CBD and Xanax — A Happy Marriage or a Recipe for Disaster?

Saying that the relationship between CBD and Xanax is turbulent is an understatement. So here’s the first word of warning — don’t take them together. 


What’s more, generally speaking, we should all avoid taking two or more stimulants simultaneously. 


However, some stimulants boost each other, which is why people like to take them together. Others have no adverse effects on each other. But some, like CBD and Xanax, can be a dangerous combination. 


CBD can potentially interact with a lot of medications, stimulants, and substances. That’s why we should take it with caution. Even though it’s one of the natural remedies with few side-effects, the research done so far suggests that its relationship with other substances is precarious, at best.


CBD 101

CBD or cannabidiol is an active chemical compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Much like its more well-known cousin, THC, CBD is an essential component of the hemp plant.  However, unlike it, it doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. So, in other words, it isn’t addictive. 


People use CBD to treat or relieve many diseases and conditions. Although there’s definitive proof that CBD helps with specific forms of childhood epilepsy, people also use it for anxiety, inflammation, pain, depression, sleep disorders, etc.


The main advantages of CBD are:


  • It’s non-addictive
  • Doesn’t contain harmful chemicals
  • Doesn’t hinder our ability to function 
  • Is plant-based
  • Has few side-effects

Xanax 101

Xanax is a benzodiazepine. That’s a category of anti-anxiety medication that relaxes our central nervous systems and eases the tension. So, Xanax acts as a sedative and has a calming effect.


Xanax is a powerful short-term anti-anxiety treatment. It increases the amount of the GABA neurotransmitter in our brains, which is generally responsible for feelings of calmness and relaxation. By making our brains produce more of this chemical, Xanax is effectively making us calmer.


Although effective, Xanax has quite a few potential side-effects:


  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Problems with coordination
  • Feelings of sadness or irritation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulties with concentration and focus
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems with speaking (slurred speech)


How CBD and Xanax Interact

Both CBD and Xanax have a substantial effect on anxiety. Thus, some people think that CBD and Xanax are the perfect combo for severe anxiety attacks. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.


There’s a specific family of enzymes (Cytochrome P450) responsible for the metabolization of meds in our bodies. From that family, the enzyme CYP3A4 breaks down and metabolizes Xanax (among other things).


Now, why does this matter? Well, coincidentally, CBD can affect the entire P450 family of enzymes and inhibit their ability to metabolize chemicals. When we ingest CBD, it bonds with the P540 enzymes, making them unable to bond with anything else.


Therefore, it’s safe to conclude (although there’s no proof) that CBD could potentially slow down the metabolization of Xanax.


That means that if we take CBD and Xanax at the same time, there’s a good chance that the effects of Xanax will last longer or be greater (or both). Depending on the dosage and how long we’ve been using it, we could get heavily sedated or even OD without meaning to.

Does the Same Go for All Benzodiazepines?

Given that all Benzodiazepines are processed by our bodies in the same way, taking them with CBD really isn’t a smart idea. Taking benzos with CBD might cause severe issues. If nothing else, it will probably cause some of the less common side-effects of these particular meds, such as:


  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in behavior
  • Confusion regarding the date, time, and location
  • Fainting
  • Nervousness
  • Fever
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating and shivering
  • Excessive talking
  • Repetitive movements
  • Loss of coordination and trouble with balance
  • Unusually deep sleep
  • Blood vomiting


Furthermore, aside from these, there’s a mile-long list of other unusual side-effects that Xanax and other benzos might have if we take them with CBD.

Can CBD be a Xanax Substitute?

There’s still not enough evidence to support the theory that CBD could replace Xanax and other anti-anxiety meds. There was some positive feedback from people who started using medicinal marijuana instead of Xanax. However, we can’t equate these with CBD, given that medicinal marijuana can have high THC levels. 


Therefore, there’s no proof whether CBD alone could serve as a substitute for prescription anti-anxiety meds. However, people do use it as an all-natural, plant-based treatment for anxiety and, essentially, as a Xanax substitute.

Final Thoughts

CBD and Xanax are used as treatments for anxiety, stress, and depression. However, although they function in a similar way and target the same issues, they shouldn’t be taken together. Their cumulative effect on our bodies can be severe or even potentially deadly.

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