How THC and CBD Interact

Date: September 7, 2022

The number of states legalizing medical and/or recreational cannabis is on the rise, as well as the demand for product with the highest percentage of THC. 25 years after the first state  legalized medical cannabis, average THC percentage in cannabis products has risen over four times while the CBD percentage has been slowly declining. Although the high from THC is what most people are chasing, it should be known that THC alone is not as beneficial compared to what it can do when paired with CBD. Actually, having both THC and CBD are classified as being chemotype 2 products, types of cannabis that are grouped by its most prevalent cannabinoid (i.e. THC and CBD).  Medically speaking, consuming chemotype 2 cannabis products  have a better chance of increasing the therapeutics effect while preventing uncomfortable intoxication.


The Endocannabinoid System

THC and CBD found within cannabis products affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS) within your body.  In this system, there are receptors, molecules within cells that interact with various substances. The ECS contains CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors control your five senses, movement, speech, and alertness. CB2 receptors control the immune system and the organs outside of the brain and spinal cord. Substances consumed, specifically cannabinoids like THC and CBD, can fit like a key on these receptors, however, these locks (receptors) can accept more than one key (substances), but some happen to fit better than others. When THC is consumed, it fits well with the CB1 receptor to cause an effect on the body, including that high feeling. CBD also fits with the CB1 receptor; however, it doesn’t fit as well as THC and it stops the effects of THC in certain amounts. 


How THC and CBD Interact With Each Other


Entourage Effect

When consumed at once, there are substances that can increase therapeutic benefits when taken with another. THC is known to work synergistically with CBD, as well as several other constituents and cannabinoids (terpenes, CBN, CBG, etc.), via the entourage effect. In cannabis, the entourage effect is when all the components within cannabis work together as a whole to increase effects and increase the how well THC works in the body. When ingested or smoked together, THC and CBD can be more protective of the body better than THC alone. Because of its strong binding affinity to the CB1 receptors, which means it attaches strongly, THC can cause effects with smaller doses. When too much THC is taken, it can cause anxiety, confusion, paranoia, trouble thinking, and sedation (also known as “couch lock”). When CBD is taken with THC, it blocks some of those unwanted effects by displacing some of the THC on the CB1 receptors. This potentially avoids an undesirable experience.


Beneficial for Brain Health

THC and CBD have many health benefits, including their antioxidant effects. Antioxidants can make molecules that are harmful to the healthy cells less harmful. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD may reduce the damage and death of brain cells, preserving the brain’s function. They both can have ways for protecting the brain in different doses. CBD alone has its more neuroprotective (protection of nerve cells) qualities than CBD. By itself, THC in extreme doses can cause excessive concentration in your bloodstream and create neurological issues, whereas CBD can lessen them as brain protection.  When there are higher doses of CBD than THC, this can create health benefits on the brain. In fact, in a review of studies done examining the effects of cannabis on Alzheimer’s disease, it was found that using CBD and THC together was more effective in possibly treating and preventing the disease than using CBD by itself.


Medicinal Qualities

Due to its action on the central nervous system, THC and CBD express their effects on the sensation of pain. Since THC attaches upon the CB1 receptor that can regulate pain, it can reduce pain by activating the receptors within the nerve cells. Although THC has some action on the CB2 receptors, it is primarily acted on by CBD. The activity on the CB2 receptors is just as important because the receptors are also located within the immune system. This means that the CB2 receptors manage inflammatory responses, which is usually the origin pain. If CBD can reduce the inflammation that causes pain, especially with chronic pain, this may eventually reduce the pain and other signs of inflammation such as redness, swelling, and heat.

Way to control your ‘high’

Whether you are new to cannabis or an experienced user, the highs and sensations from different products should be just right. Occasionally, there’s a realization that too much product was taken and the effects are unpleasant. Luckily, CBD can balance out those unwanted effects. When THC attaches to the CB1 receptor, it will act as an agonist, meaning it stimulates an action. CBD can attach to the CB1 as well, however, it is an antagonist on this receptor so it stops an action from occurring. So if there is ever a time where you feel hazier than expected, consuming CBD can level out the THC to experience a more pleasant high.


THC and CBD have their separate functions and beneficial qualities. They can be used to even out that high feeling in the form of tinctures or or they can considerably increase relief in certain medical conditions. These days, finding cannabis products that feature both cannabinoids can be found more easily no matter your preferred method of consumption. Whatever reasons there may be for using cannabis, THC and CBD can greatly increase your experience with the plant in its many forms.


Products with THC and CBD at Jamestown Dispensary

Edibles: Wyld: Strawberry- CBD:THC 20:1

Concentrate: Core Concentrates Cream Soma High CBD RSO

Cartridges: Canna Hemp Sunset Sherbert Terp FX Vape

Topical: Green Halo 1:1 High CBD Ointment 2OZ



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ElSohly, M. A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S., Gon, C., Chandra, S., & Church, J. C. (2016). Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States. Biological psychiatry, 79(7), 613–619.

Hampson, A. J., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J., & Wink, D. (1998). Cannabidiol and (−)Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95(14), 8268–8273.

Kim, S. H., Yang, J. W., Kim, K. H., Kim, J. U., & Yook, T. H. (2019). A Review on Studies of Marijuana for Alzheimer's Disease - Focusing on CBD, THC. Journal of pharmacopuncture, 22(4), 225–230.

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