2.4.1 Alprazolam

Alprazolam #

Common Nomenclature Alprazolam
Street & Reference Names Xanax
Reference Dosage Light: 0.25mg+; Common 0.5mg+; Strong: 1.5mg+ Heavy 2mg+ [TripSit]
Anticipated: Onset / Duration 30 Minutes / 6 Hours
Maximum Dose Experienced 1mg
Form Pill
RoA Oral
Source / Jurisdiction Prescription / Overseas


Alprazolam (xanax) is by far the most widely known and popular anxiolytic drug. Indeed, it has long been ranked as the most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States, with over 40 million prescriptions per year.

Alarmingly, it is also well known for its addiction potential (as are the other drugs in this class). Related to this is the fact that large numbers of people build up a huge tolerance, and dose accordingly.

Another worrying aspect is the number of reports of blackouts and lost hours on higher doses. For a one-off experiment it was this issue which I most concerned myself with during research.

After a great deal of investigation I elect to dose at 1mg. This was not the easiest decision to reach, but I found a disturbing number of forum comments along the following lines:

0.5 - 1 milligrams is optimal for someone with no tolerance. Anything more than that and you’ll pass out” ~ Pasha, BlueLight.org

But from an HR stand point, 2 milligrams is far too potent a dose for someone with no tolerance. That’s a fact, not an opinion. In a clinical setting, Alprazolam prescribing regimens begin at 0.250 milligrams. That alone says it all.” ~ Pasha, BlueLight.Org

2mg would put almost anyone with no tolerance on their ass. Swim has been taking Xanax for years and 2mg is still fine” ~ RaoulDuke32, Drugs-Forum.com

I also noted the following:

Emergency room visits due to the recreational abuse of Xanax more than doubled from 57,419 in 2005 to 124,902 in 2010.” - Addictioncenter.com

Obviously, this is not a drug to treat lightly. I therefore proceed with the utmost caution, clearing my diary and finding a safe space for the rest of the day.

Note that at the time of testing I have no benzo tolerance at all, and my system is entirely clear of all drugs.

T+0:00 I separate what is probably a little less than 1mg from the crumbled wreckage of my supply, and place the rest well out of reach. I consume this with a glass of cold water, and wait. [3:20pm]

T+0:30 I sense that something coming-on. I feel a mild head driven relaxation and a gentle numbness about my hands, feet and body. It’s minor and no threat to functionality, but the change is noticeable.

T+1:00 The head bubble may have evolved slightly, and it is more firmly entrenched in sedation, of the non-fatigued variety. I don’t feel any anxiety, but I didn’t feel any to begin with.

All sharp edges have in fact disappeared from my worldview as I have moved into a chilled ambience of tranquillity. Vision remains extremely clear and possibly enhanced, which combined with a dreamy headspace makes for a strange feel to the experience.

T+1:20 Time has passed quite quickly, and the above manifestations appear to be fairly stable. This is quite a gentle ride, albeit not a particularly exciting one. The word pleasant probably best describes it, with an overall impression of being a little zoned-out.

I should point out that I don’t feel even remotely like keeling over on this dose, or blacking out.

I certainly feel the effects, but not in any negative terms.

T+2:00 I just ate a meal and enjoyed it, so there is no appetite or taste suppression in play. I am content and relaxed, overlaid with a drifting ataractic aura. It’s quite a nice background experience.

T+2:45 An unwanted side effect might be that I just spent a large portion of the last hour doing nothing. I couldn’t be bothered, so I just lounged around, pinging across YouTube, news sources, forums, and a handful of similar web sites with a smile upon my face. I was totally unproductive.

Now, this could be because I am just bored and at a loose end, or it could be that the xanax has numbed my drive as well as my body. Perhaps I am just chillaxed, which is what I hoped to be, and I could be moaning for the sake of it.

T+3:00 A feeling of drowsiness has started to emerge, and sleep becomes appealing. I will fight this, initially with a cup of tea, and perhaps take a walk in half an hour. I am still partially-immersed but the headiness is morphing into mental fatigue and sleepiness. I make the effort to snap out of it.

T+5:00 I have battled through the drowsiness and now feel like I am approaching baseline. I’m a little worn, and not yet 100% zoned-in again, but broadly I feel like I have had a hard day with general fatigue.

I am most definitely tired and it is certainly a result of the xanax ingestion.

I retired to bed at 10pm, fell asleep very quickly and slept like the proverbial log for a good 10 hours. I awoke feeling a little groggy but a couple of cups of filtered coffee soon addressed this.

Comfortable and cosy are two words I have frequently seen associated with xanax, and I wouldn’t argue with them. This was a decent experience, as I floated around the house for a few hours, with no worldly worries on my shoulders. It evolved into tiredness later on, and time began to pass in something of a haze, but there was no hard landing or adverse effects.

Would I take it again, recreationally?

Given that this class of drug isn’t really my bag, and the well documented risks commonly presented, I wouldn’t. The only circumstance in which I would ever repeat this exercise would be to identify the effects of a larger dose for the purposes of this book. This is unlikely.

I will end by re-emphasizing some of the warnings I made above. It’s a nice enough ride in its early stages, but it can be fraught with danger. If you are determined to experiment with it, go easy, and definitely avoid it if you are prone to addiction or struggle to stop when you know you really should. A cursory search on the Internet should persuade you that this isn’t one to trifle with.


A few years ago I visited a place called McLeod Ganj, famed as the home of the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government. It is a suburb of Dharamshala in India, and is 6,831 ft above sea level. I was staying a couple of miles outside the town, at an even higher altitude.

As a sensitive soul I quickly began to experience the classic symptoms of altitude sickness, particularly the headache. I sought help at the local pharmacy, and after explaining the situation carefully I was given the packet on the left of the photo.

Yes, it’s a blister pack of xanax!

Knowing exactly what it was, and having sampled it previously for research purposes, I decided that this wasn’t the cure for altitude sickness. I therefore headed to the local Tibetan doctor, which was a short walk down the road.

I was greeted professionally, examined, and provided with brown organic balls as per the right of the photo. The charge for these was about $2. I took them as instructed, and from the next day I was back to normal.

So kudos and sincere gratitude to the locals for helping out a strange looking tourist, and a lesson learned; that flashy western-like dispensaries do not necessarily trump traditional medicine.

I took the xanax back home with me as a souvenir. The blister pack is still sitting in the top drawer of my desk.