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!
Table of Contents
What is CBD?
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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
- …the list goes on
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
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.
Related: Can You Overdose On CBD?
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.
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