My experience using CBD for anxiety, with reviews of Sunday Scaries CBD gummies, Grön CBD chocolate, and Beekeeper's Naturals B.Chill Honey. CBD For Withdrawal: Does CBD help with addiction? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical that derives from the cannabis plant. CBD has been demonstrated to be effective in treating some seizure Xanax (benzodiazepine) addiction is a major problem worldwide. Many people are starting to turn to CBD as a means of weaning themselves off benzodiazepines.
I Swapped My Xanax for CBD. Here’s What Happened.
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 taking 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 she was 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 [ source ]. There’s a growing body of evidence demonstrating CBD’s usefulness for treating anxiety-related disorders [ source ]. It seems to have a calming effect on the central nervous system [ source ], which gives it the potential to treat a multitude of disorders.
In 2018, the FDA unanimously recommended approval for an epilepsy drug made from CBD called Epidiolex [ source ], and it is now the first CBD medicine available in the U.S. [ source ]. Because of its FDA approval, it is now regulated and does not have any of the safety concerns that other forms of CBD carry. A few studies have been carried out that show inaccuracies in the labeling of CBD products sold online [ source ] and from retail outlets [ source ], revealing large ranges of variability in the product contained.
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 and research [ source ]!)
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 . I asked friends, the staff at my local grocery co-op, and checked Reddit and internet message boards. Plus, I Google everything!
- Treating CBD like other health supplements . I always buy supplements that share third-party testing results on their websites, are transparent about their sourcing, and manufacture their products in the United States or Canada. The CBD industry is not regulated, and thus the safety and efficacy of products on the market are not guaranteed, so you need to do your homework [ source ].
Just to be clear, CBD doesn’t get you high. The compound that gives you that feeling when you use marijuana is called THC . And if you feel high after taking CBD, you’re probably taking a product that’s impure or mixed with other elements for that purpose [ source ].
My Experience Taking CBD for Anxiety
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 in some places is CBD derived from marijuana, unless you’re in a state where marijuana is legal [ source ].
But, if you want to get off that bandwagon altogether, you can look into CBD 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.
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 any particular feeling, but the absence of 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 ready for any time of day: honey for stirring into morning tea, a bottle of gummies to go with me in my purse, and chocolate to have 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 in the same way I used my Xanax—only when I really need it. When I’m having a particularly bad day with 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 be right for you. Just make sure and do the research, so you will feel comfortable with whatever you decide to do.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Susanna Quasem, M.D., a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here . As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
CBD For Withdrawal: Does CBD help with addiction?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical that derives from the cannabis plant. CBD has been demonstrated to be effective in treating some seizure disorders. However, many people also believe CBD oil is effective in treating numerous health conditions, including Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and diabetes, just to name a few. However, there is no real evidence that CBD works with such health conditions, other than for seizure disorders or to recover from addiction. Recently, however, CBD and marijuana have been touted as a way to stop using benzodiazepines, aside from benzo detox treatment.
What Are Benzos and How Bad Is Withdrawal?
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of prescription medications such as Xanax, Ativan, and Klonipin, which are usually prescribed to help people sleep or deal with anxiety. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2019 alone, among all overdose deaths involving opioids, 16 percent involved benzodiazepines .
Benzos can be helpful medications for short-term use. But they are quite addictive. Other people become addicted to benzos after using them recreationally. Withdrawal from benzos can be uncomfortable. Symptoms include increased anxiety, insomnia, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue.
In the search for ways to stop using benzos, some people have tried to use methods of CBD treatment for addiction to benzos and withdrawal.
Can You Use CBD for Withdrawal on Benzos?
The use of CBD for benzodiazepine withdrawal has not been studied in terms of CBD oil specifically, but a recent study did offer some support for the use of marijuana instead of using benzodiazepines. And while the idea of addiction treatment using CBD is discussed as a way to deal with benzo addiction, mixing CBD oil with benzos can lead to unexpected changes in liver enzymes. In turn, this can actually cause a buildup of the levels of benzos in the body and lead to increased sedation and the risk of overdose. So, if you are taking CBD oil to taper off the use of benzos, for example, you could be combining CBD and benzos in the wrong way and end up being over sedated.
