Tapering off clonazepam (Klonopin, Rivotril)

Posted by mmussak @mmussak, Dec 19, 2018

Hi my name is Mary and I am a first time user of ever using a discussion blog online but have felt in my heart I need some advice and help with an issue I am having. My dr I have seen for many years moved out of state and referred me to another phychiatrist within his office. At the time of his moving away he had me weaning off clorazapam slowly and doing it as slow to not make it not so difficult as you all know , and I was doing well at it until I was having extreme chest pain and they put me in the hospital for 2 days to check to make sure it wasn’t my heart, with all this happening I knew it was the weaning off the meds that was causing it so i went back up in dosage and it all went away again, and I was almost off it…My old dr started me on this med 27 years ago and I had no idea what it was but my body anxiety was shutting down my body and it helped it all go away so i didnt question it, well not until I went to school for nursing did I find out what it was all about. He put me on .5 mg three times a day and that stayed that way for 27 years not knowing what It does later in years, so I asked my dr to help me with the weaning off it, so our weaning process was as follows: Take .5 in a.m. ,25 afternoon and ,5 evening dose for 2 weeks then cut morning dose to .25 afternoon to .25 and evening .5 for 2 weeks then finally .25 three times a day for 6 weeks and then starting the last of the wean at this point the same as we did the first .25 till i was off. My new dr went from .50 3 times daily to .25 two times a day starting right away to get off it, that is over 1.0 mg a day off it all in one day and forward , I am already sad and crying because I dont know what to do, I have been there and I know how hard it was just to get off the way my old dr did slowly…..anyone out there that can help me with what to do I am so scared and I don’t think she knows how extremely hard it is to get off this stupid stuff or that I really do want to do it, but please make it as painless as possible if there is such a thing with these meds. At 56 I didnt think I would have to go through menapause and this hell(sorry about the word but so true) all at once…at times I think it would be easier to just get cancer or something and die. Sorry but its true if you have been there you will understand. PLease help me!!!

Liked by Leonard, falon

@mmussak

Ty for asking….actually my appt went really well I just explained some things to her and we compromised and I will be going down to just two a day instead of three and we will leave it there….I dont take it for sleep…I have no problem sleeping usually but when my anxiety gets so high my body starts to shut down…this last time she had me try and wean off I was In Hospital for 2 days for my heart and severe chest pain and could not digest my food…she put me back to regular dose I have taken for 27 years and everything went away….I have never gone up on my dose it has stayed the same for all those years…

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@mmussak I'm so glad the doctor worked with you… I'm a believer in "if it ain't broke don't fix it! "

Liked by mmussak

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What kind of doctor are you seeing? With all due respect, general practitioners likely are not as aware of the issues as psychiatrists, who make their living dealing with these medications. No good reason to be this miserable. I'm transitioning from one anti-depressant to another and increasing the dose of clonazepam to counter some side effects, all done under the guidance of a very understanding psychiatrist. I hope the same for you.

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@sandytoes14

@elwooodsdad I'm very curious to hear how your appointment with the Doctor went on the 10th? Lack of sleep creates a monster in me after a week. I'm not on Klonopin or Prozac because of the opioids I take. I take Trazodone but often don't sleep. Such is life!

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I have the blessing of the psychiatrist to bump the clonazepam to 4mg daily to deal with the insomnia. I started yesterday spacing them out over the afternoon and evening vs. all at once. Still slept, but awoke with a much clearer head. One day at a time…

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@elwooodsdad

What kind of doctor are you seeing? With all due respect, general practitioners likely are not as aware of the issues as psychiatrists, who make their living dealing with these medications. No good reason to be this miserable. I'm transitioning from one anti-depressant to another and increasing the dose of clonazepam to counter some side effects, all done under the guidance of a very understanding psychiatrist. I hope the same for you.

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I have NEVER seen a general practitioner for my meds….always a psychiatrist from start but just recently had to change to a new one and she had no idea about my past…the the one I saw for 8 years and previous to that day same one for 20 years…this new one just is no where near the intelligence of past 2…very frustrating for she is one that wants what she thinks is right now what works for me!!

