CBD & THC Explained
Most potent cannabis strains contain CBD & THC, 2 dominant cannabinoids found in cannabis flowers. They interact with our endocannabinoid system, which comprises of cannabinoid receptors; CB1 receptors found mostly in the brain, and CB2 receptors found mostly beneath the neck.
THC is known to mostly affect CB1 receptors, causing a head high, while CBD most affects CB2 receptors, causing a relaxation beneath the neck. Until recently, we didn’t understand the relationship between these 2 key cannabinoids, and how they can work in synergy. Recent cannabis culture has focused on either one or the other, without considering the importance of keeping CBD and THC together during cannabis consumption. Fortunately, key cannabis advocates and researchers are helping us understand how to maintain a healthy relationship with cannabis, and even how to enhance the potency of cannabis.
The Entourage Effect
The Entourage Effect is one example of how the effects of cannabis don’t just rely on a large concentration of CBD or THC. It suggests that cannabis compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, work together to produce a better effect than when taken alone. The theory is nothing new, the same phenomenon is experienced when looking at our absorption of beneficial compounds from fruits and vegetables compared to isolated vitamins.
Our endocannabinoid system is incredibly complex, and studies are showing that it's important to consume as many cannabis compounds that are naturally found together to enhance the effects.
CBD Can Increase THC Potency
In 2019, a team of Australian researchers tested the effects of high THC, high CBD and THC with CBD together on 36 individuals to observe the effects. The study revealed interesting information that seems to undermine popular notions about CBD and cannabis “high”.
The participants included those with zero to daily cannabis use, and each were given 5 doses of varying concentrations of cannabis. They were given:
- A Placebo
- THC alone (8mg)
- High-CBD alone (400mg)
- THC & low-CBD (8mg & 4mg) - similar to average cannabis
- THC & high-CBD (12mg & 400mg)
The findings seem to dispel the popular notion that CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects, perhaps something that is often reported due to the lack of tests on doses as large as 400mg CBD.
The findings interestingly showed that CBD enhanced the effects of THC, causing a more potent high. Participants observed that the high from taking 8mg THC & 4mg CBD was stronger than the high experienced from 8mg THC on its own. This indicates that in low doses, CBD might actually enhance the psychoactive effects of THC. The researchers confirmed the feelings of the participants by finding increased THC concentration in blood plasma. The effect was found to be “most prominent in the infrequent users”.
High Doses Of CBD Can Make You Feel High
The researchers also found that participants were reacting rather unexpectedly to the 400mg CBD doses - they were reporting the effects of being high, despite the lack of THC. This is rather interesting, as the mainstream notion is that CBD does not get people high, if anything it can act as a CB1 agonist and prevent the high feeling. In the paper, the researchers say that participants “felt intoxicated due to distinct feelings of depersonalization, derealization and altered internal and external perceptions”.
Interestingly, we’ve observed through personal experience that high doses of CBD, especially with edibles, can achieve a light dreamy state without being stoned. In order to get 400mg of CBD with our Cola Gummies, you would have to take 10 of them.
CBD Can Reduce Unwanted Effects Of THC
In large doses, CBD can act as a CB1 agonist, reducing the effect of the head high THC can cause. Now that THC levels in cannabis are significantly higher than they’ve ever been, many cannabis users are taking to mixing CBD with their THC use in order to experience calmer, potentially healthier highs. Most veteran cannabis users will tout the mixing of CBD with THC as the secret to enjoying daily cannabis without experiencing occasional, or even regular anxiety and dissociation.
This makes sense when you consider the compounds that are found in the original “landrace” cannabis strains. The average THC percentage in cannabis found in the 1980s was 4%, however modern cannabis strains are often higher than 15%. We haven’t evolved to handle such high concentrations of this psychoactive compound, which is why we advise considering supplementing high THC use with equally high CBD.
Phytochemicals, Terpenes & Flavonoids
Beyond using CBD to enhance your experience with THC, there are several other cannabis compounds that demonstrate a synergistic relationship. Cannabis terpenes, which are what give certain cannabis strains their smell and flavor, have been observed to have effects on the potency of CBD and THC. Some terpenes, such as myrcene which is the dominant terpene found in Granddaddy Purple CBD wax, is known for its sleepy effects. Myrcene is even touted to increase the potency of THC, which is why people often say that eating a mango before or after smoking weed can make you more high. Myrcene is a tropical tasting terpene found in mangos as well as cannabis.
Other terpenes such as Limonene are known for their more elevating, energizing effects. It is found in Lemon Drop CBD wax and is an in house favorite for morning vaping due to the effects it has on our productivity.
More recently, researchers have been looking into the potential synergistic effects of cannabis flavonoids. Simply put, flavonoids are the chemical in cannabis that cause the non green colors that appear on the flowers. There are different types of flavonoids such as Anthocyanin, the most common in cannabis for causing red and purple colors. Their antioxidant properties are already well reported, but researchers are now looking into their effect on cannabinoids, and correlations between flavonoid concentrations and concentrations of other cannabis compounds.
Tips For Trying CBD & THC
For those that are interested in enhancing their experience with THC by using CBD, we recommend choosing a health method, such as vaping or edibles to get started. Vaping CBD flowers mixed with THC can potentially increase the potency of THC like the participants in the study above experienced.
Another popular way to include CBD into a THC regime is by using CBD extracts. These include CBD waxes, CBD shatters and even the brand new CBD Diamonds & Sauce. Extracts can be vaporized, dabbed, smoked, and even cooked with. They are incredibly concentrated and work out to be the most economical cannabis product. Most cannabis users who smoke find that crumbling some CBD concentrate into a joint is the easiest way to balance out their high.
If you’re looking to take a large dose of CBD, similar to the participants in the above study that managed to achieve an almost “high” state, we recommend looking at CBD gummies. We suggest CBD gummies because they are very concentrated and allow you to take huge doses of CBD without having to inhale a lot of cannabis.