2.4 Anxiolytics & Sedatives

Anxiolytics & Sedatives #

Textbook Definition: A sedative can produce a calming or relaxing effect, such that stress, irritability or agitation is reduced. In some cases sedatives can produce hypnotic anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant effects. Technically, sedatives are depressants, in that they induce depression of the central nervous system (CNS), although many also have antipsychotic properties.

The following chemicals have been sampled and researched for inclusion within this section:

During the legal high years benzodiazepines entirely dominated the recreational market for this class of drug. Such was their predominance that I briefly considered using the word in the heading. For consistency, however, I refrained from doing so.

I always associated sedatives, and indeed benzos, with sleep. They are sleeping pills, right? The correct answer to this question is: sometimes. Sleep is what I originally used them for: etizolam to be specific, to kill a trip to be precise. One day this changed, when a higher than intended dose took me into the realms of the anxiolytic and the hypnotic. I cannot deny that I enjoyed it.

However, by this stage I had already read far too many tragic stories on Internet forums regarding benzo addiction. For this class of drug, I would be particularly careful not to break my personal rules regarding frequency and dose restraint. I therefore skirted the edges and dipped my toes in here and there.

Another area in which to exercise extreme caution relates to combinations, in particular, mixing with alcohol, opioids or other sedatives/anxiolytics.

There is a certain subtlety in this playground. Different drugs do have different effects, but the user sometimes has to be well tuned to recognize and appreciate this.

The full catalogue of possibilities is enormous, but in the context referred to above, the risks are all too real.


The graphs below (courtesy the US Department of Health and Human Services) provide a stark and clear message. The first illustrates the number of deaths in that country involving benzodiazepines. The second has lines overlaid showing the number of deaths involving benzodiazepines and any opioid, benzodiazepines without any opioid, and benzodiazepines and other synthetic narcotics. Benzos are not soft drugs. Be careful.

[Source: CDC.gov]

[Source: CDC.gov]

[Source: CDC.gov]

[Source: CDC.gov]


The following data was derived from a variety of sources, including Wikipedia. As cited, the information published by the latter was originally taken from The Ashton Manual (formal name: Benzodiazepines: How They Work and How to Withdraw by Professor C Heather Ashton).

Please bear in mind that these are not absolutes, and that doses of each vary per individual. Again, they are produced here as a starting point for your research, and on the basis that it is better to have some sort of initial approximation than nothing at all.

The approximate oral equivalents of 10 mg of diazepam as per these sources are (in mg):

Alprazolam 0.5
Chlordiazepoxide 25
Clonazepam 0.5
Clonazolam 0.2
Diclazepam 1
Estazolam 1
Etizolam 1
Flubromazolam 0.2
Pyrazolam 0.83
Lorazepam 1
Temazepam 20
Triazolam 0.25
Zolpidem 20
Zopiclone 15

Note that at time or writing, an auto-conversion tool, which also covers a range of other benzodiazepines, can be found on TripSit.

Finally, it is important to again stress that with respect to this class of drug the safety measures should never be relaxed or ignored. Remember that complacency breeds tragedy.