xanax versus cannabis for anxiety relief study

Cannabinoids May Relieve Anxiety Better Than Benzodiazepines

This study summary provides fact-based answers about CBD benefits for anxiety.

In a 2019 study, medical cannabis significantly reduced the use of Xanax in a population with chronic anxiety.

30.1% of patients prescribed Xanax and other benzodiazepines stopped taking them after 2 months of medical cannabis use.

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According to a 2019 study, 45.2% of patients taking benzodiazepines for anxiety discontinued use after startingg a regimen of medical cannabis to control their anxiety. #cbd tell a friend

Published September 23, 2019






Anxiety Relief Study 

  • After completing a 2-month course of medical cannabis, 30.1% of patients taking benzodiazepines discontinued their use.
  • This trend continued with a total of 44.5% of medical cannabis patients in the study discontinuing benzodiazepines after 4 months of prescribed medical cannabis use.
  • After six months of medical cannabis use, 45.2% of patients in the study had stopped using benzodiazepines.  (1)                                                                                                                                     



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Study Summary

  • Benzodiazepines are a group of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for treating anxiety.  They have a strong sedative effect and several adverse effects.
  • This medical cannabis study was a retrospective analysis of 146 patients.
  • Patients were already taking benzodiazepines prior to starting the course of medical cannabis.
  • The average age of study participants was 47 years.
  • 61% of participants were female.
  • 54% of the study participants had used cannabis prior to the study. (2)   



  • Interestingly, the distribution of cannabinoids in medical cannabis (CBD vs. THC) did not have a connection with patients who stopped using benzodiazepines.




  • Multiple studies have shown that THC may cause anxiety in some consumers while CBD has an anti-anxiety effect.
  • CBD has been shown to moderate anxiety-causing effects of THC when both CBD and THC are consumed together.
  • It is believed that the higher THC to CBD ratio of modern cannabis strains have led to anxiety-causing effects in some cannabis consumers. (3)


The study authors conclude that a large percentage of the study participants stopped using benzodiazepines such as Xanax in conjunction with starting a course of medical cannabis.  The authors urge further research into the medical benefits of cannabis.




How well does CBD work for anxiety? Find out the exact benefits of CBD for anxiety here.


cannabidiol guide to anxiety benefits based on latest medical studies recent to 2020


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 Video: She tried CBD for anxiety and depression for 1 year



Purcell C, Davis A, Moolman N, Taylor SM. Reduction of Benzodiazepine Use in Patients Prescribed Medical Cannabis. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2019;4(3):214‐218. Published 2019 Sep 23. doi:10.1089/can.2018.0020

Study Authors

S. Mark Taylor

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