With anxiety disorders being so common today, people are constantly seeking treatment. This has opened up the conversation about CBD as a potential natural way to help combat some of the symptoms. However, you must be careful when taking CBD simultaneously with other drugs, specifically Xanax. Although Xanax is generally prescribed for anxiety, the combination of CBD oil and Xanax may pose a serious threat to your well-being. Therefore, make sure to read this article before mixing!
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound of the cannabis plant. CBD mostly comes from the agricultural hemp plant. Farmers harvest this plant for making paper, fibers, rope, and more.
More importantly, CBD offers numerous incredible benefits, all without it affecting your state of mind. Many people wrongly believe that CBD oil will get you high. After all, it does come from the same plant as the psychoactive compound known as THC. Well, it may or may not surprise you to learn that CBD does not get you high.
Hemp plants contain extremely low levels of THC. This means that the CBD that is extracted from these plants is in its purest form and has no mind-altering properties. Yes, you can get all the positive effects of CBD while carrying out your daily tasks with full mental clarity.
People tend to prefer results without negative side effects. Luckily, our body tolerates CBD very well, as it does not have many side effects. This has made it a popular natural supplement for many people suffering from various feelings of nervousness.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is a prescription medication used to treat various anxiety disorders in humans. Available under the generic alprazolam, Xanax belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Commonly known as benzos, these medications act on the central nervous system. Xanax specifically targets two benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, the BNZ1 receptor, which regulates sleep, and the BNZ2 receptor, which affects memory, coordination, muscle relaxation, and controls convulsions.
Xanax is generally used to treat:
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic disorders
- Anxiety associated with depression
After taking Xanax, the consumer will showcase a calm, tranquil demeanor and quell any anxious behaviors they might have had. Xanax may be taken alone or with other medications.
Anxiety medications such as Xanax are a form of short-term anxiety management. It’s not meant to be given for more than six weeks. However, those suffering from severe anxiety, such as generalized social anxiety disorder, tend to take the drug for longer periods of time. This can eventually become habit-forming and hard to break, ultimately leading to addiction. As a result, Xanax is considered a federally controlled substance (Schedule IV) due to its propensity to be abused and addictive qualities.
CBD Oil and Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that anxiety affects about one in five Americans every year. That’s 40 million people each year. Yet, only about a third of those people seek treatment. Those are some shocking numbers.
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So what about the other two-thirds suffering from anxiety? Why do they choose not to receive treatment? One possible explanation is that they do not want to take habit-forming drugs that could potentially lead to more severe illnesses down the road.
Currently, traditional medicine offers a few types of medications for anxiety, including:
- SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) – a class of drugs that blocks the reabsorption of serotonin in nerve cells. This allows for more serotonin to be available for communication between neurons, which ultimately improves mood.
- SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) – a class of drugs that blocks the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in nerve cells. These drugs are just as effective as SSRIs.
- Tricyclic antidepressants – a class of drugs that blocks the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in nerve cells. Due to their significant side effects, they are usually replaced by SSRIs.
- Benzodiazepines – a class of drugs that promotes relaxation and relieves muscle tension. These drugs are mainly used for short-term anxiety, such as during a surgical procedure. One brand name benzodiazepine you may be familiar with is Xanax. (More on this later).
Some people are looking to CBD as an alternative supplement. In one study, people with an anxiety disorder were given CBD before a public speaking test and their performance was compared to people who were given a placebo. The results of this study are very promising. Many studies like this one are trying to prove the beneficial connections between CBD and reduced nervousness.
CBD vs Xanax
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is present in all mammals. The ECS helps to regulate several processes, such as anxiety, mood, appetite, inflammation, digestion, stress, and much more. Your body naturally creates cannabinoids to manage these processes. CBD enables your ECS to function at maximum capacity, helping with overall wellness.
Xanax, on the other hand, is a powerful anti-anxiety treatment. Below you will see some of the main benefits and side effects of the two:
Benefits of CBD Oil:
- Non-habit forming (will not lead to addiction)
- Does not diminish daily functioning abilities
- Benefits are effective in both the short and long-term
- Long-term use may offer additional health benefits
- All-natural, plant-based
Side Effects of CBD Oil:
- Dry mouth
- Change in appetite
Benefits of Xanax:
- Powerful anti-anxiety treatment
- Very effective for short-term anxiety management
Side Effects of Xanax:
- Addictive when used as a long-term treatment
- Tolerance-forming (over time your body gets used to the substance and more needs to be taken to achieve the same effect)
- Severe withdrawal symptoms can result from stopping the drug
- Slurred speech
- Poor balance or coordination
- Trouble concentrating
- Impaired memory
- Blurred vision
Can You Take CBD Oil and Xanax Together?
