Are There Natural Treatments For Addiction?

Beating Alcohol and Cannabis Abuse

On episode #67 of THE TONIC, Dr. Emily Lipinski ND and Tonic Publisher, Jamie Bussin,  discussed the potential of natural treatment of alcohol and other addictions. This is a digest of their interview (which can be listened to or downloaded as a podcast at


Q. Why are Canadians abusing alcohol?

A. As the population ages alcohol abuse or misuse is on the rise. This arises out of loneliness or boredom or a little bit of both. For many drinking is normal and accepted. It’s normal to have a glass or two of wine or beer after work. They don’t notice the cumulative effect.


Q. How does alcohol impact your health?

A. First, mood. People drink to feel better. But it's actually a depressant. The next morning you might feel anxious or more depressed. Long term heavy drinking increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and memory deficits. It impacts the heart – drinking can increase blood pressure. Binge drinking can cause abnormal heart beats. Drinking in general weakens the blood vessels. It can lead to weight gain and change hormonal function. Drinking can affect sleep patterns. It may help you get to sleep, but make it difficult to stay asleep. Of course alcohol is hard on the liver. It has to process all the toxins.   


Q. Compare alcohol with recreational cannabis.

A. I treat them the same. If you find that you can’t get through the day without a drink or a smoke, or if you’re not doing things – when you notice that it’s interfering with your life- or even if you’re looking forward to drinking or smoking after work, that might be an indication that there’s a problem. There is such a thing as cannabis addiction. I’ve seen it in my practice.


Q. Are there side effects to regular cannabis use?

A. Anxiety and depression. Which is interesting because cannabis is often used to treat anxiety and depression. Sometimes people suffer from hallucinations, which might lead to anxiety. Weight gaint – the munchies are real!


Q. What natural remedies are available?

A. There’s something called the dopamine loop. That’s what people trigger when they’re drinking or smoking, or gambling or even having sex [their brain is seeking and getting dopamine]. From a natural perspective we need to find other sources of dopamine that aren’t addictive. Exercise can mitigate against addictions. But you have to be doing it frequently, 3 or 4 times a week, and you have to get sweaty. The endorphins have to be released. There are natural substances including amino acids which are beneficial in reducing the effects of alcohol abuse. Also B12 and B vitamins. Dr. Abraham Hoffer (a Canadian) wrote ‘The Vitamin Cure” which looked at (in part) how the B vitamins are helpful in reducing cravings and reducing alcoholism in someone who’s addicted.


Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND addresses the root cause of a medical issue using natural therapies such as diet, lifestyle and herbs either alone or in conjunction with western medicine. Find her at

Categories: Ask The Expert