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@2bzyboys

I have been on Effexor 150mg for anxiety for about 16 years and Klonopin (.5 – .75 mg) for sleep for about the same amount of time. I have stuck with .5 for last month, adding 6 mg of Melatonin about 4/week. My psychiatrist has recommended tapering klonopin by adding more melatonin (he recommended 10 mg of melatonin) I want to get off klonopin as I have a history of a minor stroke at 47 with no known cuase and have a family history of dementia.

Anyone else using klonopin for sleep or using melatonin to assist with tapering?

I am 53 now. Tend to get panicky with insomnia due to 4 year battle with it post partum (pre-klonopin)

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Hi, I am tapering and using Melatonin and CBD oil ( Elixinol brand). I was prescribed Klonopin 12 years ago after I started having panic/anxiety attacks after improper treatment for c-dif colitis, which left me with 2 ulcers and a hiatal hernia. Also I was involved in a terrible car accident, not physical injuries from that but the accident played havoc with the anxiety I was already dealing with. Anyway I was tapering quite slowly and it was going ok but I was having issues w sleep. I read ashwaganda would help with withdrawal and it did, but still sleep was not good. I added 150 mg valerian root and 200mg Passion flower. Very low doses and tapered completely off the Klonopin . However I abruptly stopped the the other supplements and within 24 hour I was in major withdrawal. I didn’t know that the supplements were actually acting as a benzo. My dr told me to reinstate the Klonopin, which I slowly did trying to find a tolerance level. My dr wanted me to take .5 mg 3x daily, which was double my original dose I had taken for 12 years. I more I increased the sicker I got and I was pretty sick to start with. So I stopped up dosing and started cutting very small cuts. After 3 psychiatrists I found one who is benzo educated, I refuse to take an antidepressant which the first 3 said I needed. My pcp and psychiatrist both approve of the CBD and the melatonin. Here is the dosage I take:
10am- 30 mg CBD
2pm- 30mg CBD
8pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm – 10mg Naturol extended release melatonin.
If I wake up during the night, I take 15-30mg CBD and drop back into sleep.
Current Klonopin dosage is 1.095mg per day at this point in my taper.
.175mg in the morning
.170mg late afternoon
.75mg at bedtime
The CBD works wonders for the anxiety I have during the day, which I didn’t have before I began tapering. The extended release melatonin helps keep me sleeping. I usually get 7 hours of sleep and I’m up once during the night to relieve myself.
The day time doses of Klonopin kick my butt and make me very ill, nauseous, stomachache and migraines. I’m guessing I kindled on my first taper and that is why the taper is making me sooo sick now. If I’d done my research and found a dr who had experience treating benzo users who wanted to get off I would have done things much differently, but I trusted my pcp and he didn’t know anything. I gave every dr I saw a downloaded printed copy of the Ashton manual. Most thought I was crazy and said this was in my head. It took my pcp 4 months to understand it was the benzo not my gallbladder, pancreas or liver making me sick all the time. Best advice, go slow and do your research. I do think the CBD and melatonin are the 2 things keeping me sane. I have developed lots of sensitivities to things and I do have to be very careful about what I take especially for the nausea.
Best wishes and a big hug!
Ann

