As the legal use of cannabis and its derivatives continues to grow, consumers are becoming increasingly curious about their options. This includes both CBD and THC, two natural cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While THC is notorious for its psychoactive effects, CBD is touted for its therapeutic benefits. For this reason, CBD is a lot more popular from a health point of view.
CBD is available in a variety of different forms – tinctures, lotions, capsules, food and drinks, and lots more. Not only can you find it in dispensaries; you can also find CBD in coffee shops, grocery stores, cocktail bars, and all kinds of establishments looking to capitalize on the latest health and wellness trends.
If you’ve done any sort of research on CBD, you will probably know that there are two standard terms used to define CBD products; full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum products contain traces of THC (along with other compounds), while CBD isolate is pure CBD – meaning it doesn’t contain any other cannabinoids or compounds.
So why is this important? Well, recent research suggests that CBD is more effective when it is combined with traces of THC.
Why Your CBD Should Contain a Little THC
THC and CBD are the two primary cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The two can have quite different effects, the most crucial distinction being that CBD doesn’t make users high, while THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient of cannabis.
CBD is currently being researched for its potential use in a host of different medical conditions. For instance, it has shown a lot of promise for its powerful antipsychotic properties in human trials of treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
In May 2017, a clinical trial tested the effects of CBD on the debilitating epileptic condition, Dravet’s Syndrome. The study found that CBD reduced seizures by 50% in 43% of subjects who were administered the medication. The trial prompted the FDA to approve a CBD oral solution known as Epidiolex, predominantly for seizure cases, in June 2018.
CBD is also being considered as a treatment option for depression, anxiety, pain, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, addiction, head trauma, and more.
It’s safe to say that as a stand-alone compound, CBD has a very impressive resume. However, it’s essential that we don’t forget about its close relative, THC. There is a reason to believe that CBD may be most effective when consumed with a little THC.
A growing body of research explains that cannabis compounds work together with each other to produce synergistic health effects. It’s known as the entourage effect.
Explaining the Entourage Effect
The general idea is that cannabis is greater than the sum of its parts. What this means is that while each cannabinoid may be potent on its own, mixing them together can produce different effects. In other words, the therapeutic benefits of CBD may be amplified by the presence of even a little THC.
THC and CBD are just two of over 100 cannabinoids the cannabis plant produces. Whole-plant medicine suggests that using full-plant extracts and flowers that contain a wide range of cannabis compounds is preferable to using just one compound on its own.
The best available scientific studies make it clear that whole-plant cannabis extracts are superior to single compounds because the complex mix of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes interact synergistically to produce the entourage effect.
It’s now accepted that using CBD together with THC reduces the psychoactive properties of the latter cannabinoid. CBD can also be useful in lessening the appetite-inducing and sedative effects of THC.
Ultimately, the entourage effect is the idea that all the compounds of cannabis work together in harmony to produce more sophisticated effects.
What Research Says About CBD and THC
According to multiple studies, CBD is more effective when used together with THC. Here’s an overview of a few of the studies that demonstrate CBD is working together with THC to produce desired results.
- A study at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported that combining CBD and THC produces more potent anti-tumor effects.
- A 2010 study discovered that patients with intractable cancer-related pain were able to tolerate medicines that combined CBD and THC notably better than a pure THC extract.
- A 2012 study for the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that CBD inhibits THC-elicited paranoid symptoms and hippocampal-dependent memory impairment.
Both THC and CBD have value. But a lot more research is necessary to determine when these cannabinoids are best used together and when it might be best to keep them separate. However, it is clear that the two are an excellent match.
CBD vs. THC: Medical Benefits
THC and CBD have many of the same medical benefits. They can offer relief for many of the same conditions. However, CBD doesn’t cause any of the euphoric or psychoactive effects that occur when using THC. For this reason, some people prefer to use CBD.
People typically use CBD to help in the treatment of anxiety, pain, nausea, psychosis, or mental health disorders, inflammation, and migraines. THC is often used to help with conditions such as muscle spasticity, insomnia, low appetite, glaucoma, nausea, anxiety, and pain.
When used together, the two are likely to provide enhanced effects that are more effective in relieving many of the symptoms associated with the above conditions.
Final Thoughts: Why You Need a Little THC
THC and CBD both have medical benefits. Humans have been using whole plant medicines since the beginning of time – and CBD is part of this tradition. Originally, many people believed that pure CBD was a lot more effective than full-spectrum CBD – CBD products that contain traces of THC. However, recent research has revealed that the two compounds are often more effective when used together.
Patients looking to give their CBD supplements an extra boost should definitely consider adding a little THC to the mix.