Can You Quit Xanax and Use CBD Instead?
Can CBD help you get off Xanax and other prescription meds?
Quit Xanax With CBD?
Xanax (benzodiazepine) is the most prescribed psychiatric drug in the United States – it is highly addictive, and drug abuse of this substance is a major problem worldwide. Quitting this drug can be very difficult because of the many unpleasant side effects. CBD can help alleviate some of these withdrawal symptoms and support people in their recovery as they wean off benzodiazepines.
What Is Xanax
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam – the most common anti-anxiety medication under the benzodiazepine class of drugs. Other popular brands under this class are valium, ativan and klonopin.
Benzodiazepines are prescribed for treating anxiety disorders such as social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia.
Xanax can help relieve anxiety symptoms quickly by forcing the nervous system into a relaxed state. It works by attaching a receptor in your brain called the GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) receptor – which has a calming effect on the brain by controlling our stress levels and brain activity. This stops anxiety attacks and relaxes us enough to fall asleep.
Problems With Xanax
The main problem with Xanax is that it is highly addictive. Tolerance to Xanax develops quickly – after just a few days the body starts to resist the effects of the drug as the GABA receptors have been altered and we can’t produce enough GABA naturally to make up for this tolerance. The main side effect of this is anxiety – the very reason for taking the drug in the first place, and so the vicious cycle begins.. Because of this increase in tolerance, the user often ends up taking more of the drug to achieve the same effects. Someone with a Xanax addiction may end up taking 20-30 pills a day.
If the user decides to stop taking Xanax, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms as the drug wears off. Withdrawal can be very unpleasant and can include symptoms such as panic attacks, insomnia, tremors, mood instability, suicidal thoughts, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, sweating, seizures, and even death in severe Xanax addiction.
These negative side effects make it very difficult for people to resist the medication. Knowing that the drug will stop these symptoms makes it nearly impossible to quit the drug… This is why most people will continue to take it – as the anxiety is too intense without it.
If someone wants to to stop taking Xanax, it is not recommended to quit “cold turkey” or without medical supervision due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms in some cases.
How Can CBD Help?
People are turning to CBD to support their recovery when trying to quit Xanax. This is because CBD can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms whilst they wean themselves of the drug, with the goal of stopping them completely.
The basic idea is that the dose of Xanax is reduced gradually, at the same time, CBD is introduced and the dose slowly increased to offset some of the negative side effects of the Xanax withdrawal. Once the body is completely free from benzodiapines, the CBD dose will be reduced until not needed anymore – which is much easier than stopping Xanax.
CBD works in a similar way to benzodiazepines with its effects on the GABA receptors – but it is a lot less potent and not addictive.
CBD has the ability to reduce anxiety symptoms – which is the main side effect of Xanax withdrawal. In addition, CBD is a mild sedative which can help relieve the symptoms of insomnia, it can also help with muscle tremors and tension – another uncomfortable withdrawal from benzodiazepines.
How to Wean off Xanax With CBD
It is important to talk to your doctor or qualified practitioner before starting to wean of Xanax. They can help come up with a dosage plan and provide tips for getting through the withdrawals. Most doctors will schedule visits to monitor how the body is responding throughout the process.
Weaning off Xanax with CBD is fairly straight forward. You will start by keeping your regular dose of Xanas whilst a low dose of CBD is introduced, over time the dose of Xanax is reduced gradually, as the dose of CBD is increased, until the Xanax is completely replaced by CBD. Focus will then shift to reducing the dose of CBD gradually – which is much easier and safer than for benzodiazepines.
The amount of CBD you will need to take will depend on your dose of Xanax or other benzodiazepines, as well as your body weight and individual body chemistry. Some people need to take high doses to get the same effects as others on low doses. Your doctor can help establish a dosage plan with you, but in general it is key to start with a low dose and build up slowly to achieve the desired effects. The following dosage plan is just an example to give an idea of what it may look like.