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@annfsd

Hi, I am tapering and using Melatonin and CBD oil ( Elixinol brand). I was prescribed Klonopin 12 years ago after I started having panic/anxiety attacks after improper treatment for c-dif colitis, which left me with 2 ulcers and a hiatal hernia. Also I was involved in a terrible car accident, not physical injuries from that but the accident played havoc with the anxiety I was already dealing with. Anyway I was tapering quite slowly and it was going ok but I was having issues w sleep. I read ashwaganda would help with withdrawal and it did, but still sleep was not good. I added 150 mg valerian root and 200mg Passion flower. Very low doses and tapered completely off the Klonopin . However I abruptly stopped the the other supplements and within 24 hour I was in major withdrawal. I didn’t know that the supplements were actually acting as a benzo. My dr told me to reinstate the Klonopin, which I slowly did trying to find a tolerance level. My dr wanted me to take .5 mg 3x daily, which was double my original dose I had taken for 12 years. I more I increased the sicker I got and I was pretty sick to start with. So I stopped up dosing and started cutting very small cuts. After 3 psychiatrists I found one who is benzo educated, I refuse to take an antidepressant which the first 3 said I needed. My pcp and psychiatrist both approve of the CBD and the melatonin. Here is the dosage I take:
10am- 30 mg CBD
2pm- 30mg CBD
8pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm – 10mg Naturol extended release melatonin.
If I wake up during the night, I take 15-30mg CBD and drop back into sleep.
Current Klonopin dosage is 1.095mg per day at this point in my taper.
.175mg in the morning
.170mg late afternoon
.75mg at bedtime
The CBD works wonders for the anxiety I have during the day, which I didn’t have before I began tapering. The extended release melatonin helps keep me sleeping. I usually get 7 hours of sleep and I’m up once during the night to relieve myself.
The day time doses of Klonopin kick my butt and make me very ill, nauseous, stomachache and migraines. I’m guessing I kindled on my first taper and that is why the taper is making me sooo sick now. If I’d done my research and found a dr who had experience treating benzo users who wanted to get off I would have done things much differently, but I trusted my pcp and he didn’t know anything. I gave every dr I saw a downloaded printed copy of the Ashton manual. Most thought I was crazy and said this was in my head. It took my pcp 4 months to understand it was the benzo not my gallbladder, pancreas or liver making me sick all the time. Best advice, go slow and do your research. I do think the CBD and melatonin are the 2 things keeping me sane. I have developed lots of sensitivities to things and I do have to be very careful about what I take especially for the nausea.
Best wishes and a big hug!
Ann

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Ps. I use a combination of pill and liquid suspension(simple syrup) Klonopin currently. The cuts are easier to make with the liquid suspension, that’s why the dosages look weird but exact.

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Mary,
Google “Benzo information collision” they have a small list of benzo educated drs in some states, perhaps there is someone near you. You are being required to make huge cuts and that’s really playing with fire. Your new dr sounds uninformed, you can download the Ashton Manuel and give her a copy. It’s about 75 pages, the recommended cut is 5-10% every 2-4weeks max. I can’t even handle that large a cut now. I’m at about 2% about every 2 weeks. Try to stay strong and know you aren’t alone.
Best wishes
Ann

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@annfsd

Mary,
Google “Benzo information collision” they have a small list of benzo educated drs in some states, perhaps there is someone near you. You are being required to make huge cuts and that’s really playing with fire. Your new dr sounds uninformed, you can download the Ashton Manuel and give her a copy. It’s about 75 pages, the recommended cut is 5-10% every 2-4weeks max. I can’t even handle that large a cut now. I’m at about 2% about every 2 weeks. Try to stay strong and know you aren’t alone.
Best wishes
Ann

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Ann….you are a gift from God…I have been searching for something like this to use and show my dr….I feel so much more at piece now with this. Thank you so much for taking the time to care!!!

Mary

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@mmussak

Ann….you are a gift from God…I have been searching for something like this to use and show my dr….I feel so much more at piece now with this. Thank you so much for taking the time to care!!!

Mary

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Mary
You are welcome, I am still learning as I go. Everybody is different and you need to go at a pace you r comfortable with. Your dr needs to understand that. Benzo taper is not “one size fits all” I have been heartbroken by how slowly I have to cut now. But at least I can sorta function and stay moving. For me the nausea is really harsh and it’s hard to function when it’s bad. I use a combination of liquid Klonopin and pills. My cuts are made from the liquid suspension part of my dosage, so they are accurate dosage cuts bc I can see the actual measurement. Cutting pills can be hugely inaccurate and the pills just crumble and get wasted. I try to cut .0625mg each month now and that’s pushing it for me. .0625 is 1/8th of a .5mg tablet so it’s impossible to taper a pill cut that small. If you do taper with a liquid suspension make sure it is a simple syrup suspension. No suspensions with artificial flavoring as they will/can affect the CNS and throw you into an awful withdrawal. I found that out the hard way as my first suspension script was made with a suspension that had Sucralose in it, even after I told the pharmacist no artificial sweeteners. I was sick for 20 days, so question and double check again!! Also transitioning from pills to suspension should be done gradually as it can make withdrawal symptoms more intense. So transition in increments or part of a dose. Until you fully make it over to liquid. You will have to use a compounding pharmacy to convert to liquid. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’m glad to know that what I’ve learned might help someone else learn what’s right for them. Best advice…Google and read, research, research, research! Don’t get discouraged by what you read, think about your situation and what might work for you. Try to stay calm and try not to overwhelm yourself
Best wishes and big hugs!
Ann

