I Swapped My Xanax for CBD. Here’s What Happened.
by Kiersten Frase · Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Susanna Quasem, M.D.,
152 · June 23, 2018 · Updated March 3, 2020 · Post may contain affiliate links.
Anxiety has been part of my life for so long that I don’t really know who I am without it. I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and also just a high-strung, anxious nature–when things are going well, I tend to take a glass-half-full perspective and link my drive and work ethic to the ever-present anxiety that pushes me to always do more. But when things are going badly, sometimes it’s hard to function like a normal person because I’m so paralyzed with fear.
For those times, I’ve been prescribed Xanax. And it helps, for sure. But the thing is, I get nervous about taking it. (Yes, that’s right–I get anxious about the medication that’s supposed to make me less anxious. I am a disaster, y’all.) Even at the smallest doses, it makes me sleepy, so I don’t like to take it during the day. And although nighttime is usually when my anxiety peaks, even then, I don’t want to take it often because I’m afraid of becoming dependent.
CBD for anxiety – does it work?
A mom friend who, like me, suffers from OCD, mentioned taking CBD for anxiety. My interest was piqued based on her experience–when her anxiety felt particularly out-of-control, the CBD would put a stop to the spiraling. I asked my doctor about it and she was dubious–while she gave the approval for me to give it a try, she cautioned that because marijuana is illegal, CBD hasn’t been researched enough to determine its impact on anxiety.
While this is true, the research that has been done on CBD (short for cannabidiol) looks promising. There’s a growing body of evidence demonstrating CBD’s usefulness for treating anxiety-related disorders. The FDA recently unanimously recommended approval for an epilepsy drug made from CBD called Epidiolex. Prior to researching CBD, I thought medical marijuana was just a way for people to get high legally–that might be true for some people, of course, but the medical benefits are real.
Before I talk about my experience using CBD for anxiety, you may be wondering, “Is CBD even legal?!” Well, yes, it is–kind of. What’s not legal is CBD derived from marijuana, unless you’re in a state where marijuana is legal. But CBD can also be derived from hemp and other sources–Grön, a CBD chocolate maker out of Portland, produces its CBD from an invasive pine tree and lemon peel. This kind of CBD is not illegal.
It took me a while to actually take the plunge and try CBD for anxiety because I had trouble finding sources that felt trustworthy. (As someone who quite literally obsesses over product purity–it’s one of my OCD fixations–this is the best argument I can think of to legalize marijuana. Legalization means regulation!) What helped me was:
- Actually reaching out to the manufacturers to ask questions. This was huge for me. If you have a good BS meter, I’d recommend taking this step. (The folks at Grön were especially candid and helpful–I learned so much from them!)
- Getting recommendations. From friends, from the staff at my local grocery co-op, and from Reddit and internet message boards. And Google everything!
- Treating CBD like other health supplements. I always buy supplements that share the results of 3rd party testing on their websites, that are transparent about their sourcing, and that manufacture their products in the United States or Canada. The CBD industry is not regulated so you need to do your homework.
Just to be clear, CBD doesn’t get you high–and if you feel high after taking CBD, you’re probably taking a product that’s impure.
My Experience Taking CBD for Anxiety
The first CBD product I tried was Beekeeper’s Naturals B. Chill honey–this felt like a natural place to start since it was a brand I already knew and trusted. The effect was hard to describe; it wasn’t so much a particular feeling, but the absence of a feeling–the ever-present anxiety that’s just always there for me. I tend to carry tension in my body and I’m never still; I drive everyone around me crazy by constantly fidgeting and bouncing my legs. The CBD made my body feel calm and quiet.
That quiet feeling was mental too. My need to multitask and inability to concentrate on anything for longer than 5 minutes gave way to intense focus. I worried that CBD, like Xanax, would render me useless, but I’ve actually found that taking CBD helps me with work–unlike the Xanax, which I’d always have to time around bedtime, I feel comfortable taking CBD any time of the day.
