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Anonymous no more?

February 23, 2011
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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12-Step program for marijuana seeks to raise its profile with professionals

“AA” and “NA” roll off the tongue in the addiction treatment community, but what of “MA,” a 12-Step organization that many still have not heard of? Leaders of Marijuana Anonymous World Services are trying to familiarize more addiction treatment and medical professionals of an effort that surprisingly was launched back in 1989.

In a recent communication with
Addiction Professional, the public information trustee for MA said the relative lack of awareness of the 12-Step organization reflects society’s ambivalence toward marijuana and its effects. “Because the drug has, for so long, been classified by the medical establishment and scientific community as non-addictive, it’s been difficult to create awareness about, or interest in, marijuana ‘dependency,’” wrote Lori B.

MA has written to national organizations representing treatment providers in order to inform them of the organization and a number of in-person and online meetings that are available to individuals. The letter states, “Whether you are a therapist or a social worker, whether you work in a rehab or the justice system, as a front-line provider you are in a unique position to better serve your clients by referring them to a 12-Step program that is substance specific.”

MA now conducts 250 in-person meetings per week around the world, and also has 11 online meetings per week and an around-the-clock chat room at Its counterpart to AA’s Big Book is MA’s Life With Hope, with its 12-Step language tailored to marijuana. MA leaders believe that because society does not as readily accept the need for some marijuana users to seek help for their use, too many individuals suffer in the shadows. The letter to treatment organizations adds, “Though [Marijuana Anonymous World Services] takes no position on the legal, medical or political standing of marijuana, we recognize that the growing availability of ‘medical marijuana’ has created additional challenges for many.”

For more information about Marijuana Anonymous, call (800) 766-6779 or visit