Additionally, the use of CBD for withdrawal has not been studied extensively, has no supporting evidence of overall safety, and no guidelines are available about how much CBD for benzo withdrawal is safe or effective. A benzo detox and management of benzo withdrawal are definitely not something you should undertake at home, but rather under a doctor’s care.
Benzo Detox: Best Way To Recover From Benzo Addiction
Benzo detox involves tapering a person off of a benzodiazepine safely. This can be accomplished in several ways, but benzo withdrawal should be managed by experienced substance abuse treatment professionals in a supervised setting. Generally, detox involves 24-hour supervision. An inpatient facility is typically the safer and better choice for benzo addiction treatment. As earlier mentioned, benzo withdrawal symptoms tend to get severe. Thus, it is ideal to have a professional medical staff monitor the well-being of the patient.
However, some facilities provide detox in an outpatient setting in Florida. An outpatient setting might be appropriate for someone who doesn’t have a severe addiction or who might otherwise be able to taper off the medication with limited medical oversight. This could work well for those who have a strong support system at home. But an assessment of the patient is important to provide the best treatment option according to their individual needs.
Supporting A Loved One Recovering From Addiction
Helping out a loved one with any type of addiction is always challenging. You may expect to receive a heavy denial or negative reaction from your loved one struggling with addiction. Know that this is a normal and common situation. No matter how your loved one got into benzo addiction, it can be difficult for them to recover on their own. They need your love and support during this crucial time. Additionally, your role is to positively influence them during their treatment phase and even until after the treatment.
Coming together with loved ones, either with close friends or family, to help the addicted person open up about his or her addiction problems is an effective way to encourage them to get treatment. In other times, however, it can backfire if you express anger towards them or shame them for their condition. It doesn’t help to threaten them or negatively reprimand them to get them into benzo treatment. Instead of getting them to get help, you may trigger them to develop mental health problems such as depression or axiety.
When speaking to a family member about their addiction, don’t be judgmental. Rather, be gentle and direct with them. Let them know that you want to help them and will do whatever you can to assist them with entering into a treatment program. It can also help to reach out to their physician to discuss the situation.
Supporting your loved one in treatment and recovery generally involves understanding that addiction stems from a brain disease, not from a failure of morals. Attend self-help groups that can help you gain an understanding of your loved one’s addiction and recovery process and share in the experiences of other people going through the same situation.
What Should I Do to Get Help?
Once you or your loved one agrees to get help, you may wonder what treatment options are available. If you are wondering how to get treatment in Florida , Summer House Detox Center can provide you with benzo detox in Florida in a comfortable setting with numerous amenities.
Some people may need further treatment for benzo addiction. If so, Summer House Detox Center can help arrange for longer-term treatment at another facility after your loved one undergoes benzo withdrawal and detox. Visit Summer House Detox Center at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. You can also take the next step to get help for you or your loved one by calling us today at (800) 719-1090. We will do our best to help you all the way through recovery.
How People Are Kicking Xanax Addiction With CBD
Xanax (benzodiazepine) addiction is a major problem worldwide. Many people are starting to turn to CBD as a means of weaning themselves off benzodiazepines.
Xanax is a brand-name anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine class of drugs.
It is used to force the nervous system into a relaxed state — effectively stopping anxiety in its tracks.
The problem with benzodiazepines, in general, is that they’re highly addictive. After just a few weeks of use, people may become dependent on them. As soon as the effects wear off, the brain goes into a state of hyperactivation — resulting in severe anxiety attacks. This can lead to debilitating insomnia and emotional instability.
Because of the severe side effects, many people are trying to get off benzodiazepines but find it difficult because of their highly addictive nature. When the drugs disappear from the system, users can be faced with disabling anxiety attacks.
People are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) as a way to alleviate withdrawal symptoms while they reduce their dose of benzodiazepines. The goal is to stop using them altogether.
