Grinspoon Takes To Stat News To Defend “Cali” Sobriety

“There is no firm scientific basis for the ‘abstinence only’ models of recovery.”

There are a lot of books about weed. Novelty ones, research tomes, and some awful and unhelpful entries to the canon as well.

But every now and then, a cannabis book comes out that truly resonates, and it seems that Peter Grinspoon’s latest, Seeing Through the Smoke, A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth about Marijuana, has that staying power. Billed as “a comprehensive guide to understanding the truth about marijuana, including its benefits, risks, and legal status,” it’s already been featured by the likes of Newsweek and is finding its place in the inner weed world as well.

Photo of Dr. Grinspoon via

This week, Grinspoon dropped an essay on the Boston Globe site Stat about people going “Cali sober,” which the Harvard Medical School instructor says “is taking the recovery world by storm.” He defines the trend as “dedicating oneself to a life free of drugs and alcohol—except for cannabis and other psychedelics.”

“Hardcore proponents of abstinence-based recovery, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, dismiss the Cali sober approach as dangerous and ‘not really recovery,’ Grinspoon writes. “Those who make their livings by treating addiction the traditional ways, such as addiction specialists and representatives of our country’s sprawling rehab industry, also dismiss the idea.”

The doc goes on to call out the likes of the Cleveland Clinic for “maintain[ing] a blanket ban on physicians certifying patients for medical cannabis for any condition (even though medical cannabis is legal in Ohio),” and also takes aim at the “slippery slope” argument. “I am 15 years into recovery from a vicious addiction to prescription opioids,” he writes. “Through these experiences, I’ve given a great deal of thought to the issues surrounding what predisposes one to addiction, what constitutes an addiction, how we get addicted, and how we recover. The best definition of addiction that I’ve heard, to date, is a simple one, ‘continued use, despite negative consequences.’”

Grinspoon continues: “There is no firm scientific basis for the ‘abstinence only’ models of recovery, which have engendered generations of slogans and platitudes that people like me have had to repeat over and over, when forced into rehab, as I was for 90 days.”

Read the whole article here.