Liked by thankful

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Ann….first off do I get a prescription from my dr fir liquid and how would I transition to liquid from using .5 mgs 3 times a day pills to liquid…I'm a bit confused on that….I get so much nausea and I thought it was from my menapause bit it did start when i started the first .25 mg cut off mid day pill…omg some days i just want to lay there and do nothing due to nausea…i do have some pills for nausea from a different Med I was tAking which helps but only have 2 left..grrrrr what can I do to learn how to go from pill to liquid??? And at what point do I do that…ty for ur help ann!!!😁😁

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@mmussak

Ann….first off do I get a prescription from my dr fir liquid and how would I transition to liquid from using .5 mgs 3 times a day pills to liquid…I'm a bit confused on that….I get so much nausea and I thought it was from my menapause bit it did start when i started the first .25 mg cut off mid day pill…omg some days i just want to lay there and do nothing due to nausea…i do have some pills for nausea from a different Med I was tAking which helps but only have 2 left..grrrrr what can I do to learn how to go from pill to liquid??? And at what point do I do that…ty for ur help ann!!!😁😁

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Hi Mary,
First, my guess is your nausea is from your cut, not menopause. .25mg is a big cut. I can only cut .0625mg per month on a good month which is 1/4 of what you cut. But if you can stand it then your the bomb. Personally I could not and I’d probably be in the ER. I have never made a cut that big. I am 54 and have been thru menopause and it never made me nauseous, just hot!
Yes, you need yur dr to write the script for a liquid suspension. You then consult with a compounding pharmacist about what you r trying to with tapering. They often want to understand your history with the drug. So for me transitioning to the liquid made me a bit nauseous for 2-3 days. The idea behind liquid taper is micro cuts made over many days to lessen the withdrawal side affects. My nausea is less severe with tiny cuts. Google liquid benzo taper, there are several ways to do it.
In my case bc I am super sensitive to all changes, I only convert the .0625 I’m trying to cut to the suspension. So say my total morning dose is .1875mg, .0625mg of it is liquid that I measure out in a syringe, .125mg of my total dose is a quarter of a pill. Gradually over a month I try to reduce the .0625mg part by small cuts and eliminate it.
I would love to be able to convert all to suspension but it will be a process for me to do so.
I have a prescription for 4mg zofram dissolving tablets for nausea. I cut them into quarters bc taking a whole one gives me a headache and a stomachache. I’m rediculously sensitive to everything. But 1/4 helps enough to get me thru it.
What I did was call around and ask the compounding pharmacists if they have worked with patients trying to taper off benzodiazepines and asked for their advice and any helpful input they had. Then I went to my dr and told him who I had talked to and what their advice was. My dr was clueless he’d never had a patient do a liquid taper! He wrote the script but he was just clueless. I watched some utube videos with him so he could understand it. My psychiatrist has had patients do it that way and she now writes my scripts for the suspension. Do some internet research and you will get the gist of it. There are several ways to liquid taper. I just measure out the dose minus the small cut in the syringe, then
I mix it in a glass drinking glass with cold water and drink it. Then add water to the empty glass, swish it around and drink that too. That way I get all of the dose.

