Cannabidiol (CBD) has been praised for its therapeutic abilities. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, experiencing chronic pain, or are simply trying to ease inflammation, the amount of medical properties research has found within CBD is truly staggering. However, did you know, CBD actually works best when it’s consumed with other cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids – scientifically referred to as phytocannabinoids – are groups of closely related compounds that come from the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC. Most cannabinoids have been found to have medicinal properties, many of which are similar to one another.
For example, both CBD and THC have been found to ease chronic pain. Interestingly, they do so in different ways. THC binds itself to our CB1 receptors which, in turn, blocks pain receptors from entering the brain. Whereas CBD has a way of balancing out our endocannabinoid system which, in turn, eases pain receptors when there’s a large influx. ¹
As you can see, the combination of these two cannabinoids in and of themselves can do a whole lot for helping people with chronic pain. And this is only scratching the surface.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look into why CBD is better with a little THC.
Misconceptions of THC
Since CBD has found mainstream popularity, there’s been one major misconception when it comes to its relation with THC. It’s usually something along the lines of, “CBD is medicinal, THC is recreational.”
Part of this issue comes from cannabis farmers themselves. As the medicinal marijuana revolution was overtaking America, more and more growers were developing plants high in THC and low in CBD. This explains why nobody had even known what CBD was till ten years ago.
Project CBD, an organization founded in 2009, was well aware of this trend and believed it was discourteous towards medical cannabis patients. At that time, many were being told THC was the answer even though CBD had a long history of medicinal value. ² In fact, everyone was so set on THC that CBD was almost bred out of existence.
The thing is, there are two sides of the coin to this problem. On one hand, you have marijuana activists who praise THC’s psychoactivity and are pushing for cannabis with higher amounts of it. On the other, you have governmental institutions still pushing prohibition on the public, claiming cannabis to be a dangerous substance.
Both cases are only putting more spotlight on THC and completely ignoring all the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. And, most importantly, both sides aren’t revealing how those cannabinoids can have superior medicinal value when combined.
Why CBD is Better with THC
Science has already shown that when people consume whole-plant (sometimes referred to as full-spectrum) cannabis preparations, there’s an “entourage effect” that enhances the medicinal values of cannabis. This is because of the complex relationship between various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
A few studies that shine a light on this phenomenon include:
- The California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that the combination of THC and CBD creates more potent anti-tumor effects after being tested on brain cancer and breast cancer patients. These patients were also tested with single compounds (CBD or THC alone) and found that the combination had more inhibiting abilities. ³
- In a 2010 study, researchers looked into how cannabis can inhibit pain in cancer patients. It was found that when THC and CBD were combined, they caused more pain relief than THC in and of itself. ⁴
- The Journal of Psychopharmacology found that CBD has the ability to inhibit THC-related paranoid symptoms and hippocampal-dependent memory impairment. ⁵
The science is quite clear, CBD works better when it’s mixed with THC. However, we understand those looking to medicate with cannabis aren’t always looking to get stoned. And with that said, we believe there is a sweet spot for everyone.
Trying CBD and THC: Trial and Error
Plenty out there love the high that comes along with marijuana. And hearing news that CBD works better with THC may just be another reason to light up a joint and enjoy the psychoactivity.
However, we understand that not everyone enjoys a marijuana high. Furthermore, we’re well aware that many of you out there may feel paranoid upon smoking cannabis and have even avoided using CBD products containing just traces of THC.
Still, if you’re willing, we guarantee you can find the sweet spot when it comes to THC and CBD. All it’s going to take is a little experimentation.
As we tell everyone with CBD products, start small and work your way up. And when we say small, we mean very small. Maybe as little as 1mg of THC a day. Though this may cause minor psychoactivity, the medicinal benefits over time can be enormous.
In the words of Project CBD:
“The successful use of cannabis as a medicine depends to a great extent on managing its psychoactive properties. The goal is to administer consistent, measurable doses of a CBD-rich cannabis remedy with as much THC as a person is comfortable with… Preclinical science lends credence to the notion that a small amount of THC can confer health benefits. Oral administration of a low dose of THC (1 mg/day) resulted in ‘significant inhibition of disease progression’ in an animal model of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), according to a 2005 report in Nature, which noted: ‘This effective dose is lower than the dose usually associated with psychotropic effects of THC.’” ⁶
At the end of the day, the real question is whether or not you even have legal access to THC. Unfortunately, it isn’t available everywhere and we’re not suggesting you break the law simply to give cannabis’s medicinal properties a try.
However, if you are lucky enough to live in a state that has legalized cannabis (or are able to obtain a legal medicinal cannabis card), we highly recommend you give THC and CBD a shot. Even if just for a short time.