Lamar Odom, who has battled crack cocaine addiction, recently stated that he found marijuana was helpful in his treatment and recovery for substance abuse.
“While going through rehab, I discovered certain strains that support wellness,” the former NBA star, 38, who is investing in a new marijuana business, told The Blast. “Friends, associates, and ex-teammates asked me what solutions I was using on my road back to recovery, and that’s when Rich Soil Organics was born.”
Odom said he wanted to offer “cannabis solutions to the public who may be going through similar body issues.” The “organically grown, pesticide-free cannabis” products will include flowers, concentrates, extracts and other CBD/THC infusions.
So, can marijuana really aid in the recovery of drug addiction? Experts explain there are different types of cannabis that have different affects on the body.
“When you take a cannabis plant and you separate it, you have cannabinoid, as it’s called,” Dr. Cali Estes, a addiction specialist, who has not treated Odom, tells PEOPLE. “THC is the type of drug that makes you high. The CBD oil is that piece that doesn’t. The CBD oil is very good for you, it’s very relaxing. It helps fight cancer and inflammation in your body. It makes you feel good but doesn’t get you high.”
Dr. Howard Samuels, who has not treated Odom either, and is co-founder of The Hills Treatment Center, a center certified by the Commission of Accredited Rehabilitation Facilities, explains the difference between CBD and THC is key. Former/recovering addicts are fine to take CBD, he says, but should abstain from marijuana with THC, and remain completely sober.
“It’s playing with fire,” Dr. Samuels, who is a recovering heroin addict with 33 years of sobriety, tells PEOPLE. “An addict is a person who can’t control the drug, the drug controls them. Once you’ve crossed that line, this is where you have to admit you’re powerless over this part. In order to gain power back in your life, you stay away from all drugs and alcohol.”
Dr. Estes sees it as a more “case by case basis.” “I would want to sit down with [the individual], and say ‘let’s talk about this,’ ” she says. “I would not give a blanket statement that it’s good for everybody or not good for everybody. There are going to be people who can’t smoke weed with the THC because of their addiction tendencies, but then there are going to be people who can maintain and have a productive life.”
She adds: “I’m probably one of the most vocal addiction coaches and therapists that’s pro marijuana.” Speaking of of Odom’s 2015 near-fatal overdose, Dr. Estes tells PEOPLE. “Because … when you’re doing so many drugs at that level it damages your body … You lose certain things in your body that are very hard to fix and replace. Your body aches, you have fogginess in the brain. There are so many things happening, and different strains of marijuana, different strains of cannabis can help you recover from that … when he talks about body [issues] there are different strains – and you don’t have to smoke it, you can take an edible, you can take CBD oil – you can take different compounds that would make you feel better.”
But Dr. Samuels disagrees. “Instead of turning to marijuana, he says, “for anyone who is in true recovery, it’s about surrounding yourself with other people who abstain from drugs and alcohol in order to have a support system. It’s about going to 12-step meetings … it’s about [Odom] being grateful that he’s not an active addict anymore.”