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How CBD counteracts THC

Cannabis is a plant made up of hundreds of chemical compounds referred to as cannabinoids.

There are over 100 cannabinoids that have been found to cause different effects. The most common and sought after cannabinoids in cannabis are ‘CBD’ and ‘THC’.

These cannabinoids share a nuanced and special relationship and both have very different effects. CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is seen as the cannabinoid that obtains the most healing benefits.

It is non-intoxicating and has been granted limited FDA approval in the production of ‘Epidiolex’.

Epidiolex is a cannabis-derived drug that was created to treat intractable epilepsy. It is also non-psychoactive.

THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, on the other hand, is psychoactive and is said to produce…

  • euphoric,
  • amusing,
  • relaxing effects.

However, THC is found to have some undesirable effects, provoking paranoia and panic in inexperienced/unprepared users.

CBD as an anti-anxiety mechanism

CBD is found to have calming excess signalling and activity in the brain’s endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system refers to a biological network of cannabidiol receptor proteins and compounds that bind to them.

Cannabinoids like CBD link and attach to these receptor proteins and a variety of effects from euphoria to anxiety are created.

CBD has been described to have a ‘dimming effect’ on feelings of stress and anxiety.

Furthermore, CBD is thought to alter the way our brain’s receptors respond to vital chemicals linked to mental health like serotonin.

CBD even helps combat social/public speaking anxiety and is thought to have a calming effect on mood fluctuations.

This can be viewed to have the opposite effect of the psychoactive cannabinoid of THC.

Mixing CBD with THC

Combining CBD and THC offers a multitude of benefits.

Although the two cannabinoids are seen to have opposite effects, they undoubtedly work harmoniously side-by-side in taming the often ‘un-tame’ high sensation.

These cannabinoids can be combined by sourcing a strain of cannabis that features equal parts of THC and CBD.

These varieties provide a sufficient level of THC to provoke a person’s CB1 receptors alongside adequate levels of CBD to prevent adverse effects of paranoia and panic.

CBD-rich strains of cannabis are also available for users that are extra sensitive to the adverse effects of THC.

Although both cannabinoids are still in effect, the ‘high’ sensation usually experienced is described to be diluted or reduced.

CBD oils can also be used to reduce the adverse or negative effects of THC. These effects may become apparent whilst smoking or vaping a strain of cannabis high in THC.

In this way, CBD oil can be used to regulate the high throughout the smoking, vaping or eating process.

This can be done by placing drops of CBD under the tongue and waiting for them to be absorbed.

CBD oil can also be used as a ‘buffer’ prior to the smoking/vaping process by taking a few drops to avoid the later potential psychoactive effects of THC.

This method of combing the two cannabinoids enables a person to more adequately control the dose of cannabis being taken.

Does CBD counteract THC?

There is evidence to suggest that CBD does in-fact, counteract THC.

However, as discussed previously, the two cannabinoids are seen to work harmoniously together rather than in conflict.

It is clear that combining CBD with THC offers a more pleasant experience than experiencing the two molecules separately.

CBD’s counter effect on the psychoactive THC is particularly evident in relation to medicinal cannabis users who seek the medicinal benefits of cannabis yet experience negative side effects from THC.

In a study on this published in ‘Front Psychology’, an analysis was provided and showed that CBD can be neuroprotective and therefore, can counteract with the negative side effects of THC.

Furthermore, CBD’s interaction and relationship with THC is an example of the “entourage effect”.

The “entourage effect” refers to when all cannabinoids and terpenoids (a modified class of terpenes) present in a specimen of cannabis contribute to the overall effect in a collective manner.

In this way, CBD and THC can coexist and are available as a viable treatment option for everyone including those who are susceptible to the adverse effects of THC.

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