When you think of pop music in the 1970s and 1980s, you think of Fleetwood Mac. And when you think of Fleetwood Mac, you often (especially if you’re male) think of Stevie Nicks, the lead singer for many of their biggest hits.

Many Fleetwood Mac personnel have had their substance troubles over the years, but Stevie Nicks was over the top, often using cocaine right on stage. Unfortunately, the cure was worse than the disease: in attempting to get cured of her cocaine addiction, she ended up losing eight years of her life to a much worse problem — addiction to a perfectly legal, FDA-approved drug called Klonopin.

How Does Klonopin Compare To Medical Marijuana?

Even though Klonopin is an FDA-approved drug, it has many side effects, some quite serious, and some which might make you even question the sanity of those prescribing it. For instance, why take Klonopin for panic or anxiety disorders, when withdrawing from it can cause panic attacks or anxiety?

For this reason, we’ve taken the following information from Wikipedia, and highlighted in bold green any side effects or uses that match those known for cannabis. I think most people would be more willing to try a safer drug like cannabis for anxiety or panic than risk side effects such as depression, seizures, or long-term/permanent cognitive impairment. I bet Stevie Nicks would.

Trade Name: Klonopin
Generic Name: Clonazepam
Some Typical Uses:

  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Panic disorder
  • Initial treatment of mania or acute psychosis (used with other drugs)

Very Common Side Effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Interference with cognitive and motor performance

Less Common Side Effects:

  • Irritability and aggression
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of libido
  • Impaired motor function
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired balance
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Hallucinations
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Anterograde amnesia (common with higher doses)
  • May cause or worsen depression

Occasional Side Effects:

  • Serious dysphoria
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Serious psychological and psychiatric side-effects
  • Induction of seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Behavioral disturbances
  • Confusion
  • Ataxia

Long Term Effects:
The long term effects of clonazepam can include depression, disinhibition, and sexual dysfunction. Long-term use of benzodiazepines is also associated with cognitive impairments that can persist for at least 6 months post-withdrawal, but it is unclear whether these impairments take more than six months to abate or if they are permanent.


  • Anxiety, irritability, insomnia
  • Panic attacks, tremor
  • Seizures

(Special thanks to Joe Klare for the heads-up on the Stevie Nicks angle — OH)

13 Responses

  1. Vee

    This further proves that the FDA is not concerned with patients safety.

    Dope is called dope because it’s dope

    It’s called marijuana to associate it’s use to minorities: Maria and Juan are the most common Hispanic names…think about it.

    It’s called illegal because it’s the only medicine you can grow yourself. The top reasons people take pills? pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression. What does cannabis alleviate or cure? All of the above and many more, but most importantly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

    Contrary to popular belief cannabinoids are antioxidants and neurorotectants. Translation: they protect your brain. 

    But don’t take my word on it. Here we have irrevocable proof in  the public domain that nobody discusses, govt funded US patent 6630507 titled, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” The govt  holds two opposing positions, that cannabis has no medical use, and that is does. Taxpayer money is being used to study and patent cannabis, and taxpayer money is being used to mislead the public(Aka propaganda) and imprison them. Mind you the DEA has card blanche to lie to the public if they think it’s in the “publics best interest”. Just how they think it’s in the public’s best interest to legalize the two deadliest substances…alcohol and the mutant offspring of tobacco, cigarettes. 

  2. danny


  3. Vee

    @activist cat: I read your petition and thought it was really on point, and I am signing it. There’s a typo on US patent 6630507, there’s a O missing, if corrected it should link directly to that patent.

  4. Couch Locked

    I already know the effects of long term Klonopin usage. Right now I’m trying to wean myself off of them, it’s taking time. And you’re correct, if you go natural, we upset the apple cart with BigPharma. Where will they get the money and comps that they give to the doctors to prescribe all these PolyPharmas that they feed us. At the VA Hospital, when you complain to your Mental Health doctor about how the drugs make you feel worse, their common reply is “Well, let’s just increase the dosage and see how that works” Arrrrrrghhhhh

  5. Josh Stoned

    Stevie should have kept smoking weed. At least she could have been functioning and not lost 8 years of her life. But, MJ does have side effects on the heart that you should be aware of…esepcially if your having surgery soon, stop at least 2 weeks prior!

  6. Dan

    I think people forget that at least at the moment marijuana isn’t an option for everybody. I have GAD, I treat my anxiety with klonopin and it’s been the only legal drug that’s worked for me. Before being able to even get a prescription for klonopin, I had to go through the usual regime of anti-depressants each with their own unique set of side-effects and withdrawals. Prozac, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Celexa, Lexapro at higher dosages–than in combination with Wellbutrin… That was hellish in itself. The reality of the situation is if I smoke weed and fail ONE drug test I’ll lose my job–along with any possibility of being rehired at any other DOT job for life. This drug works well for me, it’s been the only one that has. Don’t demonize it because Stevie f**king Nicks abused it. When taken as directed it can be a life saver.

  7. jack

    I am going thru SEVERE klonipin withdrawal.Hallucinations,can’t sleep etc. I have been a perfect patient for 5 years, never lost a script, dosage 4 1mg tablets daily.
    NOW I AM IN a crisis situation. My script was lost or stolen,anyway its gone. MY PHYSICIAN IS SO SCARED OF THE DEA HE WILL NOT WRITE ANOTHER ONE,
    SOLUTION; GO TO THE ER. ” I can’t write another script because I MIGHT BE AUDITED! Since when does the DEA practice medicine? This is gone to far.

