Today’s article seeks to answer a simple query? Can you take CBD oil with Diazepam? In order to successfully answer this question, we first need to understand what Diazepam is, how it works, and what it’s used for. From there, we can answer the query with minimal guesswork. And, understand how safe or risky it is to take Diazepam with CBD oil.
So, What Is Diazepam, And What Is It Used For?
Diazepam is a synthetic drug belonging to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are a type of drug commonly known as tranquilizers. Tranquilizers fall into two main categories namely major and minor. Of the two groups of tranquilizers, Diazepam is part of the minor tranquilizer group.
Major tranquilizers are medically known as antipsychotic agents or neuroleptics because they’re used to treat major states of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, for example. Minor tranquilizers are medically known as anti-anxiety agents or anxiolytics because they’re used to treat minor states of mental disorders such as anxiety, for example.
Diazepam, also sold under the name Valium, is used to treat conditions such as anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, seizures, and insomnia. And, it is used to induce amnesia in difficult procedures, muscle relaxation, or as an anesthetic before surgery. Diazepam acts on your central nervous system (CNS) to produce a state of sedation that relaxes your muscles and lowers anxiety levels.
What Are The Side Effects Of Diazepam?
Diazepam, sure as the sky is blue, comes with a negative side effect profile. Diazepam’s side effect profile can be split into 3 groups, which are ‘common’ side effects, ‘serious/severe’ side effects, and ‘allergic reaction’ side effects.
Diazepam’s negative side effect profile includes:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Blurred or double vision
- Unsteadiness or a spinning sensation
- Ataxia (loss of balance)
- Dry mouth
- Skin rash
- Loss of interest in sex
The ‘serious/severe’ side effect profile of diazepam includes:
- Memory problems
- Slurred speech or trouble speaking
- Muscle weakness
- Tremors (shaking)
- Trouble urinating
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
- Sore throat that doesn’t leave
- Fever and chills
- Slow or shallow breathing
The ‘allergic reaction’ side effect profile of diazepam includes:
- Itching and swelling (in the face, tongue, and throat)
- Severe dizziness
- Trouble breathing
What Are The Withdrawal Symptoms Of Diazepam?
Before looking into the risk factor that surrounds taking diazepam with CBD oil, we need to highlight its withdrawal symptoms. You may be looking to wean off diazepam and that is commendable, however, you need to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into by doing that. With that said, the withdrawal symptoms of diazepam include:
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, cramps, and even tremors (occurring mostly in your hands)
- Cardiovascular symptoms such as increased blood pressure and increased heart rate
- Neurological symptoms such as confusion and potential seizures (seizures during withdrawal are potentially fatal and need immediate medical attention)
- Psychological symptoms such as cravings, mood swings, depression, panic attacks, and rebound anxiety
Okay, now that we’re aware of what we’re dealing with we can address the question of the day.
So, Can You Take CBD Oil With Diazepam?
From a safety perspective, it’s a bad idea to take CBD oil with diazepam. The risk of something going wrong is very high. To be specific, you’re looking at drug interactions that could cause intensified negative side effects, exposure to a wider range of negative side effects, and an increased risk of getting liver failure.
However, if your goal is to wean off Diazepam using CBD oil, then there is a safe approach you can adopt. It will require you to be very strategic and disciplined, but the fruit will be worth your labor. Before we get into that, we first need to understand the risks. This will provide context for the recommended approach outlined later in this article.
How Risky Is It To Take CBD Oil With Diazepam?
It’s risky to take CBD oil with diazepam because up to 80% of all pharmaceutical drugs are broken down in your liver. Metabolism of medically prescribed drugs is by a group of enzymes called Cytochrome P450 (CYP450). This includes Diazepam, CBD, THC, and the entire cannabinoid entourage.
When you take CBD oil with Diazepam, you may induce a mechanism called “competitive inhibition”. This is where different medications are taken together to compete for the same metabolic enzymes in your liver. In this case, the competition is between CBD, THC, and Diazepam.
