Can I Use CBD if I’m in Recovery?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient found in marijuana, and is known for its effect of reducing anxiety and providing a very organic calming sensation. Some people in recovery may frown on seeking this sensation, and classify it as relapse behavior, even if it is not itself a relapse, but according to the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” For this reason, CBD is virtually unregulated, and can be purchased in most states without restriction, even though the federal government still classifies it in the same category as marijuana.

I think the question of whether or not you should use CBD when in recovery is related to the topic of using pain medication to treat extreme cases of pain associated with major injuries or terminal illness, or using drugs containing DXM. It really depends on the person, and how strict they want their program to be. The safest avenue would be to avoid the use of anything that can alter the mind, but then that steers us into the conversation of substances like tobacco and caffeine as having mind altering properties. It’s all relative, and at the end of the day, the decision of whether it is safe to use such substances is between you and your higher power.

Institutions that are focused on rehabilitating people from drug and alcohol addiction each have to draw a line in the sand as far as their stance on these types of “grey area” substances. While some programs may allow the use of CBD and DXM as needed to treat legitimate conditions, still others prohibit even the use of caffeine and tobacco because of their mind altering properties. While these programs may be able to control the use of substances such as these within their walls, it all changes when a client leaves treatment. Then they have to make the decision of where to draw the line in the sand for their own program.

A general rule of thumb is that everything is dependent on the nature of your spiritual condition. If there is a good connection with a higher power of your own understanding, then the decision of whether or not to use a “grey area” substance becomes very clear. Ultimately it is all a matter of intention, as it is with most questions surrounding recovery. If it is your intention to use something like CBD for its intended purpose, and not to try to experience a sensation that changes the way you feel, then there is safety in the truth of that intention. Consulting with your sponsor, or another person working a strong program is always a good move, especially if there is some uncertainty. 

I think a good rule to follow is, if you don’t really need it for something you are legitimately struggling with, or if there are other, safer ways of dealing with those struggles, then you probably have no business experimenting with something that may jeopardize your recovery.         

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