  8. kpin420

    I find a synergy between k-pins and chronic. I rarely can blaze anymore w/o paranoia regardless whether I hit a big bong or a couple little rips off a pipe/joint (some say due to GABA maturation since it didn’t bother me b4). I would never disparage marijuana, and if it works on anxiety for some then great for them. Me on the other hand, is a toss up. I can become Mr. Laid Back or I literally lie in bed waiting for the 1 hit of weed to wear off so I stop panicking over who knows what at the time. If I take k-pin, I can smoke bowls all night. I would never dream of doing benzos every night though. I think the solution (furrowing brows of smokers everywhere lol j/k) is that you don’t need to be impaired every night. There is a difference between use and abuse. The doctor is not responsible for u losing your pills, sorry, he’s doing his job. So on a Friday, if k-pins let’s me enjoy my night (i don’t drink either so no cross CNS depressants happening lol)i don’t see the harm. I’m not going to take 4mg a day for 5 years.

    Also, nothing is perfect, you burn anything and you are inhaling carbon into your lungs which does affect them. It may not be “carcinogenic”, but even burning paper and inhaling it isn’t good for you. Vaporizers seem ok thus far though.

  9. Sozo

    My Klonopin/Cannabis experience.

    First, a bit about myself. I’m a 51 year old, clean-cut professional. I’ve never had a run-in with the law and I’m proud veteran. I have a couple of drinks a month and I go to church once every 4 to 5 weeks. It keeps me humble and thankful. I have 2 great kids and I work my butt off to keep them in a good private school and put whatever I can into a college fund. To summarize, I’m just an average guy, but I’m an average guy with a family history of anxiety, depression and panic disorders. There are no bat crazy loons swinging from my family tree, just a few that struggled more than others. For the record, none of them gave up.

    I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder accompanied with moderate depression (they seem to be great pals). Both conditions were triggered primarily by situational stress and a lot of baggage I stuffed for many years. I was always a bit anxious growing up, but nothing that ever gave me pause or real concern. Things were cool for 40+ years and then bam!

    Drugs, drinks, blessings and curses –

    I tried several SSRI’s and they were brutal on me physically and psychologically. I had never experienced a true deep and dark period of depression until a quack doctor Guinea Pigged me with SSRI’s. It was poisoning. After bouncing from doctor to doctor, I found someone I trusted and he weaned me off the SSRI’s. As an alternative, he put me on a dose of Lamotrigine and Mirtazipine which turned out to be a great combination with zero side-effects. This combination helped greatly with the depression, but I was still experiencing anxiety attacks. So as a supplement, my doctor prescribed Klonopin and it seemed like the miracle drug I had been waiting for. Day one on klonopin and my anxiety was reduced by 75%!

    I’ve been on a low dose of Klonolin for 5 years now. After being on 1mg daily for 2 years, I weaned down to .5mg and stayed there for 3 years. At that point I decided to wean completely off, very slowly over a period of 1 year. I was successful at getting clean and things went great for about 7 weeks, and then it hit me. I began experiencing severe vertigo in the middle of the night (not to be confused with dizziness) and I had crazy bad dizzy spells throughout the day (not to be confused with vertigo). I began experiencing stomach cramps, migraines, body aches, flu-like symptoms and a whole new type of anxiety. I decided to try smoking cannabis and to my surprise, it helped a immensely with the anxiety, but the other symptoms became gradually worse. One day I found myself in the ER, disoriented, heart racing and the entire right side of my body was numb. After a lot of poking and prodding, the doctors reached two conclusions. #1, I was experiencing delayed, but severe Klonopine withdrawal and #2 I owed them $1,500 for my troubles. I was immediately put back on a dose of 1mg of Klonopin (.5mg twice daily) and I felt like my old self again.

    What is the point of my story you ask? It’s simple, Klonopin is some bad, highly addictive s#!t. Is it effective? Yes, it’s very effective, but in hind sight, I wish I had discovered cannabis earlier and said hell no to Klonopin. Everyone’s chemistry is different, but I don’t care who you are, Klonopin is extremely addictive. If you’re going through a rough patch and the good ol doc dispenses a 2 week supply Kpin then you’re good to go. Any use of beyond that time and all bets are off. Jump on the Kpin train for a year and prepare yourself for a nightmare when trying to get off.

    Do I think Klonopin has it’s place as a medical solution in some cases? Yes, it most certainly does, but addiction by prescription is epidemic so be damn sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you skip into your pharmacy all giddy about a magic cure for your anxiety issues.

    On to cannabis. I’m no expert, as a matter of fact, most everything I’ve learned about this friendly little plant was gleaned from various articles and online forums. For some, cannabis can increase anxiety and worsen depression, but for others like myself, it’s a great supplemental treatment. From what I understand, different strains have different effects. You have to find the blend that works best for you. In a state where it is illegal, that can present a very difficult challenge. I talked to my shrink and therapist about smoking on occasion. Both responded with similar language; it went something like this, “as your doctor, I can’t condone the use of marijuana for anxiety or depression because it is illegal. With that said, I can say, off the record, I have a lot of patients who have found great relief from using marijuana (wink, nudge).”

    I’m not a daily smoker, I generally smoke twice a week. The only time I smoke is in the evening when the anxiety is too much to bear. When I do smoke, I do so by myself, and only at home. It rarely takes more than one hit to calm me enough to relax and sleep. It’s not a social or party thing for me, it’s an effective treatment that keeps me from taking larger doses of potentially lethal prescription drugs.

    Here’s the sad conclusion. I rarely have more than enough pot at any given time to roll one joint. Why? Because it’s illegal in my state and I don’t want to get busted, misdemeanor or not. So, if I’m smoking, you know I’m desperate. When I’m out, I suffer. Hooray for the war on drugs! I’m thrilled to know that my tax dollars are used to incarcerate non-violent cannabis users, many of which (like myself) find great medicinal value in this innocuous plant.

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