Demi Lovato on Relapsing and Being "California Sober" | Summary and Q&A

March 27, 2021
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Demi Lovato on Relapsing and Being "California Sober"

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This video features a conversation between Joe Rogan and a guest who shares her perspective on her recovery journey, specifically regarding her use of marijuana. She discusses her belief in making choices that align with her values and standing strong in her beliefs. The guest also talks about her experience with addiction and how she defines herself as "California sober." She explains the term as moderation with the help of marijuana and the benefits she has found in using it for meditation and relaxation. She addresses the concerns about addiction, her treatment team's support, and the role of marijuana in her life after a near-death experience from an overdose. She also touches upon her struggles with bulimia and how marijuana helps her manage it. The guest emphasizes that marijuana is a sacred plant with medicinal properties.

Questions & Answers

Q: What does it mean to be "California sober"?

"California sober" is a term used to identify a path of moderation in which marijuana is used to help with recovery. It implies not defining the parameters publicly and seeing marijuana as a way to augment sobriety.

Q: How does the guest defend her use of marijuana against others' perceptions?

The guest acknowledges that people tend to want absolutes in recovery, but she believes that as long as she feels good about her choices and stands strong in her beliefs, she is not concerned about what others in Idaho or elsewhere say. She explains that being a celebrity requires her to guard her words and be mindful of not offending anyone, even when speaking her truth.

Q: What benefits does the guest find in using marijuana for meditation?

The guest shares that marijuana initially helped her to learn how to meditate by making it easier to relax and enter a meditative state. Over time, she built a relationship with meditation and no longer needs marijuana to meditate. She suggests that marijuana provides a sense of security and does not harm the body. However, she acknowledges that some people can become addicted to it.

Q: Can the guest achieve the same relaxation without using marijuana?

According to the guest, it is possible to achieve relaxation and enter a meditative state without marijuana. However, she personally found that marijuana helped her to reach that state more quickly.

Q: Is marijuana addictive?

The guest differentiates between a physical addiction, like with alcohol or drugs, and a psychological or impulse addiction. While she acknowledges that some people can become addicted to marijuana psychologically, she explains that it is not as physically addictive as other substances. She advises being mindful of addiction but personally does not have a physical addiction to marijuana.

Q: Did the guest consult her treatment team about using marijuana?

Yes, the guest shared her decision to incorporate marijuana into her recovery journey with her treatment team. They supported her choice and asked how they could assist her. The guest also mentions receiving a Vivitrol shot, which blocks opiate receptors in the brain and helps with her bulimia.

Q: How did the guest arrive at the decision to introduce marijuana into her life?

The guest reflects on her recovery from bulimia and realizing that treating herself with moderation regarding food brought positive results. She questioned why substances were different and considered finding a middle path. After her near-death experience and feeling unhappy while sober, she decided to try marijuana as a form of relief that would not jeopardize her life.

Q: Why does the guest consider drugs as having saved her life?

The guest explains that she has experienced suicidal ideation since she was a child and has struggled with depression. She believes that drugs have provided her with moments of relief and prevented her from seeking more dangerous and harmful substances.

Q: What are the long-term effects of the guest's overdose?

The guest suffered three strokes, a heart attack, multiple organ failure, and brain damage from her overdose. This caused blind spots in her vision, hearing loss, and an inability to focus on certain parts of people's faces. These effects plateaued after six months and will be permanent for the rest of her life.

Q: How does the guest respond to the concerns about staying away from drugs after her near-death experience?

The guest acknowledges the concerns from those around her and their belief that she should stay away from all drugs due to the severity of her overdose. However, she believes that living in constant misery and fear of the future is not truly being alive. She chose to find a relief that wouldn't harm her and discovered marijuana as an option that prevents her from turning to more dangerous substances.


In this conversation, the guest shares her perspective on incorporating marijuana into her recovery journey. She emphasizes the importance of personal choice, standing strong in one's beliefs, and finding a middle path. The guest believes that marijuana can offer relief without posing significant harm or addiction. She stresses the sacred and medicinal nature of marijuana as a plant. The guest's experience with addiction, overdose, and subsequent brain damage informs her approach to using marijuana to manage her mental health.

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