In short, mixing the two will not go well. CBD has many positive effects on the body due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. However, a key part of the way CBD works is its interaction with the P450 enzyme. This is a protein produced by the liver.
The P450 Enzyme
P450 is the enzyme responsible for breaking down CBD. When CBD is in the body, it binds to this enzyme and makes it unable to bind other compounds. The P450 enzyme breaks down almost all drugs that enter the body. You can see why this might be a problem if you take CBD oil and Xanax together.
When CBD binds to the P450 enzyme, the Xanax cannot be broken down. This is because there is already another compound binding to the enzyme, blocking the binding site. Of course, there isn’t just one of these enzymes. There are simply less available P450 enzymes available to bind the Xanax because the majority are already bound by CBD.
What Does This Mean?
Simply put, the longer a chemical compound does not get broken down by the body, the longer its effects last. Once the compound is broken down by an enzyme, its effects begin to wear off. This phenomenon may be more easily understood with alcohol. When you have a few drinks, your blood alcohol content rises because the alcohol is circulating through your body. However, some time after drinking, the enzymes in your body break down the alcohol. Slowly but surely, you will begin to “sober up.”
Taking CBD oil and Xanax together can produce increased side effects of either substance. These side effects may include severe drowsiness, confusion, and concentration problems. These heightened effects can seriously impair cognition and decision-making. They may also form an addiction due to the habit-forming quality of benzodiazepines. Long-term reliance on this combination can be very dangerous and may put your life in danger.
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Can CBD Help With Xanax Addiction?
CBD may help people trying to wean themselves off of Xanax. Addiction doesn’t take long to occur and can start a few days after taking Xanax. As the body gradually starts to resist the drug’s effects, consumers will feel the need to take higher doses of Xanax to provide optimal benefits. That’s where CBD comes in.
Xanax withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Increased tension and anxious behaviors
- Lowered mood and increased negative thoughts
- Lack of sleep
- Body soreness
- Mobility issues
- Stomach upset and digestive issues
- Weight loss
Unlike Xanax, CBD is not habit-forming. Many people already incorporate CBD into their daily wellness routine and benefit from many of its rejuvenating properties. These same benefits may extend to those looking to wean their Xanax addiction.
Some of the ways CBD may help reduce the symptoms associated with Xanax withdrawal include:
- Reducing anxious behaviors
- Elevating mood
- Promoting deep, restful sleep
- Alleviating body soreness and discomfort
- Improving mobility
- Easing digestive issues
- Boosting appetite
It’s extremely important to note that CBD is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Can CBD replace Xanax? No! CBD should never take the place of any professional medical advice or compensate for any medication you might be taking. Always consult a licensed physician before you decide to incorporate CBD into your health and wellness regimen or if you want to take CBD and Xanax together.
How Long Should You Wait To Take CBD After You Stop Taking Xanax?
Talk to your health care provider to determine when it’s right for you to start taking CBD after the cessation of Xanax. Even though Xanax is prescribed as a short-term medication, blood tests can detect traces of it in your body anywhere from 1 to 90 days after use. You might have to wait a few days or a few months to take CBD, but it’s a decision that only a licensed physician can make for you. Never take CBD and Xanax together without their approval.
Factors that can determine the amount of time Xanax stays in your system include:
- Xanax dosage
- Other medications and potential drug interactions
- Other substances (i.e., alcohol)
- Type of detection test used
Your health care provider will consider all of these factors when determining the right time for you to take CBD. Always listen to them to prevent any possible effects from Xanax and CBD interaction.
Types of CBD
We often talk about CBD in generalized terms and end up forgetting how nuanced CBD products can be. Each CBD product will either be full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate and support your endocannabinoid system in different ways. Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
The three main types of CBD are:
- Full Spectrum CBD: Products that contain CBD, other cannabis plant cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and 0.3% or less THC.
- Broad Spectrum CBD: Products that contain CBD, other cannabis plant cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and have no THC.
- CBD Isolate: Only CBD. Contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, or THC.
To unlock the full potential of CBD, we recommend that you take full spectrum CBD products. These products deliver the most potent effects of CBD, thanks to the entourage effect. When all of the hemp plant compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) synergistically work together, they end up producing greater benefits than any one individual component would on its own. This includes the presence of THC (only up to 0.3%), which boosts the entourage effect significantly.
