How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Sedative/Depressant Abuse | MedCard

How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Sedative/Depressant Abuse

Over the years, medical marijuana is gradually becoming a substitute for anxiety disorder drugs like benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Librium, Valium and Ativan. It is apparent that benzodiazepines are a large class of drugs that maintain similarities with one another concerning their mechanism of action in the central nervous system. Even though benzodiazepines differ in terms of potency and duration of effects, they also have a sedative effect and work by occupying GABA-A receptors within the brain. This goes a long way to culminate in a neuron, thereby becoming negatively charged and therefore, resistant to excitation, which in turn brings about the anti-anxiety effects of the drug.

Depressants, often referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers, are substances that slow down or depress activities in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). Thus, these substances are often prescribed by doctors for the treatment of conditions such as depression and anxiety as well as sleep disorders. Even though these medications should be prescribed by the doctor, so many people have resolved to consume them illegally in a bid to get high. Depressant or sedative abuse, therefore refers to a situation where prescription medications against depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders are misused, either by taking them without a prescription to get high or by combining them with other stimulants, opioids, and even alcohol.

It should be noted that the three main categories of depressants include barbiturates, such as Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, and phenobarbital. Benzodiazepines like Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Valium, Xanax, and Rohypnol. Non-benzodiazepines and sleep medications like zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and zalepon (Sonata). That said, some of the common symptoms of depressant abuse include fatigue, disorientation, shallow breathing, slurred speech, lack of coordination as well as seizure during withdrawal from chronic use.

There is also a link between the consumption of medical marijuana and the treatment of sedative or depressant abuse. It has been revealed scientifically that marijuana contains two major compounds (THC and CBD) that are linked to the treatment of depression. A 2016 study by a Neuropharmacology revealed that CBD prompts antidepressant-like effects with instantaneous results. Meanwhile, findings from another study demonstrated a good interaction between CBD and receptors in the brain of humans. The findings from these studies therefore suggest that medical marijuana could be an alternative for sedatives as well as anti-depressants like Valium, alprazolam/Xanax, lorazepam etc. It is also imperative to note that most of these sedatives and anti-depressants bring about adverse side effects, whereas the same cannot be said about medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has been proven over the years to have milder side effects which can easily be contained.

Similarly, medical marijuana has also been proven to be useful in treating sleep medication abuse or dependency. It can therefore be argued that medical marijuana is also a great substitute to sleep medications like zolpidem, eszopiclone and Barbiturates. Sleep disorders refers to problems with timing, quality as well as amount of sleep, which often results in problems in functioning and distress during the daytime. There are many types of sleep disorders, including insomnia, narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, etc. 

Nevertheless, insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are often linked with both physical and emotional problems. Moreover, sleep problems can as well contribute to or exacerbate mental health conditions and also be a symptom of other mental health conditions. Some of the common medications that are often used in treating sleep disorders include zolpidem/ambien, eszopiclone/lunesta) – (Rohypnol) – (Barbiturates).

The downside of these sleep disorder medications is the fact many people always turn to abuse. Even though there is not yet enough substantial research about medical marijuana and sleep medication dependency, it has been reported that sleep medications results in many problems such as increase risk of fall, urinary retention in men, birth defects, paranoid ideation as well as vision problems etc. On the other hand, medical marijuana has been proven to be an alternative safe medication for sleep disorders. With that being said, more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating sleep medication abuse.


Newport Academy
American Psychiatric Association
Inhale MD

Marijuana strains reported to help with Sedative/Depressant Abuse:


How To Get Medical Marijuana


To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

Medcard Banner
Scroll to Top