways to not only treat them but make them an active participant in the solution.
But is the solution to drug abuse really more drugs? This is where much debate stems, and critical thinking is a necessity. Of course, a living person with addiction possesses far greater chances of recovery than, well, one that is not living.
Is Marijuana Safer Than Alcohol and Other Drugs?
The answer to this question is not necessarily a straight yes or no. Cannabis still presents the risk of addiction but carries far less danger than using alcohol or hard drugs. For instance, it is nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana. It doesn’t present the risk of bloodborne diseases on its own, a clear improvement over intravenous alternatives. It is also legal in a number of states, which means people in those locations can utilize it without risking judicial consequences.
This, however, does not mean being California sober does not present a plethora of its own risks. It is entirely possible to abuse cannabis. Doing so can result in a variety of negative effects, including:
- Persistent cravings
- Failure to meet personal, educational, or professional responsibilities
- Loss of interest in activities outside of cannabis use
- Difficulty sleeping without it
- Loss of time and money obtaining marijuana
- Negative impacts on the user’s memory, focus, and awareness
- Needing more cannabis each time to get the desired effects
Physical detriments like breathing problems, consistent brain fog, and accelerated heart rates present their own risks to daily marijuana users.
Is This Actually a Solution, or Just an Excuse?
It ultimately depends on the individual to make this distinction. What California sober does mean is that there will still be a substance present in the person's life. What can be considered as moderation one day can easily snowball into a greater problem the next. This is why countless addiction professionals believe that being completely sober is the only way to go.
Additionally, there are a variety of questions to consider when choosing to maintain a California sober lifestyle, such as:
- Can marijuana be used on a daily basis?
- What about different types of cannabis consumption, i.e., dabbing, oils, edibles, and similar?
- Can other soft drugs (those that do not create a physical dependency), like kava or kratom, be used?
At the end of the day, having to constantly consider or question one's own sobriety can be incredibly exhausting. An abstinence-based approach, like those utilized in treatments at Banyan’s Stuart, Florida rehab, will focus on eradicating the need for substance use as a whole. This approach greatly simplifies the experience of sobriety and can make maintaining it in the long term that much easier.
To learn more about our Stuart, Florida, drug rehab, contact Banyan at 888-280-4763 today.
National Harm Reduction Coalition: Principles of Harm Reduction