In this article, we’ll discuss how people are using CBD as an intermediary to wean themselves safely off benzodiazepines such as Xanax. We’ll talk about the promising research being done in this area and what it means for people hooked on anxiety medications.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- What are Benzodiazepines?
- Problems with Benzodiazepines
- Tips for Using CBD for Benzodiazepine Addiction
What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are a class of synthetic anti-anxiety medications.
This class of medications is used for treating anxiety disorders (such as social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder) and insomnia.
Some of the most popular brands include Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Lorazepam.
Xanax is by far the most common. Recent reports suggest Xanax is the third most prescribed medication in the United States and one of the top 20 prescription medications sold on the black market globally.
Unfortunately, all benzodiazepines are highly addictive — causing tolerance and dependency on the drug in as little as two weeks of regular use.
List of Benzodiazepines
How Benzodiazepines Work
These potent pharmaceuticals work by modifying the GABA receptors in the brain to become more receptive to GABA. We use GABA to control our stress levels and brain activity. The best analogy for GABA is that it behaves like the brake pedal for the brain — slowing us down when we need to stop.
When GABA activity increases, it slows nerve transmissions in the brain — making us feel relaxed. This stops anxiety attacks in their tracks and calms us down enough to fall asleep.
Problems with Benzodiazepines
Most people start taking Xanax or other benzodiazepines without expecting to become addicted. Doctors prescribe the medication in small doses for short periods to help people get through periods of severe anxiety. Benzodiazepines are also prescribed for periods of insomnia as they provide short-term relief.
The problem with this is that it only takes a few doses to cause addiction.
After just a few days, the body starts to resist the effects of the drug. It does this by changing the GABA receptors. As this change happens, users need to take higher doses of the drug to produce the same results.
At the same time, our natural GABA levels struggle as well. We can’t produce more GABA to make up for the tolerance, so, instead, we experience side-effects from the poor GABA function. The main side effect of this is the very thing the drugs were intended to treat — anxiety.
Benzodiazepine addiction is characterized by the onset of negative side effects as the drugs wear off. This is called withdrawal.
Withdrawal on benzodiazepines is extremely unpleasant. It includes symptoms such as:
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Mood disturbances
- Muscle tremors
- Muscle pain
- Suicidal thoughts
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Death (with severe benzodiazepine addiction)
As the side effects of anxiety appear, it’s difficult for people to resist the medication. The drug is the only thing that will stop it. This is a nearly impossibly high obstacle to manoeuver when in the process of quitting the drug.
Therefore, most people continue taking the drug despite its negative side effects. The anxiety is just too intense without it.
Benzodiazepines themselves don’t usually cause an overdose. However, when combined with other drugs such as opiate painkillers or alcohol, the mix can be incredibly dangerous.
Michael Jackson and rapper Lil Peep both had Xanax in their systems at the time of their deaths.
Users think they can avoid these issues by merely sticking to benzodiazepines and avoiding opiates or alcohol — but it’s not this simple.
Doctors won’t continue writing prescriptions for the drug indefinitely, and if they do, they will cap the dose. As tolerance increases, users are forced to seek out other sources of the drug to feed their addiction.
However, black market benzodiazepines aren’t always made using good manufacturing processes. A lot of them contain a mix of other drugs, such as fentanyl, to cut costs for the manufacturer. This is extremely dangerous and all too common.
All it takes is one bad pill to end up like Lil Peep — who died from taking Xanax laced with fentanyl.
If Lil Peep can’t even get clean drugs, what makes you think you can?
Suggested Reading: Can You Overdose on CBD?
How Can CBD Help Someone Wean Off Benzodiazepines?
So, now that we have a good understanding of how benzodiazepines work and what makes them so dangerous, we can get into how people are using CBD to support their recovery.
The basic idea is that we can use CBD to wean off benzodiazepines gradually. As the dose of your benzodiazepines is lowered, you can simultaneously increase the dose of CBD to offset some of the side effects.
Once the benzodiazepines are fully removed from the system, the focus is to stop the CBD — which is significantly easier.
This works because CBD has similar effects on the GABA receptors to benzodiazepines — only with significantly less potency and potential for addiction.
