Jelly Roll Explains How Smoking Marijuana Has Kept Him 'Sober': 'Helped Me in So Many Regards'

The "Save Me" singer has long been candid about his substance issues

<p>Omar Vega/WireImage</p> Jelly Roll attends the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas

Omar Vega/WireImage

Jelly Roll attends the Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas

Country superstar Jelly Roll said that marijuana has been helpful to him, especially in the area of mental health.

"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,” the “Save Me” singer told Taste of Country in an interview published on Friday, May 24. “This is a hot button topic, but, truly, marijuana has kept me sober."

​​In the same interview, he also said that in a world without marijuana, he would consume codeine and resume snorting cocaine “but a world with weed, I'll be alright."

On the subject of addiction, Jelly added: "I know that I have friends that don't do that. I have friends that are in the program that are totally against any kind of mind-altering anything. I respect that. I have so much respect for those people. That's just not how my sobriety worked out."

It’s not the first time that Jelly – born Jason DeFord – has publicly addressed the topic of substance abuse; the singer had previously been in jail about 40 times over drug-related offenses before turning his life around.

Related: Jelly Roll Admits 'I Only Wear Socks Once': 'It's the Most Frivolous Thing I've Done'

“I had to learn that you could drink alcohol without doing cocaine. It took me a long time to learn that,” Jelly previously told PEOPLE. “I've never said that, but that's real. There was a long time where I just assumed, when people told me they drank without doing cocaine, I was like, 'I thought we only drank to do cocaine.' ”

He is also paying it forward as he has visited various centers in different parts of the country bringing warm meals and encouragement.

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"I always said that if I ever got in this situation, I would do everything I could to give back," said Jelly. "The fact that just me showing up places can make people happy is such a gift, and I feel like if God gave me that gift, I should show up."

Related: Go Behind-the-Scenes with Jelly Roll at His Sold-Out Red Rocks Show: All the Photos

He also told PEOPLE that when he partakes in alcohol and marijuana, he does so carefully and monitors his behavior.

“I've never talked about this in interviews, but because I do drink and smoke weed, I will attend meetings occasionally. If I'm really struggling with thinking of my behavioral pattern, I'll go to a meeting. I just — out of an abundance of respect for the people who really got off the drugs completely, and the alcohol and the weed — don't necessarily claim to be a part of the program, because I respect their work and I would never want to diminish it with some of my actions, but AA has done a lot for me.”

Earlier this year, Jelly spoke at a U.S. Senate committee hearing and called on lawmakers to act amid the fentanyl crisis.

Related: Jelly Roll Wins New Artist of the Year at CMAs Weeks Before 39th Birthday: 'Something Poetic'

“I think it’s important for me to tell you all that I’m not here to defend the use of illegal drugs, and I also understand the paradox of my history as a drug dealer standing in front of this committee," he said at the time. "But equally, I think that’s what makes me perfect to talk about this. I was a part of the problem. I am here now, standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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