Jelly Roll Says ‘Marijuana Has Kept Me Sober’

The country star opened up about how pot has kept him off of hard drugs like opioids and Xanax.
Jelly Roll
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In an interview with Taste of Country published on May 24, Grammy Award-nominated country artist Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord said that he smokes weed to stay away from hard drugs that he’s used in the past—namely opioids and benzodiazepines.

Given his past as an addict and his role in speaking against the use of fentanyl sweeping the country, the interview quickly shifted on the topic of drugs. But Jelly Roll doesn’t see weed the same way as hard drugs which can tear families apart and lead to deadly overdoses.

“I get in trouble for this, all the time, but my stance on marijuana will always be the same: I believe marijuana has helped me in so many regards, with my anxiety,” Jelly Roll told Taste of Country. “This is a hot button topic, but, truly, marijuana has kept me sober.”

The country superstar paused for a moment, then added, “I think a world without weed, Jelly Roll’s drinking codeine and popping Xanax and snorting cocaine again, but a world with weed, I’ll be alright.”

Jelly Roll abandoned hip-hop for a career in country music—which turned out to be a wise and lucrative decision. Jelly Roll’s album Whitsitt Chapel hit number 1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart and number 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums in 2023. In November 2023, he won the award for New Artist of the Year at the 57th Annual Country Music Association Awards. He’s won three CMT Music Awards and several other accolades.

TMZ reports that Jelly Roll has been a huge voice against fentanyl use and an example for people dealing with drug addiction. Last January, he appeared in front of Congress to back anti-fentanyl legislation called the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act.

Jelly Roll gave an opening statement at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing about fentanyl awareness and legislative solutions to stop illegal smuggling of fentanyl. “Fentanyl transcends partisanship and ideology…this is a totally different problem,” he started the hearing with in a speech that was described by many as “powerful.”

‘The sad news is that narrative is changing, too, because the statistics say that in all likelihood almost every person in this room has lost a friend, family member of colleague to the disease known as addiction,’ DeFord told the committee chaired by Cleveland Democrat Sherrod Brown. ‘I could sit here and cry for days about the caskets I’ve carried of people I love dearly.’”

His messages about fentanyl and hard drug use, and the potential of replacing them with a less dangerous substance such as pot, have made a lasting impact.

Cannabis for Addiction

Cannabis has been explored for its potential role in fighting addiction of hard drugs. Some studies have focused on CBD for treating addiction disorders, some of which are caused by compulsive cravings, while others focused on THC as well.

While many studies have focused on cannabis to curb opioid use with some looking more broadly at stimulants, new research suggests that it could prove useful for those with crack use disorder (CUD). In fact, the popular non-psychoactive CBD, or cannabidiol, seems to be the key element.

The study, published recently in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, utilized a double-blind randomized clinical trial comparing CBD to three drugs commonly used to treat CUD: fluoxetine, valproic acid and clonazepam. Authors represent a number of Brazilian academic and official institutions, comprising various departments at the University of Brasília, the Brazilian Federal District’s secretary of health and forensic institute and the Federal University of São Paulo.

The research ultimately found that participants who took CBD had better health outcomes and fewer adverse effects compared to those who underwent traditional pharmaceutical options.

In another study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers found that cannabis is not only widely used to manage stimulant cravings but that it may be an effective strategy to reduce stimulant use.

To further analyze how cannabis use may affect people using stimulant drugs, researchers collected data from three cohorts in Vancouver, Canada: the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS), the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS) and the AIDS Care Cohort to Evaluate Exposure to Survival Services (ACCESS).

Researchers used a cross-sectional questionnaire alongside logistic regression models to analyze the relationship between cannabis use to manage stimulant cravings as well as self-reported changes in the frequency of stimulant use. 

Many others say cannabis replaced their daily alcohol use.

The studies seem to back up some of the claims about cannabis and sobriety. Jelly Roll, like country outlaw Willie Nelson, are helping to spread the good word on cannabis to the country music world.

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