Could it be a placebo effect? It very well could be. I don’t know! All I know is that CBD seems as effective for me as my prescription. And I haven’t had to take any Xanax since I started using CBD–I have two unfilled prescriptions sitting in my purse right now and a half-used bottle in the medicine cabinet.
I soon picked up a few bars of Grön CBD chocolate (found after some intense Googling) and Sunday Scaries gummies after the owner reached out to Hello Glow via Instagram. Now I have a stockpile for anytime of day: honey for stirring into morning tea, a bottle of gummies to go with me in my purse, and chocolate to have to after dinner to help me sleep better.
That said, I’m not taking CBD all day long, or even every day. Unfortunately, CBD is pricey, so I use it like I used my Xanax–only when I really need it. When I’m having a particularly bad day with my anxiety, it’s usually the result of my mind latching onto some random thought and not letting go; the CBD helps me let those thoughts pass through rather than allowing them to snowball into something paralyzing.
It feels a little strange–even kind of scary–to be talking about this because CBD isn’t yet mainstream. And while slathering it on your skin is one thing, actually ingesting it is another. But we’re currently undergoing a sea change in how we talk about mental illness in this country; if we can be open about that, we should also be open about treatment options. CBD has a stigma attached to it because of its origins, but the fact that it’s a non-addictive alternative to benzodiazepines and opiates makes it worth researching and taking seriously–it’s not just for potheads.
Of course, all the usual disclaimers apply here. I’m not a doctor! If CBD is something you’re considering, talk to your doctor! And, obviously, my experience is my own; what worked for me might not work for you.
My experience using CBD for anxiety, with reviews of Sunday Scaries CBD gummies, Grön CBD chocolate, and Beekeeper's Naturals B.Chill Honey.
CBD oil and Xanax
The popularity of CBD is stretching beyond borders because most people have seen their effectiveness when it comes to the treatment of various disorders. There have been lots of discussions about whether you can take CBD with Xanax simultaneously. Therefore, read this article to get an in-depth insight. So let’s get into it.
What is CBD
CBD is a component of cannabis that is extracted from the hemp plant. The use of CBD is growing because
it is one of the most powerful products in the cannabis family. The good thing with CBD is that it is nonpsychoactive which implies that it doesn’t have cognitive effects on mental health, unlike the high feeling
that is brought by its counterpart marijuana. Studies have shown that the brain has cannabinoids receptors
that play a crucial role in the assimilation of cannabinoids into the body leading to immune responses that
bring therapeutic benefits.
The processing of CBD has significantly improved over the years hence leading to different consumption methods. It can be available in the following forms.
- Vape juice
Additionally, the role that CBD brings when it comes to health has been applauded by most professionals.
One of the most notable roles that it plays in the treatment of anxiety.
The CBD works on the endocannabinoid system which helps reabsorption of anandamide. The
recommended CBD dosage depends on various factors depending on the severity of the condition. The best
way to take CBD is to start from low dosages as you increase gradually as per the doctor’s prescription.
The effectiveness of CBD when it comes to anxiety has been scientifically proven. CBD is a safe product but it also has some potential side effects such as :
What is Xanax
Xanax is yet another popular drug from benzodiazepines family which is usually used in treating anxiety
disorders. The proprietary name is alprazolam. There have been some studies that have shown that it has
some addictive effects. However, it is still being prescribed yet in some regions there is a regulation of safer
alternatives like CBD. The FDA has a guideline that the prescription of the Xanax for the short term
symptoms but unfortunately most people are violating this by using it for the long term.
Well, Xanax works on the brain whereby it influences the central nervous system which works on cell
receptors which includes GABA -A, BNZ-2, and BNZ-1.The GABA -A receptor brings a calming effect by
inhibiting the central nervous system.The BNZ-2 aids in muscle relaxation while BNZ-1 has anti-anxiety.
