Marijuana, Hallucinogens, Sobriety

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Julie Holland, a psychologist, proposed something quite controversial on her trip to a psychedelics conference in London the summer of 2017. She wasn’t alone in her suggestion, which made the context of the proposition even more curious. Holland, along with many other psychologists and psychiatrists, believe that marijuana should be re-categorized as a hallucinogen.

Like hallucinogens, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning it is highly illegal. Though there is a growing trend throughout the country to regulate marijuana through medicalization and legalization movements, the federal government still considers marijuana to be illegal. Marijuana is considered an addictive drug. The DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists “marijuana use disorder” as a “substance use disorder”, which means addiction. Over this fact there is considerable controversy. At once, marijuana is an addictive drug that causes chemical dependency in mind and body. Yet, marijuana is consistently being proven as efficient in successfully treating many illness that modern medicine cannot seem to provide a solution for. Some suggest marijuana be used as a medication alternative for addiction treatment. However, the mind-altering quality of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, makes many more professionals question why something that creates a high should be given to people who are addicted to getting high.

Dehabituation is a psychological term for seeing things from a new perspective. The antonym is habituation, which gives us the ability to have dehabituation. For example, you might live in an apartment where the train goes by every day at 3 p.m. Eventually, you do not hear the train anymore because you have habituated to the presence of the train. One day, the train does not come at 3p.m. The dehabituation occurs when you see the 3 p.m. time period differently- now that you are not living in that moment through the perspective of the train being there, you see it differently- but only because you have the reference. Holland and her colleagues suggest that marijuana causes habituation on a greater scale, which is a characteristic of hallucinogens. What Holland said she was curious about most, according to Business Insider, is “…this thing where everything old is new again.”

The feeling of seeing things for the first time is not one that requires mind altering drugs like hallucinogens or marijuana. One of the most common ways we describe the experiences of being in early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, that is freshly sober from years of abusing mind-altering substances, is seeing things for the first time, as in everything old is new again. It is not the addition of substances but the absolute subtraction of them that gives us this radical paradigm shift in how we see the world. Habituated to a world intoxicated, we habituate upon abstinence. Curiously, the therapeutic potential for this experience is one that is experienced through therapy- the many therapies we experience in treatment. This fact is one of the many that keeps us sober. We don’t need drugs anymore to see the world in a new way. Learning to be present, mindful, and live an awe-inspiring life, we see things with fresh eyes all the time. It’s a thing, “where everything old is new again” moment after moment, day after day, year after year, completely clean and sober.

You can find freedom of addiction through discovering the many wonders a sober life has to offer you. Tree House Recovery puts men into the very best of life by maximizing their experience with physical challenges, outdoor adventures in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and intensive therapeutic growth, along with personal development. Our programs help men create sustainable recovery by creating sustainable change. Call us today for more information on how we are teaching men to find freedom from addiction. (503) 850-2474

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