Liked by thankful

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@annfsd

Hi Mary,
First, my guess is your nausea is from your cut, not menopause. .25mg is a big cut. I can only cut .0625mg per month on a good month which is 1/4 of what you cut. But if you can stand it then your the bomb. Personally I could not and I’d probably be in the ER. I have never made a cut that big. I am 54 and have been thru menopause and it never made me nauseous, just hot!
Yes, you need yur dr to write the script for a liquid suspension. You then consult with a compounding pharmacist about what you r trying to with tapering. They often want to understand your history with the drug. So for me transitioning to the liquid made me a bit nauseous for 2-3 days. The idea behind liquid taper is micro cuts made over many days to lessen the withdrawal side affects. My nausea is less severe with tiny cuts. Google liquid benzo taper, there are several ways to do it.
In my case bc I am super sensitive to all changes, I only convert the .0625 I’m trying to cut to the suspension. So say my total morning dose is .1875mg, .0625mg of it is liquid that I measure out in a syringe, .125mg of my total dose is a quarter of a pill. Gradually over a month I try to reduce the .0625mg part by small cuts and eliminate it.
I would love to be able to convert all to suspension but it will be a process for me to do so.
I have a prescription for 4mg zofram dissolving tablets for nausea. I cut them into quarters bc taking a whole one gives me a headache and a stomachache. I’m rediculously sensitive to everything. But 1/4 helps enough to get me thru it.
What I did was call around and ask the compounding pharmacists if they have worked with patients trying to taper off benzodiazepines and asked for their advice and any helpful input they had. Then I went to my dr and told him who I had talked to and what their advice was. My dr was clueless he’d never had a patient do a liquid taper! He wrote the script but he was just clueless. I watched some utube videos with him so he could understand it. My psychiatrist has had patients do it that way and she now writes my scripts for the suspension. Do some internet research and you will get the gist of it. There are several ways to liquid taper. I just measure out the dose minus the small cut in the syringe, then
I mix it in a glass drinking glass with cold water and drink it. Then add water to the empty glass, swish it around and drink that too. That way I get all of the dose.

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@annfsd– You do such a great job of explaining how you have been going about your taper and I want to commend you for your efforts!
Based on so much I've read on this site your approach seems to make so much sense especially in light of so many that seem to think they can do it on their own either cold turkey or some other uninformed way. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and hope others will grab hold of your advise! Jim @thankful

Liked by annfsd

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@thankful

@annfsd– You do such a great job of explaining how you have been going about your taper and I want to commend you for your efforts!
Based on so much I've read on this site your approach seems to make so much sense especially in light of so many that seem to think they can do it on their own either cold turkey or some other uninformed way. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and hope others will grab hold of your advise! Jim @thankful

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Thank you for the kind words Jim. Everyday is a process, put one foot in front of the other and I just keep on trying.
Ann

Liked by thankful

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@annfsd

Thank you for the kind words Jim. Everyday is a process, put one foot in front of the other and I just keep on trying.
Ann

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Hi @annfsd,

I'm currently tapering from 2.0mg of clonazepam (original dose) taken at bedtime only for GAD and insomnia. My most recent taper was from 1.5mg (3×0.5mg) and I'm currently down to 1.0mg (2×0.5mg) for the last month which is a big taper and the lowest dose I've been on for perhaps the last 20 years (I'm 43yr male old BTW). I feel great overall and quite proud of holding this lower clonazepam dose which I plan to hold for a little while longer until I can resolve my sleep quality.

Thanks for sharing your success with CBD for daytime anxiety. Could you please share what brand/company you are using as it's the wild west out there for authentic CBD products, even here in Canada where THC is legal. I've been using CBD gelcaps from Aurora here in Canada which provide 8 to 10 mg/pill of CBD to help offset the anxiety and sleep issues. They come in 30 caps per bottle and cost about $40. I take about 2x per bedtime which seems to work but I often wake up in the middle of the night and take another gel cap to help me fall back asleep which works sometimes but not always. I've also been vaping high CBD strains from Aurora also (strain is called Temple and costs $9.99/gm) which is quicker acting and also great to combat anxiety. I'm also trying CBD tincture from a company called CBD Move ($60) which provides 500mg of CBD and has a 1ml dropper. I've taken a full dropper with varying results (none bad just varying degrees of effectiveness). My biggest issue is falling and staying asleep. As you can see, I'm self-experimenting with varying CBD delivery methods to determine which is best for CBD absorption. Right now, I would say vaping it seems to work best for me (about 0.5 – 1.0gm) per night.

