September 3, 2020

Scottsdale Living

Using CBD during recovery: Yes or no?

If you’re in recovery for alcoholism or drug addiction, you may hear varying views on using CBD products or marijuana while in recovery.  The health and wellness spaces are full of articles that state how beneficial these can be for things like anxiety, migraines, depression, chronic pain, and more.

But the question remains:

If I use pot or CBD while in recovery, am I still considered sober?

The answer will depend on who you talk to.

But before we get into the various viewpoints, let take a closer look at the differences between marijuana and CBD.

Pot and CBD Oil: What’s The Difference?

Canabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient of the industrially grown hemp or cannabis plant. It is one of the over 400 ingredients found in the plant. Over the years, it has been found to have favorable results when treating a wide range of medical conditions.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This is the ingredient that gives the user a euphoric, “high” feeling.

What’s the biggest difference between marijuana and CBD products?

Marijuana has THC – the ingredient that gives the “high” feeling and CBD does not.

Medicinal Benefits of CBD and THC

Both CBD and THC are known for medicinal benefits. However, those that don’t want to feel the “high” feeling – perhaps due to being in recovery – can choose to use CBD products.

With the wide range of CBD products available, no longer does anyone have to turn to marijuana for relief from various health issues.

CBD tends to help with things like:

• Chronic pain

• Inflammation

• Seizures

• Nausea

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Insomnia


Advocates of THC for health conditions report that marijuana can also help with the things listed above, as well as helping with poor appetite.

Am I Still Considered Sober If I Use Pot Or CBD?

Those in 12 Step groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous may say that you’re not sober if you use marijuana.


Because the THC in pot gives you that feeling of being high. It alters your mood or reality. The more you smoke, the more your reality will alter.

For those in recovery that are interested in the health benefits of cannabis, “12 Steppers” will state that they can get them by using quality CBD products.  They believe that they can get the same relief for things like anxiety or insomnia by using CBD, rather than ingesting marijuana.

What if you’re in recovery for using marijuana?

Maybe you’re in recovery for marijuana addiction.  You’ve got some sobriety but wonder if you can use CBD products for a particular health issue.

Some former pot smokers use CBD products and it causes no problems or relapses. For others, it may cause them to relapse down the road.

If using CBD products makes you want to start using pot again, then you probably should steer clear of CBD.

Does Using Marijuana During Recovery Mean I’m Not Sober?

Some people believe that using pot during recovery is alright. They believe that you’re still considered sober, as long as you’re not abusing it.

They believe that the intent is what matters.  If you’re using marijuana for something like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, seizures, etc., then your intent is pure.  Therefore, you’re still considered sober.

They reason that someone using marijuana to combat high levels of anxiety, for example, can help them from relapsing from their drug of choice. Maybe they were addicted to alcohol or a drug like heroin. They certainly don’t want to fall back into active addiction, so they turn to medical marijuana or CBD products to help with their anxiety.  It works for them and they remain in recovery.

CBD Products And Relapses

One study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry states that CBD usage helped former heroin users experience less cravings for heroin. The participants in the study reported that the CBD products helped ease their cravings for the drug, and did not get them high in any way.  Of course, using CBD to curb drug cravings can have a significant impact on those struggling with addiction and/or relapses.


Everyone’s addiction recovery is unique and personal.  What works for one may not work for another. Using marijuana or CBD during recovery may cause different opinions or reactions. However, each person in recovery must do what works best for them.

Using pot during recovery could be tricky, as it can lead to that “high” feeling. And, that feeling could lead you to want to start using your drug of choice that you’ve successfully been abstaining from. That’s the biggest qualm about pot usage during recovery. If you’re not sure, talk to your sponsor, addiction counselor, or healthcare professional to get some counsel.

Using CBD products is thought to be much safer, as they won’t give you that feeling of euphoria. As such, you’d be much less likely to abuse them or fall into temptation to start using again.

What are your thoughts on using pot or CBD in recovery?