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Sobriety and Cannabis: The Rise of “Cali Sober”

As the country shifts away from traditional vices like alcohol and cigarettes and towards cannabis and other alternatives, a new conversation is arising: can cannabis and psychedelics play a role in the fight against addiction?

California Sober: The New Wave of Substance Abstinence

A newer trend, known as “Cali Sober,” promotes cutting out certain addictive substances. But it does not cut out everything.

As the country moves away from traditional vices like alcohol and cigarettes, more and more people are turning to cannabis. Other alternative means, like mushrooms, are also used as a means of achieving a sense of “sobriety.”

The concept is that cannabis is okay even while other substances are not. When someone is “Cali Sober” cannabis and possibly mushrooms are still used. However traditional vices such as alcohol or opiates are not used.

So what exactly does being “Cali Sober” mean? The term is somewhat ambiguous and can be defined in different ways by different people. Some may use cannabis in place of alcohol and other addictive substances. Others may define it as using alcohol and marijuana in moderation while avoiding other drugs.

With the rise of the “Cali Sober” movement, an increasing number of people are leaving alcohol behind. Instead they are choosing cannabis and other non-intoxicating substances.

Space Coyote President and Co-founder Libby Cooper is out in front of this movement. Having been sober from alcohol since turning 21 and seeing a growing number of her peers adopt the same lifestyle he is no stranger to being Cali Sober.

“Cali Sober is about exploratory experiences where alcohol is no longer the focus,” says Cooper. “There’s no time for feeling leveled down and the next generation is fully on board.”

Singer Demi Lovato also identifies as ‘California sober,’ ” saying “I really don’t feel comfortable explaining the parameters of my recovery to people, because I don’t want anyone to look at my parameters of safety and think that’s what works for them, because it might not.”

Lovato continued, “I am cautious to say that, just like I feel the complete abstinent method isn’t a one size fits all solution for everybody, I don’t think that this journey of moderation is a “one size fits all” solution for everybody, too.”

One thing is for sure, Cali Sober is gaining popularity, especially on the East coast.

According to a recent survey, 20 percent of those participating in “Dry January” are using cannabis or CBD as a substitute for alcohol. This trend is evident by the sheer number of growing cannabis and CBD retail shops popping up in states like ours here in New Jersey.

One-third or 33 percent of the 21-24 age group leaned toward cannabis/CBD products. That’s the largest % of all the other, older age groups for using cannabis. Soda and seltzer products are more popular with adults ages 25-34.

What exactly is “California Sober”?

The term is ambiguous and can mean different things to different people. Some use it to describe replacing alcohol with marijuana, while others define it as moderate use of both alcohol and cannabis while avoiding other drugs.

In New Jersey, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2010, patients have reported finding relief from conditions like chronic pain and PTSD through the use of cannabis.

What exactly does it mean to be sober in the age of legal cannabis?

Does using weed, even for medical purposes, disqualify someone from consideration as sober?

This is a question likely needs further debated as more states legalize cannabis. As the Cali Sober perspective gains ground and cannabis gains further acceptance could it be like coffee?

Clearly cannabis is becoming more recognized as a viable alternative to traditional vices like alcohol and opioids. Cannabis clearly has the potential to play a significant role in the fight against addiction.

New Jersey continues to push for expansion of the cannabis industry and expand its medical program.

It’s important that we have open and honest conversations about the role of cannabis in addiction recovery.With the opioid epidemic still a pressing issue, perhaps it’s also time to further explore cannabis as a tool in the battle against addiction.

It is clear we need to evaluate our traditional notions of sobriety. Especially as psychedelics come into the mainstream more and more as well and people ditch alcohol more and more.

Remember that famous saying? “Do you smoke weed? It’d be a lot cooler if you did!” So true on many levels!

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