What Happens When You Take Klonopin and Weed?

weed and klonopin
By Halla Mannering Updated March 8th

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

Klonopin is a multi-purpose drug that’s classified as a benzodiazepine. Klonopin should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor who can inform you about how to use it safely. There are a variety of reasons why individuals take Klonopin, including seizure relief and anxiety support. 

If you’re currently taking Klonopin, you may wonder if it can safely be combined with cannabis. While you should always speak with your doctor before combining substances, this article will provide some important information about how Klonopin and cannabis may interact.

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What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is recommended for a variety of conditions. In 2020, there were estimated to be over 14.7 million prescriptions for Klonopin in the US.

It works by impacting neurotransmitters in the brain. While seizures are one of the most common conditions treated with Klonopin, individuals also take it to help with panic disorder and other diagnoses. 

Klonopin (and Rivotril) is a brand name for the generic drug clonazepam, a benzodiazepine regularly used to treat epilepsy, anxiety, and panic attacks. It’s important to note that Klonopin can be addictive, and taking too much can result in an overdose. Because of this, Klonopin should only be taken under the direct supervision of a doctor.

In most cases, Klonopin is only recommended for short-term use. Taking the medication for extended periods could result in addiction, so it’s essential to speak with your prescriber about your treatment plan and when you should stop taking the medication.

Klonopin interacts with GABA-A receptors in the brain, which leads to a decrease in the activation of neurons and produces a sedative effect. 

Cannabis also interacts with GABA receptors, which may be why there are similarities between its effects and Klonopin’s.

Possible side effects of Klonopin include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Saliva production
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain
  • Decreased coordination

The side effects someone experiences can depend on the dosage and their metabolism. Likewise, an individual’s dosage and metabolism can also impact how they respond to cannabis. The similar ways in which the two substances affect the body has raised questions among many consumers and medical practitioners about how Klonopin and cannabis may interact.

Klonopin and Weed Interaction

The research regarding how Klonopin and cannabis interact is limited. But because the two substances have similar effects on the body, it isn’t always recommended to mix the two. Before considering taking Klonopin and weed simultaneously, consult with your doctor about your medical needs, goals, and dosages. 

Many patients who combine these two medications notice magnified side effects. For example, cannabis often makes people feel more relaxed and drowsy, and may help reduce anxiety. Klonopin can exert these same effects, but usually at a much higher level. Individuals on either of these substances may experience slowed response times.

Both of these substances impact the central nervous system,1 which is one of the reasons why they have similar side effects. However, because their effects can be magnified when combined, it can be risky to combine these two medications in large amounts.

Another reason weed can increase the effects of Klonopin has to do with the body’s metabolism. When consumed as an edible, cannabis has the ability to interact with certain liver enzymes, which can cause the body to break down Klonopin at a slower rate. This can result in more prominent effects (including more prominent side effects).

Because of the overdose possibilities of Klonopin, many people choose not to combine it with other substances and only take small amounts. If you’re unsure how your body will respond to either Klonopin or cannabis, speak with your doctor about your treatment options. 

Cannabis has shown promise in helping individuals end benzodiazepine use.2 If you’re concerned about your use of Klonopin, consider speaking with your doctor about medical marijuana as an alternative treatment.

Possible side effects of combining Klonopin and cannabis include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Confusion
  • Lowered motor coordination

Is there a Benefit to Taking Klonopin with Weed?

Depending on the dosage size and how long a patient has taken Klonopin, withdrawal from the drug can pose some serious health concerns, such as seizures and suicidal thoughts. It’s possible that cannabis could help with some withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches and nausea. While this can be the case, it’s important to speak with a doctor about your options before starting or stopping any prescription medication.

Different patients can have different reactions to cannabis or Klonopin. So while many consumers may avoid taking the two at the same time, there are reasons people may choose to mix the two medications.

Cannabis typically enhances the effects of Klonopin. For example, it’s possible that combining Klonopin and a low dose of weed could provide greater anxiety relief, as both of these substances can provide that on their own. However, this result isn’t guaranteed for all consumers. If you’re in need of further relief after taking Klonopin, speak with your doctor before adding cannabis to your treatment regimen. Mixing the two without medical supervision may result in severe adverse side effects.

By increasing some effects of Klonopin, cannabis may also lower the amount of the medication needed for some users. If you want to take steps to reduce the risk of addiction or the possibility of developing a tolerance to Klonopin, speak with your doctor about steps you can take and whether cannabis can help. 

What are the Risks of Taking Klonopin and Weed?

marijuana doctor

While there are potential benefits from consuming cannabis and Klonopin, there are also potentially serious risks that consumers should be aware of. Combining cannabis and Klonopin can magnify unwanted effects, like drowsiness and decreased coordination, as well as desired effects, like anxiety relief. 

Both medications can lower a user’s inhibitions and awareness, making it essential that patients avoid driving and other risky behaviors while under the influence.

While there aren’t cases of fatal overdoses from cannabis alone, there have been documented Klonopin overdoses. Because of the overdose potential, it’s essential to use Klonopin as instructed by a medical professional to ensure your safety.

What About CBD and Klonopin?

CBD had demonstrated a variety of potential benefits in early studies, including helping with anxiety and reducing depression. 

Although CBD will not provide the intoxicating effects that THC does, it still can induce many other similar therapeutic effects. And because of how cannabinoids are processed in the body, CBD may also affect how efficiently the body processes Klonopin. 

Interestingly, the same compounds that metabolize CBD are the ones that metabolize Klonopin.3 This means that Klonopin can stay in your system longer, as CBD “competes” to be metabolized. This may be why some patients report more noticeable effects from Klonopin after taking CBD.

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Safety Tips When Using Klonopin and THC or CBD

Learning about the effects of both Klonopin and weed can help you understand the potential benefits and risks if you take them together.

It’s always a good idea to let someone know if you will be using a substance that affects your motor or cognitive ability. Sending a friend or family member a message to check in on you later can offer you peace of mind.

If you are planning on using cannabis to help with Klonopin withdrawal symptoms, it’s essential to speak with your doctor first. Klonopin withdrawal can present certain health risks that both you and your doctor should discuss before changing your current medications.

References

1  Griffin CE 3rd, Kaye AM, Bueno FR, Kaye AD. Benzodiazepine pharmacology and central nervous system-mediated effects. Ochsner J. 2013 Summer;13(2):214-23. PMID: 23789008; PMCID: PMC3684331.

2 Purcell C, Davis A, Moolman N, Taylor SM. Reduction of Benzodiazepine Use in Patients Prescribed Medical Cannabis. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2019 Sep 23;4(3):214-218. doi: 10.1089/can.2018.0020. PMID: 31559336; PMCID: PMC6757237.

3  Balachandran P, Elsohly M, Hill KP. Cannabidiol Interactions with Medications, Illicit Substances, and Alcohol: a Comprehensive Review. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Jul;36(7):2074-2084. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06504-8. Epub 2021 Jan 29. PMID: 33515191; PMCID: PMC8298645.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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