CBD vs. Xanax - How They Compare

Anxiety comes in many different forms and levels of severity. For some, it comes in sudden panic attacks that grip their body,  causing tension and hurried breathing. For others, it’s a more subtle but persistent train of thought about scenarios outside of their control. 

Anxiety happens to all of us for varying reasons, some medical and some circumstantial. If it happens regularly and is a consistent disruption to your daily life, the best advice we could provide is to talk with a therapist or trained medical professional who can collaborate with you to put together a plan of action, as well as assist with any related diagnoses. 

While lifestyle changes like increased exercise and meditation have minimal downsides, other tools at your disposal each offer their own pros and cons. More importantly, what works for one person may be ineffective or too potent for another, so it’s paramount to understand the specifics of all your options. 

This leads to a common question—whether CBD versus Xanex is better for anxiety. Both are wildly popular for very different reasons. The short answer is that whether CBD or Xanex is a better choice for handling your mental and emotional well-being depends on the source and severity of your anxiety. While we will explore each option below, we do not advise ignoring doctors' advice or seeking Xanax without a prescription.

Understanding Key Differences Between CBD & Xanax 

There are significant benefits to using a natural approach and avoiding prescription medication. However, there is also a time and place when you may need something stronger than what CBD can offer. 

An Introduction to CBD For Anxiety

The most common method for taking CBD to treat anxiety is sublingual use, where CBD is placed underneath the tongue and held for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. With one of the highest bioavailability percentages compared to other CBD applications, this method allows CBD molecules to enter directly into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in your mouth. Offering almost immediate results that can last up to 4 hours, sublingual CBD use is a safe and natural option for anxiety issues. 

An Introduction to Xanax For Anxiety

Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for treating anxiety and panic disorders in the United States. It belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines that provide calming effects on the brain and nervous system. During an anxiety attack or a period of excessive stress, the brain produces an unbalanced number of chemical signals, increasing brain activity, feelings of fear and anxiety, and restricting the ability to calm the mind. Xanax enhances the effects of GABA in your brain, helping to regulate the chemical signals in your brain, resulting in feelings of calmness. 

The Pros and Cons of Handling Anxiety Using CBD

It’s estimated that over 50% of U.S. adults who use CBD do so to help cope with anxiety. 

When CBD is ingested, it interacts with cannabinoid and serotonin receptors in the body, both calming existing anxiety or helping to prevent new bouts. 

So how does it work? The endocannabinoid system, which includes receptors throughout your body, is a neural network that modulates cognitive and physiological functions. When the endocannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system bind with the components in CBD, your body naturally experiences a decrease in stressful and anxious feelings. 

There are many positive aspects to using CBD instead of Xanax to treat anxiety. Primarily, it is effective without any side effects. Additional advantages of CBD over Xanax:

  • It is nearly impossible to abuse
  • Can be used on and off
  • Easy to obtain

The cons are that if someone is struggling with severe anxiety, CBD is not as fast-acting and powerful as a prescription medication. CBD is best for handling day-to-day stress or using it as needed for mild anxiety.

The Pros and Cons of Handling Anxiety Using Xanax

During an anxiety attack or a period of excessive stress, the brain produces an unbalanced number of chemical signals, causing an increase in brain activity, feelings of stress, anxiety, and restricting your ability to calm your mind. Xanax influences several cell receptors in the central nervous system, including BNZ-1, BNZ-2, and GABA-A receptors to provide fast relief. It helps to understand the specifics briefly, so here you go: BNZ-1 receptors have a sedative, anti-anxiety effect. BNZ-2 receptors influence muscle relaxation and affect memory, as well as coordination. GABA-A receptors are associated with the neurotransmitter GABA, which inhibits excitation in the central nervous system, helping to alleviate anxiety. 

Xanax generally causes some sense of relief almost immediately but takes one to two hours to reach peak levels in the bloodstream. How quickly someone is affected by this medication is also impacted by age, weight, liver function, metabolism, and various other factors. The pros of Xanax include its powerful nature, with its fast-acting ability to reduce anxiety. 

On the flip side, Xanax is only meant to be used for a short-term period. It is not a medication for ongoing anxiety struggles due to the risk of addiction and side effects. Because Xanax is only intended for short-term treatment, it is important to pursue other treatment options for long-term anxiety struggles. 

There are many negative side effects associated with taking Xanax. These include depression, drowsiness, memory problems, dizziness, slurred speech, constipation, dry mouth, and irritability. Other cons include that it requires a doctor’s prescription and a “weening off” period if used for a longer period of time. For an acute and serious situation, Xanax can be very helpful. However, it’s safe to say that for ongoing anxiety issues, giving CBD a try could be a game changer. 

Can you take CBD and Xanax together?

It is not suggested to combine the use of CBD and Xanax. Although CBD is very safe, it can potentially exacerbate possible side-effects of Xanax. The risk of overdosing on Xanax can increase with CBD use, so it’s better to err on the side of caution and not mix the two. 

Extreme caution must be taken while using Xanax. The risk of overdosing on Xanax is significantly increased when combined with any other drugs that suppress the central nervous system, such as opioids or alcohol. Unlike CBD, which is safe even at very high doses, an overdose of Xanax can cause seizures, coma, and even death. It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about your specific wellness needs and create a plan of action before combing CBD with any prescription medication. 

Help Alleviate Anxiety With CBD From Botanika Life 

Botanika Life delivers our Elite Elixir and CBD Sleep Spray, both which can be ingested to help place you in a relaxed state of mind. The former contains 1,500mg of full-spectrum CBD (the most powerful option available). The latter combines CBD with melatonin, GABA, and magnesium, all ingredients celebrated for their soothing effects and assistance with sleep. 

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All Botaika Life products are made with organically-grown plants, meaning there is no risk of introducing pesticides, GMOs, and other harmful chemicals into your body. Best yet, we back such claims with third-party testing and proudly publish the results for all to see.  


By Emily Wegener

With a unique background as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Masters Degree in Teaching and experience in Psychology, Emily spends much of her time researching and trying out new holistic healing modalities.