The recommended dosage varies but the dosages range from 0.25 mg-4 mg daily. This dosage is subject to change depending on the condition of anxiety. However, some risks are associated with Xanax and this includes:
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
Can you take CBD and Xanax together
Most consumers start using by using CBD because it is non-psychoactive. However, CBD can as well
interact with other drugs or supplements. There is less documentation on whether the interaction of CBD and
Xanax is safe. What is evident is that both acts on the central nervous system to help in treating anxiety. The
enzyme which is responsible for breaking down CBD is P450. So when you consume CBD it binds to this
enzyme which implies there is interaction with other drugs because it breaks down almost all drugs leading
to undesirable effects. Therefore when CBD binds on this enzyme Xanax will not be broke because there is
ready another component that has blocked its binding site.
This implies that Xanax will stay in the body for long before it is broken down hence its effects will
consequently last. The effects of a compound can only begin to fade off after it has been broken down.
Therefore, it is evident that taking CBD with Xanax can increase the side to effects which might include
poor concentration, confusion, and drowsiness.
Additionally, since the two components are metabolized in the CYP450 pathway then it predisposes the user to an overdose because if an increase in the bioavailability of Xanax. This also predisposes the user to addiction.
Can CBD replace Xanax
Well if you are suffering from anxiety your main choices would be Xanax and CBD. However, you should
also be conscious of the side effects that these products bring. However, there has been researched showing
the therapeutic benefits of CBD who backed up the evidence that it will soon replace most drugs including
Xanax. This is because it is effective in treating insomnia, pain, epilepsy, and depression.
On the other hand, Xanax can also be used in treating anxiety but its addictive levels are overboard especially when it used for long-term. It can also cause other undesired side effects. This increases the risk of addiction and overdose which has made most people perceive CBD as the best replacement because it is a natural product with less potential health hazards. However, when you are switching from Xanax to CBD it is important to consult your medical doctor to help you out in managing potential withdrawal symptoms.
Drug interaction is very important so that you don’t use drugs that its interaction can lead to adverse effects.
Therefore, don’t mix Xanax with CBD because it can escalate the severity of side effects. The following are
some safety tips.
Take the lowest dose– higher doses predispose you yo health risks because of the side effects. Therefore, if
you notice that after taking Xanax you experience severe side effects you should consult your doctor who
will recommend a smaller dose that will work well with you.
Stay hydrated-taking plenty of water can helpmin in reducing the severity of some side effects like dry
Don’t depend entirely on it-Xanax and CBD has addiction only that their levels of addiction car with Xanax
being more addictive. Therefore, to be on the safe side you should avoid total dependency on these drugs for
anxiety. There are various ways you can manage anxiety even without using drugs.
Don’t combine any substance -taking several combinations of drugs could only mean that you are
predisposing yourself to more health risks. The best thing to do is to avoid unnecessary combination because
it can land you to more problems.
Don’t use the drugs without notifying your doctor-always to use those drugs under doctors’ supervision so that he can take tests to determine if other underlying conditions can increase the risk of using these drugs. If you notice side effects you should seek immediate help before it becomes more serious.
The use of CBD and Xanax is a varied subject but I know after reading this article you will appreciate the
fact that both have anxiety-relieving properties. The most important thing is to ensure that proper dosages
are taken so that it can help you in managing anxiety. However, there are other developments on the side
effects presented by both drugs which can also lead to more serious side effects such as addiction.
Well, drug interaction contributes greatly to addiction because Xanax has posted high addictive properties
which males most user overdependent on it. Therefore, before you use these drugs it is important to be
vigilant on the side effects gat it brings that is why more people have shown some preference to CBD than
Xanax because it is a natural product with manageable side effects.
The bottom line is that don’t engage in self-diagnosis after which you will start using either of those drugs without a proper directive from a medical doctor. Ensure that you have been cleared by your doctor so that you can begin using them.
The popularity of CBD is stretching beyond borders because most people have seen their effectiveness when it comes to the treatment of various disorders.