In recent years, several studies have indicated the potential health benefits of using CBD. As a result, scores of patients have begun looking to CBD as a safe and natural alternative to traditional pharmaceutical drugs like Xanax.
Perhaps the most commonly sought benefit of CBD involves its ability to help reduce and regulate anxiety, stress, depression, and other mood issues.
You might be wondering, what’s the deal with CBD and Xanax interactions? And can CBD oil help with benzo withdrawal?
Let’s take a look.
Can CBD Help With Anxiety?
Anxiety-related disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States, with as many as 29% of Americans suffering from it at some point in their lifetime.
As a result, 1 out of 6 Americans takes some form of psychiatric drug to treat their condition.
Patients taking these drugs — among which Xanax is one of the most common — end up dealing with negative side effects such as memory problems, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred speech or vision, irritability, trouble concentrating, nausea, weight changes, headaches, upset stomach, loss of libido, and a host of other issues.
Luckily, research has shown that for many patients, CBD might be the safer, natural solution they’re looking for.
Studies have shown that CBD may help treat a slew of anxiety disorders such as:
CBD accomplishes this by interacting with receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is the system that regulates behaviors relating to fear and anxiety. The science behind how CBD interacts with these receptors is extremely complicated.
While more study is needed to verify whether or not CBD in itself is a solution to anxiety, the findings so far are promising. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should quit your current medications cold turkey in favor of CBD. From what we know now, the effects of CBD are rather subtle.
CBD does seem to be an excellent supportive treatment for mild to moderate symptoms.
CBD and Xanax Interaction
The most important thing you should know about CBD and Xanax interactions is that in some cases, the combination may increase certain side effects of Xanax, such as drowsiness or sedation.
Furthermore, while scientific information about CBD and Xanax interactions is limited, we do have some information on how Xanax interacts with cannabis in general. When the two are combined, it may boost side effects like confusion and difficulty concentrating.
How to Avoid CBD & Xanax Interaction
The best way to avoid this interaction is to avoid taking both at the same time.
If you still decide to mix Xanax and CBD, it’s wise to start with a very low dose of CBD and build up gradually over time. Start with a dose much lower than you think you need, and increase the dose each day at a rate of 2 mg of CBD.
This is the best way to avoid serious side effects.
While you’re increasing the dose, if you notice any side effects, simply reduce the dose again to the day before when there were no side-effects.
It’s also important to tell your doctor about your plans to use CBD before starting.
How Can CBD Oil Help with Benzo Withdrawal?
In one meta-study, it was found that CBD can be a powerful tool for combatting a wide range of addictive behaviors relating to opioid, cocaine, tobacco, and psychostimulant addiction.
When it comes to Xanax (and other benzodiazepines), CBD helps by alleviating the most common side-effects of withdrawal — such as insomnia, anxiety, and agitation. These symptoms can be severe and are often enough to prevent someone from quitting the drugs altogether.
Don’t expect CBD to remove these symptoms completely — it will merely take the edge off to help you get through the worst of it. Know that after a few weeks, you will no longer feel the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
How to Wean Off Benzodiazepines with CBD
Weaning off benzodiazepines should never be done without first consulting with a doctor. After the first 2-weeks of using these drugs, the body will have developed some degree of tolerance.
It can be dangerous to quit benzos after using them for long periods of time. Severe benzo dependence should always be done under direct medical supervision. Serious side effects have been known to occur.
With that said, if you’re on a low-dose benzodiazepine schedule, or have not been using them for very long. Your doctor may give you the go-ahead to use CBD to help wean yourself off.
Step 1. Consult Your Doctor
It’s essential that you speak with your doctor before making any major decisions regarding medication changes. Certain drugs, including Xanax, should be weaned off carefully and with proper medical guidance. It can be dangerous to quit Xanax cold-turkey.
Be sure to ask how CBD will interact with all your current medications, and to discuss what will result from reducing or eliminating your Xanax usage.
Step 2. Choose a Quality CBD Product
There is an extremely wide range of CBD products on the market that fall on a spectrum in terms of quality. Low-quality products might not only be ineffective, but they can contain impurities and toxins that could potentially be harmful to your health.
Quality CBD producers extract their CBD from quality hemp, meaning that it’s been grown organically and is free from pesticides, non-organic fertilizers, and other toxins. They use a CO2 extraction process, which avoids burning off CBD content and other healthy compounds and doesn’t leave behind chemical impurities. Finally, once their production process is complete, they have their products third-party lab tested to ensure potency and purity and will make these lab findings accessible to customers.
Step 3. Start Low & Go Slow
It’s best to avoid quitting a substance like Xanax cold turkey. Instead, taper off your usage while gradually introducing higher and higher quantities of CBD to your system.
It may be useful to keep a journal detailing the different effects you experience at different doses. If you begin to notice adverse effects like fatigue, sedation, or dizziness. If this happens, it may be necessary to lower your dose.
Step 4: Settle on a Balance That Works For You
Ideally, you’ll at some point reach a place where Xanax is no longer necessary, and you’re using CBD alone to treat your anxiety. But the fact is that different people have different bodies, and therefore the ratio of CBD-to-Xanax that’s right for you might be specific to your circumstance.
Maybe that means no Xanax at all. Perhaps it means only using it occasionally in emergencies. Or perhaps it means maintaining an ongoing but a reduced rate of Xanax while supplementing with CBD.
Final Thoughts: CBD & Xanax
To summarize, CBD has the potential to be a powerful tool for reducing or eliminating the need for pharmaceuticals like Xanax and other benzodiazepines. Take in conjunction the two may result in negative side effects — so keep that in mind when choosing whether or not CBD is right for you.
From there, it’s a matter of consulting your doctor, finding the right CBD dosage for your body, and weaning yourself off the benzos slowly.
One of the most exciting aspects of CBD is its potential to help people suffering from pharmaceutical dependence find a natural, safe way to treat anxiety, depression, and other conditions. If you’re interested in trying CBD, check out one of the quality producers we’ve listed above.
Have any questions about CBD and Xanax interactions, or about how to wean yourself off benzodiazepines with CBD? Comment below to find answers.
References Cited In This Article
- Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of general psychiatry, 62(6), 593-602.
- Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.
- Prud’homme, M., Cata, R., & Jutras-Aswad, D. (2015). Cannabidiol as an intervention for addictive behaviors: a systematic review of the evidence. Substance abuse: research and treatment, 9, SART-S25081.