CBD also offers other benefits for people suffering benzodiazepine withdrawals:
- Anti-convulsant — CBD relieves muscle tremors and tension, helping to reduce this uncomfortable side effect while going through benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- Anti-anxiety — one of the most important benefits of CBD is its ability to reduce anxiety symptoms, which, of course, is the primary side-effect of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
- Sedative — CBD is a mild sedative, helping to relieve symptoms of insomnia resulting from Xanax, Trazodone, or Valium withdrawals.
How to Wean Off Benzodiazepines with CBD
Weaning off benzodiazepines with CBD is reasonably straightforward. You start with a low dose of CBD and your regular dose of benzodiazepines. Over time, the dose of benzodiazepines is gradually reduced, while the dose of CBD is steadily increased.
Eventually, the benzodiazepines are stopped completely. Once this stage is reached, the CBD is gradually reduced as well — which is significantly easier and much safer.
Step 1: Tell Your Doctor
Before you stop taking your medication, tell your doctor.
You need to discuss the plan with them even if they don’t approve (many doctors appear to prefer to keep their patients on the medications to avoid withdrawals).
Ultimately, however, your health is your responsibility. If you’re persistent with your doctor, they will need to help you wean off the medication. They’ll give some advice on a plan, along with some tips for getting through the worst of it.
Most doctors will also schedule visits throughout the process to monitor how the body is responding.
Step 2: Make a Dosage Plan
This step should be done with your doctor or another qualified practitioner. Some doctors and naturopaths specialize in weaning off drug addictions. If you can find one of these specialists, we highly recommend using their services to optimize success.
Here’s a simple dosage plan to give you an idea of what it might look like:
|Week||Xanax Dose (Daily)||CBD Dose (Daily)|
|Week 1||6 mg||0 mg|
|Week 2||6 mg||5 mg|
|Week 3||5 mg||15 mg|
|Week 4||5 mg||30 mg|
|Week 5||4 mg||40 mg|
|Week 6||4 mg||50 mg|
|Week 7||3 mg||55 mg|
|Week 8||3 mg||55 mg|
|Week 9||2 mg||60 mg|
|Week 10||2 mg||60 mg|
|Week 11||1 mg||60 mg|
|Week 12||0 mg||60 mg|
These dosages can vary significantly depending on your daily dose of Xanax or other benzodiazepines and how your body reacts to CBD. Some people need higher doses of CBD to be effective; others need lower doses.
You can try out our CBD Dosage Calculator to estimate your ideal dosage to begin.
The key to using CBD is to start low and build up gradually until you get the desired effects. You may need to increase the dose slightly when you lower the benzodiazepine dose.
Step 3: Order Your CBD
Before you start the weaning-off process, make sure you have enough CBD to get through the first couple of weeks. We recommend opting for a high-potency product — this can always be diluted to smaller doses, but it can be hard to hit higher doses with low-potency products.
We recommend finding a decent CBD oil and a CBD vaporizer. Oils offer long-lasting effects that can be taken both first things in the morning and in the afternoon or evening.
Vaping is good for spot treatment whenever withdrawal symptoms start and for eliminating the habit of popping pills whenever anxiety appears.
You could also check out the best CBD gummies for anxiety relief. Gummies are discrete and easy to take on the go.
Tips for Using CBD for Benzodiazepine Addiction
1. Seek Professional Medical Help Before Attempting the Weaning-Off Process
First and foremost, whenever stopping a medication such as a benzodiazepine, you need to seek out medical advice from a qualified doctor.
Benzodiazepine withdrawals can be dangerous — even lethal, in some cases.
Consult your doctor and return for follow-up visits every time you reduce your benzodiazepine dose so the doctor can assess your vital signs periodically as well as your overall wellbeing and emotional health.
2. Wean Off Benzodiazepines Slowly
It’s better to wean off benzodiazepines slowly over a few weeks instead of as fast as possible — this is especially true for people with a history of using benzodiazepines for more than six months.
Reducing your dose too quickly increases the chances of severe panic attacks, which can lead to a relapse. Instead, plan to wean down by roughly 25% every two weeks.
