CBD and Ativan explained. Ativan is the brand name for a widely prescribed sedative used to treat symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures. The Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid, can interact with the anxiolytic and sedative benzodiazepine lorazepam (Ativan) and aggravate its effects.
CBD and Ativan
CBD and Ativan explained. Ativan is the brand name for a widely prescribed sedative used to treat symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures. The generic name for Ativan is lorazepam.
Many people with anxiety know that prescription medications can be a challenge to navigate. They often involve trial and error and can be frustrating to get correct. It becomes essential to ensure that the drug will work before it is needed, for example, during an anxiety attack or seizure.
If you are considering using CBD for any condition, be sure to do your homework before purchasing. You can find an array of products on Amazon and other websites, but it may be hard to make a decision.
Check out my review of the Best All-Purpose CBD Gummies you can find on the internet, including many Amazon products.
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Should You Mix CBD and Ativan?
Patients using Ativan have begun to look at CBD as a possible supplement in hopes that the additional benefits CBD will strengthen the treatment for their conditions.
As with any treatment, discovering the proper balance and possible dangers of mixing substances is a critical step in finding relief. A more in-depth look at the way both Ativan and CBD work, and what side effects they can cause, is helpful to determine if the addition of CBD oil can interact with Ativan in beneficial or harmful ways.
Consult your doctor before deciding to use CBD with Ativan.
What Do CBD and Ativan Users Say
Patients using both Ativan and CBD have weighed in on what benefits and or adverse effects they’ve noticed. Here are some of their observations:
- One long-time anxiety sufferer was experiencing breakthrough anxiety while withdrawing from a pain medication called tramadol. She reported that her long-term anxiety was controlled with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram after having tried and failed Ativan in the past. She noted that while CBD did not have long-lasting effects, it did help calm and prevent anxiety attacks that occurred while withdrawing from tramadol. You can learn more about their experience here.
- Another patient with a history of anxiety has reported using Ativan for sleep and a low dosage of CBD during the day. Comments on this patient’s observation agreed thattaking CBD and Ativan separately throughout the day, with Ativan as a sleep aid, has been effective. You read about their experience here.
- Other users said that CBD does not always treat panic attacks as well as Benzodiazepines, however by altering the dosage of CBD, it is possible to find an amount that works well with less fear of addiction. You can learn about their experiences here.
Cannabidiol and Ativan Withdrawal
Many people taking Ativan report becoming addicted to the drug or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing use. For some, CBD may be an option to assist in the withdrawal process.
Some may eventually be able to lower their doses or can use CBD to assist with symptoms of withdrawal. However, one should always speak with their doctor before attempting to withdraw from benzodiazepines like Ativan. Discontinuing the drug too quickly can result in harmful side effects like anxiety, tremors, nausea, and seizures.
Cannabidiol and Ativan for Sleep
When used as a sleep aid, CBD may work well with Ativan to help users fall asleep. However, current observations of symptoms would suggest that mixing CBD and Ativan for daytime use could have harmful side effects, especially when driving or operating machinery.
CBD oil is available as a prescription medication called Epidiolex, and according to the package insert, CBD oil probably enhances the CNS depressive effects of lorazepam, causing possible impairment, sedation, and slowed thinking.
What Do The Studies Show
The newly approved medications, Epidiolex and Sativex are prescription CBD oil products. For a long time, there were few high-quality studies to confirm the possible drug interactions between CBD and lorazepam. However, studies conducted during the approval processes have confirmed that CBD oil and Ativan can interact. Together they typically cause added sedation and sleepiness, which can be more pronounced and more dangerous for older adults. Learn more here.
CBD can increase sedative effects when combined with Ativan. These side effects include:
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of coordination
- Memory impairment
Concerns for Ativan Users
Because each of us has a different chemical makeup, no medication works precisely the same in every patient. Some Ativan users have experienced significant adverse side effects while using the medicine. When looking at CBD as a possible enhancement to Ativan, it may worsen some of the following side effects already caused by Ativan:
- Blurred Vision
- Impaired Judgement
- Lack of Concentration
- Loss of Coordination
- Memory Loss
Ativan can also be moderately dangerous when mixed with alcohol and causes more severe side effects in the elderly.
How They Work Chemically
Ativan is in the Benzodiazepine class. This classification includes medications that work with the central nervous system to create a calming effect. Ativan enhances a natural chemical in the brain known as GABA. This interaction acts as a sedative to dull triggers that can set off sensations like anxiety and panic.