The worst case scenario is that Diazepam will get blocked from being broken down by CBD and THC molecules. It is blocked from being broken down, then more of it is made abundant in your system. This will most likely cause you to experience either intensified side effects and/or a wider range of side effects. In addition, you may also experience liver failure because your liver may get overwhelmed.
The first risk you face is either intensified side effects or a wider range of Diazepam’s side effects. When Diazepam is blocked from being metabolized, more of it is made abundant in your system. The more Diazepam that lies present in your system, the more exposure you have to intensified or additional side effects. Again, this is due to a process called ‘competitive inhibition’ also known as the ‘grapefruit effect‘. Thus, the risk of taking CBD oil and Diazepam is the high likelihood of intensified or multiplied side effects.
The next risk you face is experiencing liver failure. Liver failure is described as a loss of liver function caused by a multitude of reasons. Some of the causes related to our topic include prescription drug use, herbal supplements, toxins, and over-taxing your liver function to name only a few. Liver failure occurs when liver cells are damaged and can no longer perform their function. The symptoms of liver failure include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyeballs)
- Pain in your upper right abdomen
- Abdominal swelling
- Malaise (general sense of feeling unwell)
- Disorientation (or confusion)
If you remember, earlier in this article, in the ‘serious/severe’ side effects profile, one of the side effects mentioned was Jaundice, which is the yellowing of your skin and eyes. This indicates that you may experience liver failure even before adding CBD oil to your regimen. This supports the stance that taking both CBD oil and Diazepam together is a bad idea. Not only could you get liver failure from Diazepam alone, but you could increase the likelihood of it occurring if you take it together with CBD oil.
Okay, so those are the obvious risks of taking CBD oil with Diazepam. So far, the presumption is that you’d take them at more or less the same time. But, if your goal is to wean off Diazepam or at least reduce the impact of side effects, is there a safe way to do it using CBD oil? I’m happy to state that there is and that is what the next section of this article deals with.
How Can You Safely Take CBD Oil With Diazepam?
A majority of pro-cannabis medical professionals state that it’s generally safe to take CBD oil with prescription meds provided you’re strategic and careful with your approach. If you’re not strategic and careful with your approach then you face multiple varieties of medical misfortune.
So this begs the question… What does it mean to be strategic and careful with your approach? How can you use CBD oil to wean off Diazepam or reduce its side effects without facing any of the risks previously covered? Great question and the following 5 strategies are your answer:
- A Personal Medical Journal – Having a personal medical journal is the most important strategy at your disposal. Arguably, even more, important than placing the first drop of CBD oil into your system. A personal medical journal will enable you to track and record your actions and results so you progressively eliminate the guesswork that comes with cannabis therapy. On your road to recovery, you will need to record personal data such as:
- What condition(s) you’re treating for
- The type of CBD oil you’re using (full spectrum/broad spectrum)
- The CBD and/or THC concentration levels (mg per bottle)
- The type of cannabis plant used to make the CBD oil (Sativa/Indica/hybrid)
- The carrier oil used in the CBD oil you’re using (MCT oil/olive oil/hemp seed oil)
- Your dosage amounts per administration (mg’s per drop/drops per administration/mg per administration)
- Your dosage frequency (i.e. once, twice, or thrice per day)
- What results you’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis (positive/negative)
- Spacing Out Time Between Drug Administrations – Spacing out the time between your drug’s administrations will prevent you from causing liver failure. Or, at a bare minimum, it will significantly reduce the risk of liver failure. Pro-cannabis doctors generally recommend giving your body 1 – 3 hours for drug metabolism to complete. Of course, the timing also depends on how fast your metabolism is. If your goal is to wean off Diazepam, then you’d be looking at starting with CBD oil first and then taking Diazepam if necessary. However, if your goal is to reduce the impact of your side effects then you’d be looking at starting with Diazepam first then CBD oil.
- Microdosing Your CBD Oil – Microdosing is the practice of taking a minimal amount of a given substance to achieve your desired results. With respect to CBD oil, people consume very small amounts throughout the day of full-spectrum CBD oil to achieve results such as reduced anxiety and reduced depression. Doses can be as low as 2 – 3 milligrams per serving with the average dose range being around 3 – 10 milligrams per serve. Microdosing enables you to experience the benefits of CBD without getting the ‘high’ from THC.
