CBD and Xanax — Is It Safe to Take Them Together?
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you’re probably always searching for new ways to make yourself feel better. There’s no doubt that you’ve heard of CBD — everyone’s claiming that it works miracles for mental health. But you’re already taking medication, and you’re not sure how well CBD and Xanax go together. If that’s the case, read on to find out!
What Is Xanax?
Alprazolam, better known as Xanax, is a benzodiazepine — a medicine used to treat anxiety and depression. It’s also known as a central nervous system depressant because it acts on the brain and nerves and calms them down.
While doctors mainly prescribe it to humans, some vets also use Xanax when treating dogs that suffer from panic attacks. However, the FDA does not recognize Xanax as veterinary medicine, so it’s best to avoid giving it to animals.
Who Uses Xanax?
As stated before, Xanax is quite effective at treating anxiety and depression. People with these conditions may have certain chemical imbalances in the brain, causing them to feel unwell. Xanax helps to correct those and lets them live a happier, more fulfilling life.
However, Xanax isn’t a medicine you should take lightly. It can have serious side-effects, clash with other medications, or even lead to addiction. So if you feel that you need it, consult your doctor first. They will determine whether Xanax is the right choice, or if a different form of therapy would suit you better.
Can You Use CBD and Xanax at the Same Time?
As you already know, CBD oil and other CBD-related products can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. They do that by restoring balance to the endocannabinoid system, responsible for processing and forgetting our fears. Since CBD is both natural and effective, many people swear by it, claiming it changed their lives for the better.
But what if you are taking Xanax and still want to consume CBD? Would you benefit from this combination, or should you avoid using both at the same time?
Unfortunately, using CBD and Xanax together is not a good idea. When Xanax enters your body, a liver enzyme called CYP3A4 breaks it down. CBD also reacts with this enzyme — it inhibits its activity, thus ensuring that Xanax stays in the bloodstream longer.
Naturally, that means that Xanax’s sedative effects will last longer, which may not seem that bad. However, if Xanax hasn’t broken down by the time you take your next pill, you put yourself at serious risk of overdosing. Even if you don’t overdose, you’re more likely to experience some side-effects or have suicidal thoughts.
We should mention, though, that there are no clinical trials and studies that confirm this interaction between CBD and Xanax. However, other CYP3A4 inhibitors were tested, and they reacted with Xanax just as we described. Thus, it’s safe to conclude that CBD would too.
Can You Use a Different Benzodiazepine With CBD?
Just like with Xanax, you have to be careful when taking CBD with other benzodiazepines. Many of them are broken down by the same enzyme that metabolizes Xanax. Thus, the interactions and effects would be exactly the same.
Still, you could check with your doctor and ask them to reduce your dosage while you’re taking CBD. That way, it’s possible to safely enjoy its benefits too.
Can CBD Replace Xanax?
Many people consider CBD to be a natural, safer alternative to Xanax. After all, it reduces stress and relieves anxiety and depression symptoms without potentially dangerous side-effects or forming an addiction. But is it possible to completely replace Xanax with CBD-related products?
Medical research on this topic is inconclusive. Still, many people recount how they have swapped Xanax for CBD successfully — and never felt better. But different people may react to this change in various ways, so it’s always best to be careful.
And remember — don’t stop using Xanax without consulting your doctor first. Going cold turkey can worsen your anxiety and depression or cause unpleasant side-effects such as cramps, vomiting, and tremors. If you’ve really decided to stop taking Xanax, it’s best to do so gradually with your doctor’s support.
CBD and Xanax may have fairly similar effects, but using them together won’t make you feel better. In fact, the consequences can be pretty dire, so it’s best not to take one when you’re using the other. If you really want to, though, talk to your doctor first— they will determine how to do it safely.
CBD and Xanax — Is It Safe to Take Them Together? If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you’re probably always searching for new ways to make yourself feel better. There’s no doubt that
CBD May Possibly Interfere With Your Daily Medication
The interest in cannabidiol (aka CBD ) ― a nonpsychoactive chemical found in marijuana and hemp plants ― is only growing. It has made its way into our shampoos and lotions . There are CBD-infused smoothies, bath bombs and beer. There are even holiday treats (looking at you, CBD jelly beans).
Many people ― including medical experts ― say it’s beneficial in helping to manage different ailments like anxiety , sleeplessness and pain . But while CBD has been advertised as an effective way to treat a wide mix of maladies, the compound is still largely unregulated and unstudied.
“It’s the wild, wild West right now,” said Michelle Henry , a board-certified dermatologist and Harvard-trained Mohs surgeon.
Because of that, there are some questions about how it may impact a user’s life ― specifically if they’re taking drugs for other health issues. Here’s what experts know so far:
Researchers suspect CBD could interact with most medications
Little is known about how CBD could affect other medications a person is taking, according to Yasmin Hurd, a CBD researcher and the director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Still, Hurd suspects the substance could very well negatively interact with most medications that are taken orally.
