Why CBD works best when supplemented with a small dose of THC (even if you dont want to get high)
While Cannabis based medicines and wellness products are enjoying an unprecedented surge in popularity and use, this new industry promoting an age old plant has perpetuated some less than ideal misinformation. This has come from the swathes of shady operators selling CBD products in a largely unregulated market. Which is a shame given the real medicinal potential of Cannabis for pain relief.
Project CBD is a charity dedicated to spreading awareness for the evidence-based understanding of Cannabidiol, backed by science. It has produced a list of misconceptions that have taken hold, one of which is that ‘CBD is medicinal and THC is recreational’.
This takes away a lot of the potential for medicinal Cannabis’s true potential, which according to experts may be rooted in getting the correct ratio of CBD to THC needed for what’s being treated.
The history of these compounds
Earlier in the 20th century Cannabis contained far less THC than it does now, and a lot more CBD. However as tastes changed so did breeders who begun competing to create more and more potent strains, as potency in terms of THC content had become the key in determining the price of their products. So Cannabis cultivating went into overdrive geared towards the production of high-THC strains and CBD was almost bread out of existence. Project CBD was founded over ten years ago, in 2009, when no one had heard of CBD. The founders took a close look at the small body of research to suggest that CBD has high medical potential but is in danger of never making it out of the super niche it was in. They acted upon this by enlisting the help of newly formed Californian Cannabis labs to identify the last few strains of Cannabis rich in CBD and work to make them available to growers, researchers, and patients.
Fast forward ten years and it’s quite hard to avoid CBD, the problem in the UK is that CBD is now the one available in isolation. Apart from the tiny portion of patients who have been granted access to medical Cannabis with a GP’s prescription, THC above a negligible amount remains illegal.
All up-to-date research is clear in that the whole cannabis plant extract is always superior to isolated compounds on account of the plants complex make up of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavinoids that all interact to create what’s known as the ‘entourage effect’ which enhances the therapeutic effects.
- A study undertaken at the California Pacific Medical Centre in San Francisco found that combining THC and CBD notably better than a pure THC extract
- A 2010 study found that patients with intractable cancer-related pain tolerated medicines that combined THC and CBD notably better than a pure THC extract
- A 2012 study in the journal of Psychopharmacology found that CBD inhibits THC-elicited paranoid symptoms and hippocampal-dependent memory impairment’
Getting the dose right
Lots of people enjoy the mood lifting, creativity inspiring, psychoactivity of Cannabis, and find it has healing properties as a whole plant. The point is however, you don’t need a large dose of THC at all to achieve these benefits.
Finding the optimal dose is a problem that no entrepnuer or corporation seems to have solved yet, and is still down to the individual trial and error. Although the technology is getting there through a myriad of products containing both THC and CBD. Not to forget strains that deliver a more equal balance of CBD to THC.