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Can You Combine Xanax (alprazolam) and Cannabis?

Mary Ekundayo

by Mary Ekundayo

February 15, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho Medically reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides
Can You Combine Xanax (alprazolam) and Cannabis?

In today’s fast-paced world, managing stress, anxiety, and pain is a priority for many. As a result, a growing number of individuals are exploring alternative methods. This includes combining prescribed medications like Xanax (alprazolam) with natural remedies like cannabis. While this combination has proved effective in stress and anxiety management, it has its downsides – and the harm may outweigh the benefit.

Here’s the million-dollar question –  should you combine Xanax and cannabis? Is it a match made in heaven or a recipe for disaster? This article answers these questions by providing deep insight into the complexities of combining the two substances. It also suggests alternative and potentially safer practices for stress and anxiety management. Take a look!

Can You Combine Xanax and Weed?

Well, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. Before downing a combination of Xanax and cannabis, it is essential to understand how these substances interact within the human body.

Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a benzodiazepine – a class of drugs often used as antianxiety sedatives. Sedatives slow down brain and nervous system activity, making them central nervous system (CNS) depressants along with substances like alcohol, sleep medications, and barbiturates. Combining those are known to be dangerous because together, they can depress the CNS too much and cause slow breathing, coma, and death. 

As such, Xanax is often prescribed on its own or with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders, depression, and panic attacks. In true CNS depressant style, the drug enhances the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), consequently reducing brain activity intensity.

Cannabis, on the other hand, should be familiar to most readers. It’s a plant rich in many compounds, particularly cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While THC is notorious for producing psychoactive effects responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, CBD offers therapeutic and anti-anxiety benefits without the high. Cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoidome, regulating several physiological processes and inducing a wide range of effects such as euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief.

Potential Interaction Between Xanax and Weed

How Xanax and cannabis interact is dependent on your body’s metabolism, tolerance, and the doses used. This is why some people will experience enhanced sedative effects, while others will have impaired cognitive functions and diminished decision-making abilities due to the combination. 

Generally, cannabis may increase the possible side effects of Xanax, such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, impaired concentration, judgment, and thinking. Elderly persons are more susceptible to medication side effects and serious falls. These should not be combined without your healthcare provider’s guidance. Essentially, what is good for the geese may not always be good for the gander.

Risks of Combining Xanax and Cannabis

As already stated, the interaction of Xanax and cannabis in the body can be harmful, with potential damage ranging from mild to severe. So, what are the risks associated with this combination?

Enhanced Sedation and Drowsiness

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be hit with a truckload of tranquilizers? That’s the siesta syndrome that comes with combining Xanax and cannabis. Both substances were individually designed to depress the central nervous system, and when used together, they can magnify the sleepiness effect. 

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Your sedation levels get cranked up, leaving you in temporary excessive bliss. Things around you begin to move at lightning speed, and even a sloth seems to move as fast as Usain Bolt. In this state, certain activities like driving become dangerous, and pleasurable substances can become easily or repeatedly misused.

Impaired Cognitive Functions

Both cannabis and Xanax impair memory and concentration and enhance drowsiness. This can cause you to forget the simplest things, like where you left your car keys or what you were about to do next.  

It could worsen if you consume this combo before carrying out important tasks or activities. You might be left standing for hours ogling at a glass of water or pondering the mysteries of the universe instead of doing what needs to be done.

Respiratory Depression

Now, here’s where things get serious. Xanax and cannabis together can depress respiratory function. This means that they can restrict a person’s regular breathing pattern. It can lead to dangerous consequences and medical emergencies if slowed breathing and unconsciousness are not recognized right away.

It’s important to recognize that cannabis does not cause respiratory depression by itself. This is because there are no cannabinoid receptors located in our breathing centers. What happens here is that cannabis increases the levels and effects of other medications that can have this effect, like Xanax and other CNS depressants.

Anxiety and Panic

The irony of combining Xanax and cannabis is that it can cause anxiety and panic. While Xanax is supposed to be an anxiety-buster, it can crank up pre-existing anxiety for some. Adding  THC from cannabis to the mix doesn’t always help if the THC dose is high, so CBD is preferred. You might just be inviting more unwanted guests to the party.

Factors To Consider When Combining Weed and Xanax

If you’re still keen on combining Xanax and  cannabis, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your safety and well-being:

  • Seek Medical Advice: As much as you’d like to live life by your own rules, be sure to request and follow the guidance of a medical practitioner. A medical practitioner will look at your medical history and current condition and provide personalized advice on whether to combine these compounds.
  • Personal Tolerance: Like cannabis and alcohol, our tolerances and sensitivities differ. While some individuals react badly to Xanax and cannabis, others have a high tolerance for it. 
  • Dosages and Timing: Don’t be in a hurry to play doctor or chemist. While taking too much Xanax and cannabis is already dangerous, taking them at the wrong time, like before driving or work, is not without its consequences. So again, please seek the advice of a chemist or pharmacist on how and when to take them.
  • Play It Safe: Xanax and cannabis interact significantly, and more so depending on the presence of other sedating compounds in your body. In essence, certain drugs interact negatively with these substances, especially CNS depressants like alcohol. Seek advice from a healthcare provider to prevent harmful and life-threatening reactions.

Alternatives and Safer Practices

There are several options ways to deal with anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks — that are both more practical and safer — than mixing Xanax and cannabis. Try out non-pharmaceutical measures such as breathing exercises, mindful meditation, yoga, dietary changes, acupuncture, herbs, tea, and other relaxation techniques.


Whenever you find yourself at the crossroads of Xanax and cannabis, remember there is no straightforward answer. While some have found the combination effective, others have experienced the downsides, including substance misuse. 

Keep in mind that your health and safety is top priority. So, ensure that you weigh the risks and consequences. Speak to a medical practitioner and be open to exploring non-pharmaceutical measures that may better suit your needs. 

Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.

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