In broad spectrum products, there is no THC in them. Broad spectrum products are best for people who want to avoid THC altogether. Even though the entourage effect is not as strong without THC, it’s still very effective due to the presence of the other cannabinoids.
And lastly, if you just want pure CBD and nothing else, CBD isolate may be just what you’re looking for!
Types of CBD Products
When it comes to CBD products, you have an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Not only do you have an array of products to choose from, but you have several different ways that you can take them.
Here are the four ways you can take CBD products:
- Sublingually: Underneath your tongue are glands that facilitate quicker uptake of CBD into your bloodstream, typically within 15-30 minutes upon administration, with the effects lasting 4-6 hours. This method is only feasible with CBD oil.
- Inhalation: Smoke through combustion, vape, or utilize a water pipe, to obtain the benefits of CBD. Effects occur immediately to within 30-90 seconds upon inhalation and last 3-4 hours.
- Oral Ingestion: Simply eat or swallow. Effects occur 45-60 minutes after consumption and last about 6-8 hours.
- Topically: Apply CBD topicals directly to your skin. Effects occur immediately to within 15 minutes upon application and last 2-4 hours.
Our Favorite CBD Products
Convenience is a major deciding factor when deciding how to take CBD. So is enjoyment. Whatever you prefer, there’s a CBD product for you. Some of the most popular CBD products are:
- Oil Tincture: Highly versatile, you can consume CBD oil directly or add it to your favorite food or drink.
- Gummies: Delicious fruit-flavored gummies that you can take any time.
- Capsules: Discreet, pre-dosed capsules give you the freedom to take CBD anytime, anywhere.
- Hemp Flower: Grind some flower and roll joints or pack it into the bowl of your pipe or bong.
- Pre-Rolls: Expertly rolled with no air pockets. Discreet enough to enjoy them anywhere.
- Vape Cartridges: Available in a variety of flavors, just attach to a standard 510-threaded battery and start vaping!
- Honey Sticks: Crack a stick open and eat the honey directly or add it to your favorite food or drink; tastes best on toast and in tea.
- Seltzer: Thirst-quenching carbonated beverages infused with CBD.
- Soap: Take a refreshing shower and CBD at the same time!
- Shampoo: Wash your hair and give yourself the added benefit of CBD.
Your body weight primarily determines CBD dosage. However, other factors can affect how much CBD you can safely handle. Some of these factors are:
- Underlying health issues
- Current medications
- CBD tolerance
- The reasons why you want to take CBD
Regardless of your CBD dosage, always remember to start at a low dose and slowly work your way up to your optimal dose.
Below are a few handy formulas you can use to determine your regular dose and strong dose of CBD. Keep in mind that these calculations are not absolute, nor are they a true indicator of your CBD tolerance. These calculations merely provide you with a predicted range of how much CBD you can safely take in a day. Always work within these calculations when first dosing CBD.
As you start to take more CBD, you will feel comfortable enough to move on to higher doses. This is especially true if you feel that your current dose is not strong enough or if you feel you’ve outgrown your previous tolerance.
Regular Dose Calculation
This is the lowest dose that you can safely take. Determine your current body weight and use it in the following formula to determine your regular CBD dose.
- Regular Dose of CBD = (Your body weight) x (0.25 mg CBD)
Example: If you weigh 200 pounds, multiply 200 by 0.25 mg CBD to get 50.0 mg of CBD ( 200 pounds x 0.25 mg CBD = 50.0 mg CBD).
Strong Dose Calculation
This is the highest dose that you can safely take. Determine your current body weight and use it in the following formula to determine your strong CBD dose.
- Strong Dose of CBD = (Your body weight ) x (0.50 mg CBD)
Example: If you weigh 200 pounds, multiply 200 by 0.50 mg CBD to get 100.0 mg of CBD ( 200 pounds x 0.50 mg CBD = 100.0 mg CBD).
Final Thoughts – CBD Oil and Xanax
Ongoing research on CBD and its therapeutic properties shows promising evidence that it may someday replace traditional medications. We know that CBD interacts positively with the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating anxiety. We also know that benzodiazepines like Xanax can become addictive when used for long-term management of anxiety. In addition to being addictive, these drugs can cause several unwanted side effects.
So, why do people still resort to Xanax? That’s because all-natural methods don’t make the pharmaceutical companies as much money. This means, there is much more promotion and commercials backing Xanax, so people think this is their only, or best, choice. This may not be true though. As more research is completed, we are sure that CBD will continue to change the market, and the way people deal with a range of mental and physical ailments. More information here.