Unfortunately, our medical benefits will not cover CBD for anxiety here in Canada so all this self-experimentation is getting quite expensive although so much better than the original 2.0mg dose of clonazepam.

Do you or anyone have any advice for falling back to sleep? Have you ever tried Valerian Root? I read this could help however it can apparently increase the drowsiness side effects of clonazepam (or any benzo) which can be both good and bad because I'm wondering if I would become reliant to the Rx/Supplement marriage I just created? Also, if you could share the CBD brand you're using as well as the delivery method would be highly appreciated.

Thanks!

REPLY
@gettingbetter75

Hi @annfsd,

I'm currently tapering from 2.0mg of clonazepam (original dose) taken at bedtime only for GAD and insomnia. My most recent taper was from 1.5mg (3×0.5mg) and I'm currently down to 1.0mg (2×0.5mg) for the last month which is a big taper and the lowest dose I've been on for perhaps the last 20 years (I'm 43yr male old BTW). I feel great overall and quite proud of holding this lower clonazepam dose which I plan to hold for a little while longer until I can resolve my sleep quality.

Thanks for sharing your success with CBD for daytime anxiety. Could you please share what brand/company you are using as it's the wild west out there for authentic CBD products, even here in Canada where THC is legal. I've been using CBD gelcaps from Aurora here in Canada which provide 8 to 10 mg/pill of CBD to help offset the anxiety and sleep issues. They come in 30 caps per bottle and cost about $40. I take about 2x per bedtime which seems to work but I often wake up in the middle of the night and take another gel cap to help me fall back asleep which works sometimes but not always. I've also been vaping high CBD strains from Aurora also (strain is called Temple and costs $9.99/gm) which is quicker acting and also great to combat anxiety. I'm also trying CBD tincture from a company called CBD Move ($60) which provides 500mg of CBD and has a 1ml dropper. I've taken a full dropper with varying results (none bad just varying degrees of effectiveness). My biggest issue is falling and staying asleep. As you can see, I'm self-experimenting with varying CBD delivery methods to determine which is best for CBD absorption. Right now, I would say vaping it seems to work best for me (about 0.5 – 1.0gm) per night.

Unfortunately, our medical benefits will not cover CBD for anxiety here in Canada so all this self-experimentation is getting quite expensive although so much better than the original 2.0mg dose of clonazepam.

Do you or anyone have any advice for falling back to sleep? Have you ever tried Valerian Root? I read this could help however it can apparently increase the drowsiness side effects of clonazepam (or any benzo) which can be both good and bad because I'm wondering if I would become reliant to the Rx/Supplement marriage I just created? Also, if you could share the CBD brand you're using as well as the delivery method would be highly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Hello,
I use the elixinol brand, 3600 bottle in tincture. That is a 120ml (4oz) bottle, that I order directly from the company. I use about 1.5 bottles per month. I pay 224.00 per bottle including a10% discount for being a repeat customer. Free shipping in the US, not sure about Canada tho. I know they do ship to Canada tho.
Here is the dosage I take:
10am- 30 mg CBD
2pm- 30mg CBD
8pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm- 60 mg CBD
10pm – 10mg Naturol extended release melatonin.
If I wake up during the night, I take 15-30mg CBD and drop back into sleep.
I have found that sticking to a consistent dosing schedule works best for me and if I’m having an anxiety issue I dose a .5ml extra at that time, that generally doesn’t happen as I avoid any stress I can. Btw the melatonin helps greatly at night and I use a melatonin tincture 3mg at bedtime as well. So a total of 13mg melatonin at bedtime. I am not using any other meds for sleep and refuse to take any other psychotropic meds other than the Klonopin & CBD.
I would be very careful with valerian root, Passion flower, etc. They act the same as benzodiazepines so yes you will sleep but those supplements will not help you upregulate your GABA receptors. Do some deep research on any supplement you take. I have gotten myself into real trouble with them…
Best,
Ann

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