Cali Sober: Are Psychedelics & Cannabis Safe Alternatives?

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If you want to know more about the latest trend, Cali Sober, this is the article for you. As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, and with several others decriminalizing and legalizing psilocybin, individuals with substance use disorders may be enticed by being “Cali sober.”

Once you finish this short blog, you’ll learn about the different substances that are accepted under Cali sober, the lifestyle’s cons, and what research says about this latest fad.

What is Cali Sober?

California sober (Cali sober) is a term used when someone decides to stop using “harder drugs,” such as heroin, meth, or cocaine, but use other “less addictive” substances. People have different interpretations of this lifestyle, but most commonly, marijuana is considered an “acceptable” substance for those who identify as Cali Sober.

Some individuals broaden the definition to include psychedelic drugs like psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, and ayahuasca since states are beginning to legalize (Oregon) or decriminalize them. Other individuals consider alcohol in moderation as Cali sober, so the definition is broader than being “sober sober” or completely abstinent from substances.

Where Did Cali Sober Come From?

The concept of Cali sober gained significant popularity in 2020 and peaked when Demi Lovato (now completely sober as of 2023) released her popular song “California Sober” in April 2021. However, many individuals within the recovery community expressed disagreement with this new movement, viewing it as problematic and not aligned with the accurate understanding of how addiction impacts the mind and body.

California sobriety revolves around individuals replacing potentially harmful substances with what they perceive as safer alternatives. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or unhealthy relationship with alcohol or drugs, the California sober lifestyle may seem appealing. However, it is important to exercise caution when swapping one addictive substance for another, especially when you don’t consult a professional.

Readers may also enjoy: How To Find & Make Sober Friends In Your Twenties

Some individuals may choose to incorporate moderate alcohol consumption into their California sober lifestyle, while others may opt for complete abstinence.

Can You Be Cali Sober With An Alcohol Addiction?

Some individuals may choose to incorporate moderate alcohol consumption into their California sober lifestyle, while others may opt for complete abstinence. For individuals grappling with excessive or unhealthy alcohol consumption and those with alcohol use disorder, attempting to engage in moderate drinking often leads to the realization that complete abstinence is the only viable solution. Here are a few reasons why moderate drinking may prove ineffective for individuals with alcohol use disorder:

  1. Withdrawal symptoms: When attempting to reduce alcohol intake, individuals may encounter withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable and dangerous.
  2. Forgetting the negative consequences: The negative aspects associated with drinking, such as hangovers, blackouts, upset stomach, and feelings of regret the next day, may quickly fade from memory, making it easier to return to excessive drinking.
  3. Loss of control: Once drinking commences, individuals with alcohol use disorder often struggle to predict or manage the amount of alcohol they consume, leading to uncontrolled and excessive drinking episodes.
Marijuana enthusiasts argue that adopting the California sober approach assists them in reducing alcohol consumption

Is Cannabis A Safer Alternative?

Marijuana enthusiasts argue that adopting the California sober approach assists them in reducing alcohol consumption. Although this may be effective for some individuals, substituting alcohol with marijuana does not automatically guarantee a safer alternative. One reason is that this switch may not completely eliminate the desire for alcohol.

Experts have discovered that individuals who replace alcohol with marijuana are more inclined to eventually resume drinking than those who entirely abstain from both substances. Additionally, research indicates that the occurrence of cannabis use disorders is significantly higher among individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUD) compared to those without AUD.

Cannabis carries its own risks and potential harms.

  • Cannabis use among teenagers can negatively affect brain development.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also refrain from cannabis use due to concerns about its impact on the fetus or newborn.
  • Additionally, it is advisable to abstain from cannabis use before driving, and individuals with a personal or family history of psychosis should be cautious, as cannabis can potentially destabilize their condition.
The idea of using psychedelics in moderation outside therapeutic contexts remains largely unexplored, and the potential risks and long-term effects remain unclear.

Can Psychedelics Be Used In Moderation?

The use of psychedelics in moderation is a topic that has gained attention in recent years. While there is ongoing research on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, it is important to note that their use should be approached with caution. Psychedelics, such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, and ayahuasca, have powerful effects on the mind and can induce intense experiences. Studies have shown promising results in treating mental health conditions like depression and PTSD, but these treatments typically involve controlled and supervised settings.

The idea of using psychedelics in moderation outside therapeutic contexts remains largely unexplored, and the potential risks and long-term effects remain unclear. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize safety and consider relevant guidelines and regulations when considering mind-altering substances.

Read next: Can You Overdose On LSD? Why The Effects Are Unpredictable

The Cali sober approach has a big problem: it doesn't fully acknowledge the serious consequences that can arise from using substances like alcohol, cannabis, and psychedelics.

The Cons Of Being California Sober

The Cali sober approach has a big problem: it doesn’t fully acknowledge the serious consequences that can arise from using substances like alcohol, cannabis, and psychedelics. Some people believe a myth that cannabis isn’t addictive and that claims of addiction are just a way to demonize the drug. While past exaggerations of cannabis addiction for political reasons have occurred, it doesn’t mean that cannabis isn’t addictive. Similarly, alcohol often goes unnoticed as a potentially harmful substance because it’s seen as normal and even celebrated in society. However, alcohol consumption can lead to negative health effects and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Psychedelics are underestimated for their dangers. While they may not cause severe withdrawal like alcohol, they distort reality by boosting dopamine and serotonin, creating a pleasurable effect that can lead to addiction. Despite ongoing research on their therapeutic potential in controlled settings, psychedelics remain dangerous and should not be used recreationally.

Contact Launch Centers In Los Angeles

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and is considering a Cali sober lifestyle, contact Launch Centers. One of our addiction specialists can help you analyze if a Cali sober lifestyle is really the best idea, especially if there’s a history of drug abuse. Even if you’re not currently interested in addiction treatment, talking to a professional can help you understand the depth of addiction recovery and substance-free coping skills.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

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