CBD and Brain Chemistry
CBD has been studied to treat similar symptoms but functions differently in the brain than benzodiazepines like Ativan. CBD impacts the brain via the endocannabinoid system, but it is not well understood why this exhibits anti-anxiety effects. Though the exact chemical functions of CBD and Ativan are different, when used at correct dosages, they can have similar outcomes in some people.
Apart from anxiety treatment, both Ativan and CBD have been used as a treatment for seizures. It is unclear if the medications can be used together for the treatment of certain types of seizure disorders.
The Verdict (So Far)
CBD may be useful as a supplement to Ativan when utilized correctly but may amplify side effects like sleepiness, dizziness, and cognitive impairment. In certain situations and certain people, these side effects can be dangerous.
It is crucial to speak with a medical professional before taking these medications together. They may advise you to slowly titrate one or the other to gauge the additive effects. CBD may be added only at certain times as like bedtime. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan and medication.
Our bodies process medications differently, and a medical professional can will be able to inform you of adverse effects. Express your interest in CBD products to your doctor or pharmacist and ask them to assist you in finding a dosage that will be most beneficial to you.
What Can CBD Offer With Ativan
CBD can offer similar benefits as Ativan to patients suffering from anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures, but results vary based on the individual. As further information is gathered, CBD and Ativan users have found ways of balancing the substances with trial and error- many finding favorable and non-harmful results. Once again, it is important to discuss your treatment with your doctor or pharmacist before making these changes.
Does CBD Interact With Lorazepam (Ativan)?
Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid, can interact with the anxiolytic and sedative benzodiazepine lorazepam (Ativan) and aggravate its effects.
Lorazepam (Ativan) is a medication used to treat anxiety, sleeping disorder, seizures, and panic disorder. It belongs to the benzodiazepine family. It is a short-acting benzodiazepine.
Cannabidiol or CBD, a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis family, can interact with lorazepam and enhance its actions.
CBD acts as an agonist for lorazepam. It can increase its amount in the body and cause more side effects.
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Does CBD Interact With Lorazepam (Ativan)?
Yes. CBD can interact with lorazepam (Ativan). This combination is considered high-risk and should be avoided unless otherwise specified by a healthcare professional.
CBD may potentiate the effects of Ativan by reducing the body’s ability to metabolize the drug and increasing the risk of side effects such as sedation, dizziness, & short-term memory loss, and more.
Its interaction with lorazepam can take place in two ways:
A) Slowed Elimination (Metabolic Inhibition)
Drug metabolism is the process by which the drugs break down in the body to make it easy for them to perform their actions and to eliminate them from the body.
This task largely comes down to the cytochrome P450 enzymes found in the liver.
When two drugs require the same enzymes for metabolism, it results in a type of interaction called “metabolic inhibition” or “metabolic competition.” This action could slow down the metabolism of one or both drugs.
Lorazepam (Ativan) is primarily metabolized by CYP3A4. This same enzyme group is involved with metabolizing CBD as well. Hence, on consuming them together, they end up competing with each other for the breakdown in the liver. This action may enhance the plasma levels of lorazepam.
This effect is most dangerous in patients taking either CBD, Ativan, or both substances on a recurring basis. If Ativan isn’t cleared from the body by the time you take a second dose (because of delayed elimination from CBD), it could eventually lead to a buildup of toxic levels in the bloodstream — resulting in side effects.
B) Increased Effect (Agonistic Interaction)
An agonistic interaction occurs when two or more substances exhibit the same effect on the body. These substances might act on the same or different receptors, but they produce effects in the same direction when consumed together.
Because CBD and lorazepam are both central nervous system suppressants, their effects may compound. This interaction carries the greatest risk of producing adverse effects.
Taking both CBD and lorazepam could result in a higher risk of side effects associated with central nervous system suppression, including dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, short-term memory loss, and more.
Similar Medications: CBD & Benzodiazepines
Lorazepam is classified as a benzodiazepine anxiolytic. CBD and benzodiazepines all share similar risks for interaction and side effects. All drugs in this class are considered to have a moderate to high-risk interaction with CBD and other cannabinoids.
Here’s a list of similar medications that share a similar level of risk when combined with CBD:
Is It Safe to Take CBD & Lorazepam (Ativan) Together?
No. It is not considered safe to take CBD alongside benzodiazepines such as Ativan (lorazepam). The risk of serious side effects is high with this class of medications.
CBD may potentiate (increase) the effects of lorazepam in the body. It can also lead to excessive accumulation of the drug by slowing its metabolism and elimination from the body.
CBD is considered to carry a high risk of interaction with lorazepam.
