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Cannabis and Klonopin: A Dangerous Duo or Magical Combo?

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

September 14, 2023 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Cannabis and Klonopin: A Dangerous Duo or Magical Combo?

Cannabis and Klonopin are becoming a common duo. But this duo may not be safe. In fact, using the two together could cause more harm than good. Let’s take a closer look at Klonopin and then explore how cannabis may affect it. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine better known by its brand name, Klonopin®.

It’s frequently prescribed to help control the symptoms of seizure disorders. It’s also commonly prescribed to help control symptoms of anxiety. These two conditions affect an alarming number of people in the U.S., and that number just continues to increase.

Healthline says, “It’s estimated that about 1.2 percent of U.S. people have active epilepsy. This comes out to about 3.4 million people nationwide — and more than 65 million globally. Additionally, about 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point during their lifetime.” Additionally, according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder.”

Klonopin for Anxiety and Seizure Disorders

Before understanding the relationship between cannabis and Klonopin, it’s essential to understand how Klonopin works on its own. According to the NAMI, “Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine. It is approved for the treatment of panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia), as well as certain types of seizure disorders.” Other common benzos listed by the DEA are as follows.

  • Alprazolam (Xanax®)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium®)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene®)
  • Diazepam (Valium®)
  • Halazepam (Paxipam®)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan®)
  • Oxazepam (Serax®)
  • Prazepam (Centrax®)
  • Quazepam (Doral®)

Should you decide to stop taking Klonopin, NAMI warns that there are these nasty side effects to consider. “Stopping clonazepam abruptly may result in one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, tremors, dizziness, blood pressure changes, rapid heart rate, and seizures. Withdrawal reactions may occur when dosage reduction occurs for any reason.”

There is a risk with these medications that aren’t talked about much. When they are taken for too long or abused, the consequences can be extremely harmful. The dangers range from lack of ability to function sociably to loss of happiness, sleep, and more. The reason for this is that benzodiazepines affect GABBA levels in the body.

Benzodiazepines and GABA

GABA is produced naturally by the body. GABA levels in the body can be affected by stress, alcohol, drugs, poor diet, and more. Information online says, “GABAA receptors are located in the majority of synapses in the CNS and play an important role in neuronal firing, regulating emotion, and controlling cognition, pain, sleep, and motor function.” Benzodiazepines like Klonopin are used to help these processes when we have trouble with them. Pub Med says, “Benzodiazepines (BZs) produce most, if not all, of their pharmacological actions by specifically enhancing the effects of endogenous and exogenous GABA that are mediated by GABAA receptors.”

GABA helps us slow down, feel happiness, hunger, and more. Without a healthy production of GABA, things get crazy. Pharmaceutical benzodiazepines like Klonopin are the most common way these issues are addressed by the medical community and accepted by the general public. After all, who wants to learn how to eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essentials that help produce GABA naturally? Nobody has time for that. Isn’t there a pill for it? This is when medicines such as Klonopin come into the picture. Be careful, though. Those pills could end up becoming addictive. When this happens, you may end up needing them just to function.

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The Benzodiazepine Information Collation says, “GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. Its role is in reducing neuronal excitability, and in humans, it is also responsible for the regulation of muscle tone. If your nervous system was a car, GABA functions much like the “brakes.” When the “car” takes off speeding down the road (excitability of the nervous system), GABA functions as the “brakes” to calm and slow it down.” They also say, “Long-term benzo usage can cause what is known as ‘uncoupling’ of the GABA-A receptor. Uncoupling results in a decrease in the ability of BZs to potentiate the action of GABA on GABA-A receptors and in a decrease in the ability of GABA to potentiate BZ binding.”

Cannabis and Klonopin Could Be a Dangerous Duo

Klonopin is a very sensitive medication. Cannabis, like other substances, could also potentially have adverse and unwanted effects. When cannabis and Klonopin are used together, they could lead to a myriad of different ailments and potential issues. It has also been reported that when combining these two, often the side effects are much more intense from both.

Some of the most commonly reported side effects from combining these two medications are as follows:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Lower motor coordination
  • Slowed breathing

Is Cannabis an Effective Replacement for Klonopin?

Taking the interactions between cannabis and Klonopin into account, cannabis could potentially help you replace a dependency on benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Xanax, and others, but this isn’t always the case.

If you want to embrace the potential therapeutic properties of cannabinoids to replace a dependency on these medications, it is recommended that you stop the use of them first. Talk with your doctor and develop a plan to help reduce symptoms of withdrawal while you transition from benzodiazepines to cannabinoids. If this is not possible, try utilizing a very low dose of cannabis as you gradually decrease your benzo consumption, gradually increasing your cannabis regimen as your reliance on the pharmaceuticals continues to decrease. Additionally, trying things like eating a GABA-rich diet could help to lessen the withdrawal side effects. Cleveland Clinic says, “Some foods that contain GABA or boost its production in your body include brown rice, soy and adzuki beans, chestnuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, sprouted grains, and sweet potatoes.”

Switching From Klonopin to Cannabis

When you’re ready to try replacing Klonopin with cannabis, there are a few things you’ll want to know. It’s important to remember that cannabis may affect you differently than it does others. Start low and slow, gradually increasing your dosage until you achieve the desired results you’re after.

Full-extraction cannabis oil (FECO) is a great place to start with cannabis after you have stopped taking benzos. This is quite possibly the healthiest way to consume cannabis. A small rice grain-sized portion of FECO daily, or a few times a day, makes a world of difference in the lives of an untold number of people around the world.

Sometimes FECO alone isn’t enough. This is where cannabis edibles, concentrates, vapes, and smokeable flowers (buds) may help you achieve your goal. Cannabis is medicine. The medicinal value of cannabinoids helps a wide array of people of all ages with a plethora of different conditions and unique situations. If you’re looking to kick Klonopin to the curb, cannabis may be just the thing to help you make this happen.

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.

Post Your Comments

Mike J Justice says:

October 26, 2023 at 5:20 pm

I’ve been on Klonopin for PTSD since 1994! I also use Cannabis Flower ( Bud) & I seem to get a better results using them in combination ( Medical Strains) Northern Lights) Granddaddy Purple etc. I’m on a much lower dose of Klonopin now 0.5 mg 2-3 times daily as needed ! I’ve tried to get off of them 4 times and had terrible results & Dr. Put me back on them , I can say when using medical Cannabis I don’t need as much Klonopin as when I don’t use Cannabis!


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