CBD Withdrawal & Detox
CBD has recently gained increasing popularity and there are many claims about its potential uses and benefits and CBD may have benefits for drug withdrawal. Some of the benefits include these characteristics:
- CBD is derived from a cannabis plant but does not produce a psychoactive or ‘high’ effect.
- CBD has been reported to address symptoms like anxiety, fatigue and restlessness which are all common in drug withdrawal
- CBD appears to reduce drug-seeking behavior, particularly in relation to addiction to opiates
- CBD may be helpful for a range of addictions, including alcohol and benzodiazepine, but research in this area is in the very early stages
- CBD may help address some common withdrawal symptoms and may be considered in combination with therapy and addiction treatment
CBD & Withdrawal
CBD – a type of cannabinoid without the psychoactive properties of THC – is derived from the cannabis plant. Although CBD comes from the same source as marijuana, CBD has very different properties and side effects.
Unlike cannabinoids that contain THC, CBD is generally well tolerated as it has a low risk of addiction. Although addiction or dependence on CBD is not impossible, it is not common. As a result, little to no side effects or symptoms of withdrawal have been reported in people who stop using CBD.
In fact, because CBD is well tolerated and has some benefits, CBD may be helpful in reducing symptoms of withdrawal from other addictive substances.
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How CBD Oil Helps Drug Withdrawal
CBD oil has gained popularity based on reports of its wide range of health benefits, including positive benefits on mood. Among CBD’s potential health benefits, it has been noted for its potential role in reducing addictive behaviors and easing withdrawal symptoms.
As a cannabinoid, CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system throughout the body which plays a role in appetite, mood and pain. CBD has also been shown the ability to bind to serotonin receptors, a chemical in the brain that helps with positive emotions and the reward system. CBD’s effect on serotonin receptors can also help with compulsive behaviors, which are related to addiction and to regulate the stress response.
Because of the way that CBD acts on receptors in the brain and body, it has been shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms and reducing addictive behaviors. Although it should not be used as the sole solution for substance use disorders, CBD oil may be a helpful addition to addiction treatment.
CBD for Alcohol Withdrawal
There is some evidence that CBD might help protect the liver from damage incurred through binge drinking. However, this is preliminary evidence at this stage, primarily based on animal research. There is also research to suggest that CBD may decrease the motivation to drink alcohol and reduce relapse.
However, this research is in its very early stages and has only been conducted on animals. More research will be required to fully understand how CBD may be useful in alcohol withdrawal in humans.
CBD for Opiate Withdrawal
In an animal study, CBD was shown to directly reduce drug-seeking behavior related to heroin addiction. This has been supported in some early human research, suggesting that CBD can reduce the chances of relapse by reducing drug-craving and seeking behavior.
CBD has also been shown to improve symptoms that are associated with opiate withdrawal, such as fatigue, anxiety and restlessness. Based on the potential for CBD to reduce drug-craving and reduce unpleasant symptoms related to stopping opiates, it may be a helpful option for addiction treatment.
CBD for Benzo Withdrawal
Compared with opiates, there has been less investigation into the potential role of CBD for benzodiazepine withdrawal. There is some evidence that CBD may help reduce or replace benzos as a pain-management strategy, and there is substantial evidence that medical marijuana may reduce the use of benzodiazepines. However research was not specifically focused on CBD.
Based on the reported benefits of CBD common symptoms of withdrawal from drugs, CBDs may be helpful for benzo withdrawal but more research is required on this topic.
CBD Laws in Ohio
In 2018, the federal government passed the Agricultural Improvement Act which made hemp legal in amounts of less than 0.3% THC legal. This law still includes strict rules about how cannabis can be grown and used.
Despite these regulations at the federal level, not all states have updated their laws to be in line with the federal government. Although Ohio did not initially update the laws surrounding help following the Agricultural Improvement Act (also known as ‘The Farm Bill’), the sale of hemp and CBD oil has recently been legalized in the state. For more background, the National Conference of State Legislatures provides up-to-date information on state-level CBD/hemp regulations.
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