A good schedule is to lower the dose by about 1 mg every second or third week.
This gives the body enough time to readjust its dependency on the new dose. Once the body has stabilized, you can move on to the next stage and start the process again.
3. Perseverance is Key to Success
Even with the help of CBD, getting off benzodiazepines can be a challenge. Although CBD can significantly improve withdrawal symptoms, it won’t eliminate them.
It’s essential to persevere through periods where withdrawal symptoms can become especially challenging. Remember that the discomfort will eventually pass for good, but only if the process is seen through to the end.
4. Use the Right CBD Products
There are a lot of CBD products on the market — many of which are not going to be sufficient enough for this application.
Look for a CBD product that has the following characteristics:
Using cheap, poor-quality CBD products may be ineffective — or, in some cases, make symptoms even worse. This is especially true with contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals — which can cause anxiety. This is the last thing you want when going through benzodiazepines withdrawal.
We also highly recommend opting for a full-spectrum extract. The full combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals in the cannabis plant is more beneficial than CBD in isolation .
5. Consider Vaping
Rarely do we recommend anyone starts vaping, especially if they’re not already a smoker.
However, in this case, vaping is very beneficial for changing habits of drug use.
The very action of vaping can help users change habits in their brains. Usually, when benzodiazepine users feel anxiety coming on between doses, they’ll reach for a pill. This forms habit pathways in the brain that can be hard to shake.
This habit of popping pills for anxiety can be replaced with a few hits from a vape instead.
Of course, you don’t want to have compulsive or addictive behavior with anything, including vaping — but during the process of weaning off benzodiazepines, this can be a game-changer.
Vaping also offers the benefits of being fast-acting — especially compared with things such as CBD oils or capsules that can take as long as 45 minutes to start producing their effects. Vaping only takes 5 to 15 minutes to produce the same results.
When anxiety attacks come on, they come on quickly, so relief also needs to be felt rapidly.
6. Use Multiple Forms of Treatments Together
As with any complex medical condition, the best treatment is a multifaceted approach rather than one form of treatment.
Doctors working in rehabilitation centers treating patients for addiction have a variety of techniques at their disposal. It’s the same for people working on correcting addiction at home.
Some common techniques people use to get through benzodiazepine withdrawal may include:
- Support groups
- Other herbs
- Nutritional support
- Dietary changes
- Removal of common triggers for drug use
- Starting a new hobby
What the Research Says
One of the most well-researched benefits of CBD is its anti-anxiety effects.
Interestingly, much of this benefit of CBD is through its activity on the benzodiazepine receptors themselves [2, 3].
This means two things:
- CBD can be used to replace benzodiazepines to help wean off the drug.
- CBD may increase the effects of benzodiazepines — making it essential to start at a low dose and build up gradually.
A retrospective study published in 2019 analyzed a cohort of 146 medical marijuana patients who were also taking benzodiazepines at the start of the study . By the end of the two-month study, 30% of these patients were no longer taking benzodiazepines. A later follow-up at the six-month mark found that 45% of the patients that took part in the study were off benzodiazepines completely.
Key Takeaways: Weaning Off Benzodiazepines with CBD
Benzodiazepines are posing a significant problem around the world. In the short term, these drugs are incredibly useful for eliminating severe anxiety and panic disorders. However, long-term use can result in addiction. Stopping the medication for any reason causes withdrawal symptoms, which can be excruciating.
CBD is a useful supplement for supporting the recovery process. It has similar effects on benzodiazepine medications, which help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. In addition, CBD extracts have other benefits that can be used to make the withdrawal process more comfortable — therefore, improving the chances of successful recovery.
Of course, whenever trying something like this, it’s essential to seek medical counsel first. Your doctor should be on board with your plan to stop the medication and will help you form a weaning-off plan — gradually decreasing the benzodiazepine doses while increasing the dose of CBD.
This study was retrospective, looking at the relationship between benzodiazepine use and cannabis use. The original study didn’t look at the effects of weaning off benzodiazepines with cannabis or CBD specifically. The results are likely to be much higher if the intent is to get off the benzodiazepines.