Cannabis plants contain more than 120 different phytocannabinoids. These phytocannabinoids act on the endocannabinoid system, which keeps the body in homeostasis or in balance.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the best-researched and most popular phytocannabinoids. CBD and THC can be taken in different ways, separately or together.
However, some research suggests that taking them together - along with smaller organic compounds in the cannabis plant called terpenes or terpenoids - is more effective than taking CBD or THC alone.
This is due to an interaction between phytocannabinoids and terpenes called the “entourage effect”.
So does this mean you should take CBD and THC together, or do they work just as well when taken separately?
What does the research say?
Taking phytocannabinoids and terpenes together can provide additional therapeutic benefits
A number of diseases have been studied in connection with the entourage effect. A 2011 review of studies published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking terpenes and phytocannabinoids together can be beneficial in:
- fungal infection
CBD can help reduce the unwanted effects of THC
Some people experience side effects such as anxiety, hunger, and sedation after taking THC. Rat and human studies, which were covered in the same 2011 review, suggest that CBD may help reduce these side effects.
Phytochemicals like terpenes and flavonoids could have positive effects on brain health
Research from 2018 found that certain flavonoids and terpenes can have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. The researchers suggested that these compounds have the therapeutic potential of CBD oil could improve.
More research is needed
Like much of what we know about medical cannabis, the entourage effect is just a well-founded theory right now. And not all research has found evidence to support this theory.
In a 2019 study, six common terpenes were tested both alone and in combination. The researchers found that the effects of THC on the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 were not altered by the addition of terpenes.
That doesn't mean the entourage effect definitely doesn't exist. It just means that more research is needed. It is possible that terpenes may interact with THC elsewhere in the brain or in the body, or in other ways.
What is the best ratio of THC to CBD?
While THC and CBD may work better together than alone, it's important to remember that cannabis affects everyone differently - and everyone has different goals when it comes to cannabis use.
A person with Crohn's disease who uses cannabis-based medicine to relieve nausea will likely have a different ideal ratio of THC to CBD than a weekend warrior who uses it for muscle pain. There isn't one dosage or one ratio that works for everyone.
If you want to try taking CBD and THC, the first thing you should do is speak to your doctor. He or she may be able to give you a recommendation and tell you about possible drug interactions if you are taking them.
Also, keep in mind that both THC and CBD can have side effects. THC is psychoactive and can cause fatigue, dry mouth, slow reaction times, short-term memory loss, and anxiety in some people. CBD flowers can cause side effects such as weight changes, nausea and diarrhea.
Another important point to note is that marijuana is illegal at the federal level, but legal in some states. If you want to try a product that contains THC, the first thing to do is to find out about the laws of your place of residence.
Is CBD useful without THC?
Some people don't want to take THC but are interested in CBD. There is still plenty of research out there suggesting that CBD can be useful even without THC.
If you're trying out CBD but don't want to consume THC, look for a CBD isolate product rather than a full-range CBD product. Full-range CBD retailers contain a wide range of cannabinoids and can contain up to 0,2 percent THC. While that's not enough to induce high, it could still be noticed on a drug test.
Before you buy, be sure to check the ingredients to make sure you are getting what you want.
It is believed that cannabinoids and terpenoids in cannabis interact both with each other and with receptors in the brain. This interaction is known as the “entourage effect”.
There is some evidence that taking THC and CBD together is more effective than taking it alone because of the entourage effect.
However, the entourage effect is still a theory. More research is needed on the cannabis plant and its chemical makeup before we can understand the full extent of its potential medicinal benefits.