The Impact of Legalized Marijuana on the Recovery Community

Marijuana continues to gain traction as an acceptable drug in today’s society, and many states have passed legislation legalizing the sale of marijuana to any customer who has acquired a medical marijuana card. This increased prevalence and acceptance of marijuana use in society has had a significant impact on the recovery community, both positively and negatively. Make no mistake, marijuana use for an addict in recovery is still a relapse regardless of its increased acceptance in society, and can still easily lead you back to your drug of choice and accompanying destructive behaviors.

One positive effect the increased acceptance marijuana has had on the recovery community is to further destigmatize the disease of addiction in today’s society. For decades, addicts and alcoholics were viewed as lesser beings lacking the strength of will to put down the intoxicants which were disrupting their ability to function. Now that normal people in society are confronted with a marked increase in marijuana use across the country, they have been forced to acknowledge substance use and abuse is both far more common than previously thought and is not a sign of weakness but an illness like any other.

The flip side of the coin is the introduction of a harmful idea in the recovery community: the notion that marijuana is an effective treatment for substance abuse the same as Suboxone or Vivitrol. Marijuana has even garnered a following in the medical community as the basis for MAT programs. This unproven alternative to traditional medically assisted treatment protocols has not been sufficiently vetted to show efficacy. 12-step recovery groups view so-called “marijuana maintenance” as simply trading one addiction for another, continuing to leave the underlying psychological causes of your addiction untreated.

While the use of marijuana is generally accepted in today’s society, it is not acceptable for those living in recovery. The mantra heard in the rooms of recovery “take the good, leave the bad” applies here as well - we should welcome the increased destigmatization of our disease of addiction in society while continuing to maintain our belief that marijuana is just as harmful a substance to those with the disease of addiction as any other mind or mood altering substance. If you are serious about your recovery, you will opt for treatment methods with both time and scientifically proven efficacy backing them as opposed to these new, unproven marijuana maintenance programs. While their intentions are noble, they could end up doing you much more harm than good in terms of your sobriety and overall health.


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit

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