- Slowly Increase Your CBD Oil Dosage Over Time – In a practical setting, this means increasing your CBD oil dosage slightly every couple of days while paying close attention to the effects you experience. And, of course, record everything in your journal. For example, if you start feeling lethargic or dizzy after a dose increase, then you should reduce your dosage slightly to a point where you do not feel dizzy or lethargic anymore. Then you can stay at the reduced dosage level for a few days before attempting to increase your dose again.
- Find A Pro-Cannabis Medical Professional – Be it a doctor or a nurse, you’re always better off working with a professional. This strategy can be challenging as cannabis laws are still in a legal grey area in many parts of the world. However, thanks to the Internet, you now have access to doctors in pro-cannabis countries. Your only challenge is to find one who will consult with you via Zoom and provide guidance along your journey. If you’re tracking everything in your medical journal, this will make your doctor’s job a whole lot easier and I’m sure they’ll be happy to work with you.
What Are The Side Effects Of CBD Oil?
Seeing that we’ve looked at the side effect profile of Diazepam, it wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t do so for CBD oil. Thus, to answer this question, we need to look at the results of a 2017 clinical review journal and a 2020 meta-analysis systematic review. The results from these reviews will help you understand just how safe cannabis therapy is compared to Diazepam.
In the year 2020, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the adverse effects of CBD (cannabidiol) in patients with varying conditions. The researchers looked at randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials lasting longer than 7 days. They reviewed 12 clinical trials with a total of 803 participants to glean data from. The researchers found the following negative side effects:
- Somnolence (i.e. sleepiness or drowsiness)
- Abnormal liver function
The researchers pointed out that:
Associations with abnormal liver function tests, somnolence, sedation and pneumonia were limited to childhood epilepsy studies, where CBD may have interacted with other medications such as clobazam and/or sodium valproate.
When the researchers excluded the childhood epilepsy studies, they found that the only negative side effect associated with CBD treatment was diarrhea. The researchers concluded their analysis by stating that:
… the available data from clinical trials suggest that CBD is well tolerated and has relatively few serious adverse effects, however interactions with other medications should be monitored carefully.
In 2017, researchers set out to update results established in 2011 regarding the safety and side effects of CBD. The researcher’s focus in this review was on clinical studies and potential interactions CBD has with other drugs. The majority of the clinical studies reviewed in their update were for the treatment of epilepsy and psychotic disorders. In these studies, the most common negative side effects reported were:
- Appetite or weight fluctuations
The researchers stated that:
In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile. This could improve patients’ compliance and adherence to treatment.
The researchers concluded their review by stating that CBD’s safety profile is already established in a multitude of ways as being very favorable for patients. Thus, various areas of CBD research should be extended to close knowledge gaps and have a completely well-tested compound for mainstream use.
People are turning to CBD oil and cannabis therapy over prescription meds. However, it’s very risky to take CBD oil with Diazepam, especially at the same time. If you do take them at the same time, you’re likely to induce ‘competitive inhibition’ (the grapefruit effect), which can cause intensified or multiplied side effects and/or liver failure. However, you can take CBD oil with Diazepam provided you are strategic and careful.
Patients are using CBD oil to wean off drugs like Diazepam or to reduce the impact of its side effects. Hence, there should NOT be any doubt in your mind that you will be able to achieve positive results provided you are strategic and careful. Especially if you employ the strategies recommended in this article gleaned from pro-cannabis doctors online. Your only challenge now is finding a suitable CBD oil solution that will assist you in getting results.
- Bibi, Z. Role of cytochrome P450 in drug interactions. Nutr Metab (Lond) 5, 27 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-5-27
- Chesney, E., Oliver, D., Green, A. et al. Adverse effects of cannabidiol: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Neuropsychopharmacol. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41386-020-0667-2
- Iffland K, Grotenhermen F (2017) An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2:1, 139–154, DOI: 10.1089/can.2016.0034.