If both the drugs are taken in minimum dosage, it is less likely to cause many side effects.
It’s recommended to consume these two medicines together only under medical guidance. One must exercise caution when taking them together.
Is CBD A Viable Alternative to Lorazepam (Ativan)?
CBD may be a viable alternative to lorazepam (Ativan) for managing mild to moderate bouts of anxiety, insomnia, or muscle tension. However, CBD is much milder than Ativan and may not be strong enough for certain situations.
A study has shown that CBD may be effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) .
CBD has also been shown to be effective as an adjunctive treatment for seizures . It’s even gained approval for use in seizures caused by two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
CBD has enough potential to become a proper anxiolytic sedative and may even replace benzodiazepines like lorazepam someday.
However, with the current available research and study, it’s not completely sufficient as a replacement for lorazepam for anything more than mild to moderate symptoms.
What is Lorazepam (Ativan)?
Lorazepam is an anxiolytic, sedative, and anti-seizure drug belonging to the benzodiazepine family. It’s used to treat panic disorders, severe anxiety, and seizures, including ones such as status epilepticus and a short-acting benzodiazepine, and gets and rapidly cleared in the body.
Ativan is the most common brand name for lorazepam, but there are many generic forms as well. It’s a prescription medicine approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety disorders and seizures.
Lorazepam (Ativan) Specs:
|Trade Names||Ativan, Tavor, Temesta, Khamos, Larpose, Lopam, Lopez, Lorazine, Loree, Lorel, Lorus, Orazep, Trapex, Zora|
|CYP Metabolism||Cytochrome P450 enzymes|
|Interaction With CBD||Agonistic, Metabolic inhibitor|
|Risk of Interaction||High|
Other Names For Lorazepam (Ativan)
Lorazepam is sold under many different names. All share the same risk and potential interactions.
Other names for Lorazepam (Ativan) include:
What Does Lorazepam (Ativan) Do?
Lorazepam is classified as a benzodiazepine drug. It’s used to treat various neurological disorders, including seizure disorders (such as status epilepticus and alcohol withdrawal), anxiety, panic disorders, muscle tension, and insomnia.
Lorazepam works by binding to the benzodiazepine (GABA) receptors, which are responsible for suppressing or relaxing electrical activity in the brain. When this happens, we feel more calm and relaxed, anxiety levels subside, and we’re much more primed for falling asleep.
GABA causes chloride ions to pass across neuronal cell membranes via an ion channel in the receptors. When enough chloride ions are conducted, the local neuron membrane potentials increase. This effect makes it difficult for action potentials to fire and thus ultimately results in less excitation of the neurons.
Benzodiazepines do not replace GABA and do not affect GABA concentrations in the brain. However, they enhance the effect of GABA at the γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor. Benzodiazepines can intensify the inhibitory activity of GABA in the central nervous system.
Side Effects of Lorazepam (Ativan)
There are many negative side effects associated with Ativan. Everybody is different, so it’s important to listen to your body and follow the dosage recommendations given to you by your doctor.
One of the main issues associated with this drug is dependency and addiction following long-term use. Because of its dependency-forming ability, lorazepam, like other benzodiazepines, is used as a first-line treatment for seizures but not for long-term treatment.
Lorazepam has also been associated with drug abuse and misuse.
Simultaneous use of benzodiazepines may result in heavy sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. These drugs are not suggested for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are available.
Lorazepam can also cause withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly. The withdrawal symptoms consist of increased anxiety, irritability, insomnia, tremors, headaches, stomach pain, nausea, hallucinations, fatigue, depression, and more.
Lorazepam must be used with caution in patients with depression or psychosis as it can lead to an increased risk of suicidal ideation.
Side Effects of Lorazepam Include:
- Blood dyscrasias
- Change in appetite
- Change in libido
- Drowsiness & fatigue
- Extrapyramidal symptoms
- Hypersensitivity reactions
- Increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Increased bilirubin
- Increased liver transaminases
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of memory
- Movement disorder
- Respiratory depression
- Sleep apnea
- Suicidal ideation
- Unsteadiness & vertigo
- Visual disturbances
Key Takeaways: Is it Safe to Take Lorazepam (Ativan) With CBD?
CBD may reduce the body’s ability to metabolize lorazepam, leading to a longer duration of effects and a potential increase in serum levels over the course of several days or weeks.
Don’t attempt to combine CBD with Ativan without first speaking to your prescribing physician.
To further reduce the risk of side effects, it’s best to take only the minimum dosage of both medications with proper spacing in timing between them both (at least 2 hours apart).