The term ‘alcoholism’ refers to the individual’s addiction and dependency to ethanol (which is commonly known as alcohol). Present-day medical science does not recognize alcoholism as type of disease, but the addiction itself may, and in most cases, lead to a variety of diseases. Alcohol misuse damages almost every organ of the human body, including the brain, and effects of chronic alcohol abuse can cause both medical and psychiatric problems. The only possible ‘treatment’ for alcoholism is quitting, or eventual overcoming the addiction. While withdrawing from other addictions may be eased with supplementary medications (e.g. smokers may use glum or nicotine patches, for heroin addicts there is methadone), there is no known substitute for alcohol. Thus, the person intending to quit can only be provided with psychological counseling (anonymous groups, personal supervision etc.), which makes alcohol even harder to quit than addictions that are considered more ‘serious’.
The majority of alcohol abusers use it to achieve comforting emotional state (commonly referred to as ‘getting high’). Withdrawal from alcohol dependence would make it impossible to reach such state, and thus complicate the quitting process. Medical marijuana is known to provide a psychological effect, which is not quite similar to alcohol inebriation, but may be as comforting and desirable for the person struggling to quit.
Among other negative consequences of alcohol abuse, it has been proven to permanently damage liver and brain cells. While liver cells have the ability to restore eventually, brain cells lack such ability and the damage is permanent. Unlike alcohol, medical marijuana does not damage neither liver, nor brain, which adds one more reason to substitute alcohol with it.
Medical marijuana is far less likely to cause addiction than alcohol (proved by multiple studies). If used solely as a tool to ease the alcohol addiction withdrawal, in right doses and under specialist’s supervision, medical marijuana can be a fair remedy for alcoholism.