As you shop for CBD products or medical marijuana, chances are you're going to run across CBD to THC ratios. Which is the best for your needs and how will this combination make you feel?
Paul JamesJuly 18, 2022
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While the cannabis plant is made up of over 100 cannabinoids (chemical compounds), the two most abundant are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
On their own, these two cannabinoids have a list of potential benefits many have been incorporating into their lives. However, when combined, CBD and THC are able to produce effects you won’t find anywhere else.
But what are these effects? And what’s the best THC:CBD ratio for your needs?
Throughout this article, we’ll take a deeper look at how CBD and THC will affect you – both on their own and when combined. From there, we’ll discuss what we believe is the best CBD to THC ratio and how to identify this in products.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound (also known as a cannabinoid) found in the cannabis plant. It’s recently garnered a lot of attention due to federal legalization under the 2018 Farm Bill and from the fact that research shows it may be helpful in a number of health conditions.
As of now, we still aren’t 100% sure how CBD interacts with the body. What we know is it influences our endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a regulatory system responsible for a number of day-to-day functions, such as mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. Some researchers have theorized that CBD helps to balance out our ECS, allowing for the many potential benefits associated with it.
The most notable attribute of CBD is its ability to have these functions without producing psychotropic effects – or, the “high” commonly associated with marijuana. For this reason, many prefer CBD products over traditional cannabis products.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the other most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. It’s best known for its psychoactive effects – giving users a “high” when they consume it.
The reason THC has such different effects is due to the way it interacts with the ECS. Unlike CBD, THC directly binds to CB1 receptors – a modulator of neurotransmitter release that is widely dispersed in the brain.
This relationship with our ECS is why THC produces psychotropic effects and CBD doesn’t.
Even more so, due to this interaction, THC may have benefits not found in CBD, including:
Therefore, depending on your health condition, you may benefit more from recreational or medical marijuana than you would a CBD product.
Benefits of CBD and THC Combined
When we combine THC with CBD, we’re offered a number of potential benefits neither could provide on their own. The most notable of these is known as the entourage effect.
Simply put, the entourage effect is the belief that cannabis relies on principles of interdependence. In other words, the idea that everything operates in connection to everything else. Therefore, by incorporating the whole cannabis plant (rather than a single cannabinoid), you’re allowing cannabis’s potential medicinal properties to work in synergy with one another.
Through the entourage effect, cannabis may offer more therapeutic benefits. The most notable of which is with pain and inflammation. On their own, CBD and THC have both been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. When combined, however, these properties work tenfold.
It’s also worth noting that CBD actually has the ability to reverse the psychotropic effects of THC. Therefore, taking the two together will produce a milder “high” than THC does on its own.
Are CBD and THC Products Legal?
Federally speaking, CBD is 100% legal thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Within the document, it proclaims that CBD products are legal as long as they are derived from the hemp plant – a form of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.
In certain states, THC is either recreationally or medically (or both) legal. In these specific states, THC and CBD products are allowed, though some restrictions may apply. For example, in some states, you’ll need a medical marijuana card prescribed by a doctor in order to purchase these products.
Furthermore, some federally-legal CBD companies have been developing CBD and THC products of their own. They’re able to do this by extracting only hemp-derived THC or by incorporating federally legal forms of THC, such as delta-8.
In terms of the science, a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio is ideal for the entourage effect. This allows both major cannabinoids to work together and produce equal effects on the brain and body.
Still, we understand that not everyone has access to 1:1 CBD to THC products. Furthermore, some people may be looking for smaller amounts of THC in order to avoid overwhelming psychoactive effects.
Luckily, most federally legal CBD to THC products currently on the market have to favor CBD over THC in their ratio, simply due to legal limitations.
If you’re new to THC and are looking to start small, we recommend a 5:1 CBD to THC ratio. This will likely provide you with a mild “buzz” while also promoting the relaxation effects of both cannabinoids.
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If you use THC regularly (more than once a week), you’ve likely developed a tolerance to it. Therefore, you’ll likely prefer a 4:1 or 3:1 CBD to THC ratio. We found this ratio to be a great balance as THC’s effects were more noticeable but still weren’t too overwhelming.
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You also may come across 2:1 CBD to THC ratios. Since these come in a much higher concentration of THC, we recommend them to those who use cannabis regularly (at least once a day) or those who found little relief from previously discussed products.
CBD to THC Ratio for Health Conditions
Beyond experience levels, it’s important to consider your health condition when determining the best ratios. As mentioned, CBD and THC have different effects allowing for varying forms of relief. For this reason, people with one health condition may benefit more from higher THC to CBD ratios than those struggling with another condition, regardless of experience.
This is clearly identifiable when we look into CBD:THC ratios for pain. While both cannabinoids are effective, more research has suggested that THC is more suitable. Therefore, a 1:1 or 1:2 CBD to THC ratio will likely benefit someone looking to use these products for pain.
The same can be said for those looking for a THC:CBD ratio for sleep as both cannabinoids have their benefits for these disorders.
In another example is when considering the best THC:CBD ratio for anxiety. Admittedly, THC’s psychotropic effects can cause paranoia – making it a problem for some people with anxiety. In such cases, a 1:5 THC to CBD ratio is ideal.
We found the same to be true when looking into the best CBD:THC ratio for depression. While THC doesn’t cause depression, those with the mental health condition are more likely to abuse cannabis. Therefore, higher rates of CBD are likely more suitable for people of this category.
Due to the complex relationship between the human body and cannabis, we highly recommend researching which cannabinoids show higher promise in helping your condition. From there, you can find a product that’s best suited for your circumstances.
It’s going to take some experimenting around before you find the best CBD to THC ratio for you. Due to this, we recommend starting small and working your way up. This will give you an idea of how these cannabinoids make you feel and how much of each is suitable for your relief.
Due to the legality of THC, we also suggest taking a deeper look into the laws of your state. If you’re in a recreational or medicinal state, you’ll likely come across products with more THC than CBD. These may also be more ideal for your situation.
Still, beyond all this, there’s no denying that the cannabis plant works best when all cannabinoids work in synergy. For this reason, we highly recommend giving THC to CBD products a try over CBD products alone.
Paul James is a seasoned cannabis and CBD writer and expert. He is a mental health blogger who advocates CBD as a natural alternative to prescription medications. You can read more about this and other natural alternatives on his blog: https://bedlamite.co/."
Frequently Asked Questions
A 1:1 THC to CBD ratio is an equal balance of both cannabinoids. For example, if a 1:1 product contains 25mg of THC, it will also have 25mg of CBD.
The best THC to CBD ratio ultimately depends on your experience level and health condition. For example, someone looking to use these products for anxiety may prefer a 1:5 THC to CBD ratio. Whereas someone struggling with chronic pain may prefer a 5:1 THC to CBD ratio. In order to get a better idea of what ratio is best for you, we recommend doing research on these cannabinoids and how they may affect your health condition.
When it comes to pain, we found a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio to be ideal. However, if you live in a state where legal, you may prefer a 2:1 or higher THC to CBD ratio.