Xanax and weed are both very common substances, and with marijuana being legalized in more and more states across the country, it’s possible to get both legally. Xanax is a prescription medication that’s often used to control panic and anxiety disorders, and even in states that don’t sell marijuana recreationally, it may be possible to get a medical marijuana card for a dispensary. The fact that both of these substances can be legally obtained may lead some people to combine them in an effort to get more of an effect. However, this isn’t recommended and can lead to unpleasant side effects. It may also be an indicator of a larger substance abuse problem. Learn more about the effects of Xanax and weed and how to seek help for an addiction.
The Effects of Weed
Marijuana, which has a host of nicknames including weed, Mary Jane and pot, comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. The leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of the plant are all commonly used. It comes in liquid form, edibles and dried leaves that can be smoked. Many people use marijuana to ease physical pain and anxiety, and it’s known for its calming effect. Some of the other common effects of marijuana include:
- Slower movements and speech
- Difficulty thinking
- Slower response times
- An altered sense of reality, including an increase in sensory perception of colors, sounds, etc.
- Feeling like time is moving more slowly
- Difficulty remembering things
If you’re using marijuana that’s not from a dispensary, it’s also important to realize that you can’t be exactly sure what’s in it or that it’s not laced with another drug that could cause other side effects or react much more strongly with Xanax.
The Effects of Xanax
Xanax is the brand name for the generic drug alprazalom, which is considered a benzodiazepine. This means its primary function is to change the way the brain and nervous system work together to provide a feeling of calm. It’s commonly prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders of all types.
While Xanax is generally considered safe for most people when taken according to the prescribed directions, it can have side effects. Some of the most common include:
- Drowsiness and difficulty staying awake
- A lightheaded or dizzy feeling
- Problems with memory
- Slurred speech
- Impaired balance
- Decreased sex drive
These are also common side effects for most of the substances in the benzodiazepine family, which means you may get a similar reaction when you mix weed with other benzos. In most cases, your health care provider will work with you to ensure the medication is right for you, is helping control your symptoms and isn’t causing other unwanted and unpleasant side effects.
How Do Xanax and Weed Interact?
As you can see from the lists above, Xanax and weed have a similar effect on the brain and nervous system, which is one reason people may want to try to mix them together. It’s normal to think that if either of them is helpful to your anxiety, using them together would be even more helpful. However, it’s never a good idea to combine any type of medication or drug, prescribed or otherwise, without a doctor’s approval.
In the case of Xanax and marijuana, using them together can actually make anxiety worse. This is because in high doses, both marijuana and Xanax can cause symptoms such as rapid heart rate, feelings of paranoia, feelings of anxiety and heightened irritability. When you’re using the two together, you’re essentially doing a “doubling up” that can cause the same effects.
Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Weed
Each person responds differently to any substance, and this includes mixtures. While using Xanax and weed together may cause some people to experience more anxiety and symptoms similar to a panic attack, others may find that the sedative effects are increased — which can be dangerous. Combining marijuana and Xanax can increase drowsiness, lower heart and respiratory rates to dangerous levels, cause slurred speech and impair judgment.
Beyond the physical dangers, using marijuana and Xanax together can be a sign of a larger addiction problem. For example, someone may have noticed that when they smoke marijuana, they’re calmer and experience less intense anxiety symptoms. But maybe then the anxiety levels or frequency of panic attacks increases. They seek help from a doctor and are prescribed Xanax. At first, they take it just as needed, but then it starts becoming an every other day or every day habit. If at some point the Xanax starts having less of an effect, the person may try to use it in conjunction with marijuana to get a stronger effect.
It doesn’t take long for a substance abuse habit to develop and start to get out of control. If you find yourself taking more medication than prescribed to deal with your symptoms or are using Xanax together with marijuana, alcohol or other prescription medications not approved by your doctor, it may indicate a developing substance abuse addiction.
If you’re having difficulty controlling your anxiety symptoms or are currently mixing Xanax with other substances, it’s important to reach out for help. Talking with a trusted mental health care professional can help you better understand the roots of an addiction, get back on track with managing anxiety symptoms and provide you with more tools and resources for your mental health.
At FHE Health, we know how difficult it can be to live with symptoms of anxiety and how hard it is to reach out for help when you think you might have a substance abuse problem. Our trained staff is ready to help answer your questions and give you more information on how we can help you take the first step toward a better life.