Other experts seem to agree. Nearly 60 percent of the medications on the market are metabolized through a set of liver enzymes — called cytochrome P450, or CYP450 — that are, coincidentally, the same enzymes that break down CBD, Henry explained. Previous research suggests that CBD is a very strong inhibitor of the CYP450 enzymes. This means that if you take CBD while on another medication, it could block these critical enzymes, allowing more of the medication to get into your system.
“So, let’s say you’re on a medication like warfarin or Coumadin, a really common medication we give to a lot of patients to thin their blood,” Henry said. “If [CBD] is blocking the metabolism of warfarin, that warfarin is now higher and more active and can either become toxic or cause other problems.” In the case of a blood thinner like warfarin, “other problems” could entail a traumatic bleed or a dangerous hemorrhage, she added.
The same goes for benzodiazepines (or benzos) like Xanax or Ativan, which are used to treat anxiety. If CBD is taken in conjunction with one of these drugs, it could increase the side effects and potentially cause you to feel more sedated or drowsy. In some rare cases, the drug combo may become toxic or even interfere with your respiratory system, according to Henry. Doctors suspect that certain antibiotics and even NSAIDs (think Aleve or Advil) are altered by CBD consumption as well, Hurd said.
According to the District of Columbia Department of Health , CBD can also increase the serum concentrations ― the amount of medication in your blood ― of a ton of other drugs, including antidepressants, antihistamines, antiretrovirals, calcium channel blockers and beta blockers.
You may have heard of the grapefruit rule , which suggests that the citrus fruit can impair how your body absorbs certain drugs — mainly cholesterol medications, blood pressure drugs and allergy pills. That same mechanism is no different than CBD’s, Harvard Medical School reported . According to Henry, grapefruit inhibits the same set of liver enzymes that CBD blocks. So, like CBD, grapefruit juice can boost levels of other medications in your blood.
How intensely this all plays out in your body mainly depends on the dosage of both the medication and the CBD that you’re taking, Hurd said. “If the concentration of CBD is high enough, it could inhibit the activity of those enzymes, so you would get more of the other drug getting into your system,” she added.
On the flip side, very low amounts of CBD don’t seem to have that much of an effect on how well your body processes other medications. But unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough research to determine how much CBD is considered safe.
Other factors could also influence how CBD does or doesn’t affect your medication
The timing of when you take both the CBD and any other medications can also be a factor in how the drugs may interact in your body.
“Spacing out doses of medicine does help to reduce the workload on the liver,” Hurd explained. “For example, depending on the half-life of a drug, its ability to inhibit liver enzymes might be diminished after a couple of hours depending on dose, etc., thus liver enzymes could regain sufficient function by the time a second drug is consumed later on.”
In other words, the risk of having a serious drug interaction may be lower if you take your medications and CBD at different times of the day.
Finally, everyone responds to drugs differently. Some people may be very sensitive to a particular substance, while others may have little to no reaction. Ultimately, how our bodies process medication ― and the effect it will have ― is heavily influenced by genetics, age and body size.
The form of CBD also matters
The way you use CBD — whether orally, sublingually or topically — also contributes to the interaction with medication. It all boils down to how much of the substance makes its way to the bloodstream, which varies based on the method.
An IV would provide the most direct route, Henry said, as it’s putting the drug right into your blood. Second up is using CBD sublingually — underneath the tongue — or inhaling it, followed by eating (or drinking) CBD.
When ingested, CBD has to go through the gastrointestinal system, which reduces some of the absorption in the bloodstream before it makes its way to the liver where those very important enzymes are.
The least potent route is through the skin. The amount of CBD your body absorbs and sends to the bloodstream through the skin is likely negligible, according to Henry. Therefore, chances are low that you’ll experience any sort of interaction with your medication when using CBD topically, like through a lotion or cream.
The bottom line: You shouldn’t mix without talking to a doctor first
Henry advised to stay away from CBD if you’re taking medications that are metabolized by those same liver enzymes, such as certain anti-anxiety drugs or blood thinners. If you’re unsure, it’s always smart to talk to your physician before throwing CBD into the mix. If you’re set on taking CBD, your doctor may be able to adjust the dose of your other medications. While CBD does seem relatively OK to use ― and many people find it helps with their health concerns ― you just want to be cognizant of any potential health risks.
“I do think that many people think that CBD is benign and it’s safe — and it’s relatively safe compared to so many drugs out there. However, it still has bioactive effects,” Hurd said.
Just like anything else you put in or on your body, it’s best to err on the side of caution and know, to the best of your ability, exactly what the potential side effects are.
Experts share how cannabidiol can impact anxiety medication, blood thinners and even pain relievers.