CBD. THC. These are both acronyms you have probably seen more than even in the last two years. That is because the Farm Bill of 2018 legalized CBD, while many states themselves have legalized the sale of THC for recreational use. The cannabis industry can be confusing at times. What exactly are THC and CBD, and how do they interact with your body? And does CBD counteract the effects of THC? These are both questions that we hear a lot in the industry. Below, we have broken down exactly what THC and CBD are, and how they interact with each other. By the end of this piece, the THC CBD relationship should make much more sense to you.
What are CBD & THC?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. THC is the more popular cannabinoid and is known for giving users psychoactive effects. CBD’s discovery is more recent, and it lacks the psychoactive effects of THC.
Cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). Every mammal has an ECS. It is a complicated system, but we can simplify it by focusing on the receptors. The ECS has two receptors, CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors exist mainly in the brain, although they do appear in other parts of the body. CB2 receptors are primarily in the gut, which contains the vast majority of the immune system.
Cannabinoids and the ECS
Your body naturally produces cannabinoids that help regulate sleep, anxiety, stress, appetite, digestive processes, mood, inflammation, soreness, and much more. CBD and THC are cannabinoids that interact with your ECS. THC’s influence on your ECS is well known. For example, how many times have you heard stories of cannabis users getting hungry and sleepy? These are both processes that the ECS helps to regulate.
Researchers are learning how CBD interacts with your ECS, but one thing is for sure. While THC binds with receptors to produce an effect, CBD does not bind to them. Instead, researchers believe CBD influences your ECS to produce more cannabinoids naturally. The impact that cannabis has on the ECS is still being researched, and we learn new things every day.
THC is still illegal on a federal level, although several states have legalized it for recreational use within their borders. CBD, on the other hand, is federally legal across the nation. It’s legal because CBD cannot get you high like THC. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, which is cannabis grown with 0.3% THC or less. The minuscule amount of THC left in hemp cannabis is not enough to give consumers a high. Instead, hemp is packed full of CBD.
Effects of CBD
CBD consumers are often looking to reach overall healthy homeostasis. CBD promotes calmness and relaxation and is non-psychoactive. There are several ways to administer CBD. You can take CBD oil sublingually, and can also add it to edibles. CBD flower can be smoked, while topical CBD creams and lotions are applied to the skin.
These products aim to assist consumers with several different maladies such as soreness, sleep, appetite regulation, skin irritations, and more. Consumers have found various reasons to use CBD because of the versatility of its effects. Although consumers have found many uses for CBD, and anecdotal evidence and studies are starting to point in the right direction, the FDA has only approved it for one medical use so far.
The FDA has approved Epidiolex, a prescription CBD drug, for use against rare types of epileptic seizures. Although this is currently the only CBD medication approved by the FDA, the US should see expansion in that market over the next decade.
Effects of THC
THC is more famous for its psychoactive attributes, although its medical properties are also being explored. For example, the FDA has approved Sativex and Marinol (dronabinol), which are THC based prescription drugs that are used to help patients deal with pain, spasms, nausea, appetite regulation, and more.
Because THC is psychoactive, it has side effects that are not associated with CBD. These psychoactive effects give consumers the “high” that is often associated with cannabis use. Some of these are viewed as positive, while others can be viewed as adverse. This is why some people use CBD to counteract THC.
For example, feelings of euphoria, stress relief, appetite regulation, and soreness reduction are effects attributed to THC use. On the other hand, paranoia, fatigue, and issues with keeping a sleep schedule have all been effects traced back to THC use as well. These effects are typically mild, but that depends on the consumer. Everyone is different.
Benefits of Taking THC & CBD Together
When all of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant work together, it creates the “Entourage Effect.” The Entourage Effect gives consumers the best results from a product. That is because the cannabinoids complement each other and work together to reach peak levels of performance.
When consumers take THC or CBD separately, they can still reap the benefits. But, when they take them together, the combination will amplify these benefits. Think of it like this, THC and CBD together will stimulate more receptors in the ECS than either can do on its own.
Related article: Should I Take CBD With THC or Without it? [Pros & Cons]
Does CBD Counteract THC?
This is a tricky question. There have been several studies done, but the results are inconclusive. There has been proof that CBD can help reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. Still, other studies have found that CBD has no effect.
The main difference seems to be the amount of CBD taken, the type of CBD taken, your personal biochemistry, and the THC’s strength. However, in cases where all of these factors line up properly, CBD appears to limit THC’s psychoactive effects.
Typically, a high CBD ratio in a cannabis product is a good thing. As more research is being conducted, more answers are being determined. CBD and THC are known to work better together than in contradiction to one another.
The CBD:THC ratio is integral in playing a part in this relationship. A ratio with higher amounts of CBD will produce a less psychoactive feeling. On the other hand, a ratio with large amounts of THC will increase psychoactivity. For example, a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio is a perfect balance. There is an equal amount of both cannabinoids in the product, which should give the consumer a balanced reaction.
For those who are familiar with marijuana purchased from dispensaries, these products typically have something more like a 1:20 ratio, which means there is an overwhelming amount of THC compared to CBD. Those products will give you a very potent high.
On the other hand, there are products with a 20:1 ratio, meaning there is an abundance of CBD but low THC levels. A ratio of 1:0 means there is no THC at all in the product. If you want to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, you need to ingest at least the same ratio, or more, of CBD.
Consumers can check the levels of CBD and THC in products by looking at the Certificate of Analysis (COA). A COA will come with any reputable product, do not purchase any products without a COA. The COA will label how much of each cannabinoid is in the product. From there, consumers can use math to calculate the ratio themselves.
Does CBD Counteract THC – Final Thoughts
While it has not been fully determined if CBD can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, more research is still being conducted. Consumers should feel safe knowing that the CBD:THC ratio is a tool they can use to help keep a balance.
Think of it as a mixed drink. If you put an equal amount of juice and vodka in a drink, you will get a medium effect. However, if you put 95% juice to 5% vodka, the effects of the vodka will be less. The same method works for THC and CBD. For consumers who take CBD heavy products, they will have a less of a psychoactive THC effect.
Consumers who take evenly proportionate products can expect a medium effect or mix of both. Biochemistry, diet, and tolerance will always play a role in this effect as well. Just remember, when THC and CBD work together, the combination will provide you with the best results. Have look at this link.