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Living Cali Sober

“Cali Sober”

Amanda Ferron


Over the last few years, you may have heard the term “California (or Cali) Sober” floating around your social circles. If you don’t already know what that means, it’s a pretty simple concept…

Being “Cali Sober” means that you don’t consume hard drugs or alcohol, but you DO consume natural substances, such as Cannabis or mushrooms. Really, the definition is pretty fluid. For example, some people still consume alcohol in very small amounts, while others completely abstain from alcohol use.

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I have inadvertently been living the “Cali Sober” lifestyle for the past few years. Not because I was abusing alcohol or other dangerous substances, but because alcohol has never really agreed with my tummy.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, my anxiety gives me a constant stomach ache, and alcohol doesn’t do me any favors. I would still drink a few shots of Fernet Branca now and then, which seems to be one of the only things alcohol-wise my stomach can handle…

But I have always preferred Cannabis over alcohol. Cannabis is more of a therapeutic treatment for me, since it actually calms both my anxiety and my ever-present stomach issues. For the past 3+ years, I’ve had maybe 1 or 2 nights per year where I had a couple drinks. And honestly, I regret drinking every single time… The 3 day hangover is never worth that 1 evening of fun that ended in nausea anyway.

Cannabis, on the other hand: No hangover, no nausea, all relaxation.

Cali Sober Daisy Rose Coby


My boss/very good friend Aubrey Amatelli also lives the “Cali Sober” lifestyle. She gave up alcohol at the beginning of 2023. We have had many conversations about how she feels so much better in general since giving up alcohol, and exploring different Cannabinoids and other natural therapeutics.

We recently went to Miami for the Benzinga Cannabis Conference, and neither of us drank while we were there. Which enabled us to wake up extra early and take a lovely morning walk on the beach together.

Strolling along next to the crashing waves, ignoring the wind and rain, coffee cups and joints in hand, (well, a joint in MY hand, I smoke way more than she does lol) she smiled at me and said:

“We wouldn’t be having this beautiful morning if we had spent last night drinking… I’m so happy that neither of us drink!”

Cali Sober in Miami


While more and more people seem to be finding success in living the “Cali Sober” lifestyle, there are those who adamantly oppose the idea.

The argument against the idea of being “Cali Sober” is that there are people who have incredibly addictive personalities, and can’t just stop at 1 drink, or 1 joint. Those innocent sounding things lead to overuse, or harder substances. And while that is true, I would argue that the idea of a “one size fits all” sobriety is not only outdated, but largely ineffective.

While traditional sobriety programs like AA claim their success rate is 40%-50%, most of the studies I could find stated that those numbers are probably MUCH less. Multiple sources giving estimates closer to 5%-10%. Still, these programs are the most socially accepted forms of sobriety, and are often even court ordered.

But the numbers aren’t adding up, which leads me to believe that we need to be looking at sobriety differently. Everybody is different. Every body processes substances differently. So while the “Cali Sober” lifestyle may not be for everyone, more and more people are opening up about how they are using Cannabis to lessen or all out quit using more dangerous substances, like alcohol and opioids.

Goodtimes Farm



I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me how Cannabis has helped them quit things like alcohol and opioids. Some just wanted to cut back on their drinking. Some were addicted to things as hard as fentanyl.

My favorite stories are the ones I hear about people using Cannabis to recover from their fentanyl addiction. The fentanyl problem is very bad here in the Bay Area, and I’ve unfortunately lost more than one person I love to a fentanyl overdose since the year 2020.

If someone has been addicted to alcohol or opioids for years, and then they start replacing those substances with Cannabis, successfully quit drinking, shooting up, popping pills, or whatever the case may be, how is that a bad thing?

They’ve used the “Cali Sober” method to feel healthier, to get their lives back on track… They can even achieve this without “getting high” thanks to isolated Cannabinoids like CBD. But there are always going to be those who say that “it doesn’t count”.

Cali Sober Canna Panda



I don’t believe there should be a “gatekeeper” to the idea of sobriety.

More and more people who were once heavy drinkers or drug users, are turning to natural medicines and therapeutics to end their addiction cycles. Whether that means traditional Cannabis use, or using specific isolated Cannabinoids, the results seem to be incredibly positive.

While some may not like the fact that people aren’t using the AA 1930’s rules of “total and complete abstinence”, folks like me are celebrating it. If people are “Cali Sober”, getting their lives back and becoming successful, productive members of the community, I am all for it!

In an article he wrote in defense of being “Cali Sober”, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, who himself is a truly inspiring recovering addict, closes his piece out saying:

“Every path out of addition and into safe, stable recovery is unique to the person walking it. But all of us who are recovering from addiction nourish and support one another, not to be divided along lines of rigid approaches and inflexible ideologies.”

Cali Sober



Being “Cali Sober” may not be for everyone, just like alcohol isn’t for everyone… But from what I’ve seen, and the multiple success stories I have heard, it seems to me this needs to be an avenue of sobriety that is given more credit.

But before that can happen, there needs to be more controlled research conducted. The studies that have been done seem to be lacking in things like strain specificity and cannabinoid/terpene focus. All of these factors have an effect on the result, and we won’t have accurate, reliable data until we have more detailed and focused studies.

My personal opinion: Some people may never accept this idea of being “Cali Sober” as a valid way of reaching sobriety. And that just is what it is. Let people say what they want. You cannot change willful ignorance if someone is dead set in their belief that things like Cannabis and Mushrooms do not have medicinal or therapeutic benefits. But you can continue to live your life in a way that best suits your idea of health, and sobriety. Whether that means being “Cali Sober”, or completely sober, just live a healthier and happier life.

Because that is truly what it is all about, my friends. Being happy and healthy. But remember, you know your body better than anyone else. So take it slow, know your limits, and start off by doing what you can to get away from things like alcohol and opioids. Those substances truly destroy lives.

If the idea of being “Cali Sober” sounds intriguing to you, talk to Cannabis professionals, or someone who already lives that lifestyle about it… You may be surprised by some of the success stories you hear!