In 2011, I was in a very bad place. My OCD was severe and debilitating. I was having breakdowns on an almost daily basis, so overwhelmed with anxiety I could barely function.
I was prescribed clonazepam, which belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It’s powerful stuff, but desperate times call for drastic measures, and it was helpful in reducing the intensity of my panic attacks.
Last month, after more than a decade, I made the decision to stop taking it. Clonazepam is addictive so I knew the process of weaning off it would suck harder than a black hole, but after talking it over with my psychiatrist, I finally felt like I was in a stable enough condition to try.
At the same time, at the suggestion of a close friend, I had started looking into CBD oil. I’d heard many good things about its efficacy in treating anxiety, and that it had fewer side effects than the medication I’m on, which among other things make it very difficult for me to stay in my healthy weight range. (Which is a big deal to me as I have a family history of cardiovascular disease, with both my dad and his dad dying prematurely from it, and health concerns are the primary source of my anxiety)
With a medication like clonazepam, quitting cold turkey is a very bad idea, so instead, following the advice of my psychiatrist, I’m gradually reducing my dose over the span of 8 weeks.
I knew it wouldn’t be fun, but I underestimated just how rough it would be. My withdrawal symptoms run the gamut from shaky hands that make it difficult to type or use a mouse properly as I write this, blurry vision, headache, fatigue, sore muscles, and at first, a tsunami of anxiety.
I say at first, because roughly a week after I started tapering off my clonazepam, I started taking CBD oil.
I’ve been on a ton of different medications in my life. Some helped, others were about as useful as a concrete parachute. Of all the ones I have tried though, none have been as effective in reducing anxiety as CBD oil.
Almost immediately after I started taking it, the rising tide of anxiety began to recede. The unwelcome thoughts themselves were still there, but the visceral physical reaction they usually cause (hot and cold flushes, tight and painful chest, racing heart and brain, nausea) was virtually eliminated. It also doesn’t seem to have caused me any negative effects.
I should note that I am not doctor and have no medical qualifications, but in terms of how much it has helped me, I hold CBD oil in the highest regard. If you’re interested in it, I would definitely recommend going through the proper channels; it can interact with some medications so it’s best to get assessed by a professional.
I got my assessment and oil from an organization called Releaf, (please note, this article is not endorsed, approved, or associated with them, and purely my own opinion) but there are others out there as well and I was surprised at how smooth and painless the process of obtaining it was. If you too suffer from anxiety, I would say it is absolutely worth looking into.
One potential barrier is that it can be expensive, but on the plus side, one bottle lasts a long time, at least at the dosage I am on. Another potential complication is that, in Australia, you are not allowed to drive with any amount of THC in your system. Some CBD products contain THC and some do not, so it will depend on what you’re using and it’s definitely an important factor to consider.
Over the last few weeks, a lot of people have asked me about CBD, so I decided to write down and share my experience. It has been an absolute lifesaver in terms of helping me quit clonazepam; I honestly don’t know how I would’ve handled 8+ weeks of how I felt at first.
If you have any further questions about it that I can answer, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I will help as much as I can.
In a week’s time, I will take what will hopefully be my final clonazepam tablet. It hasn’t been easy withdrawing from it, but I look forward to a new chapter of my life in which I no longer need it.