Benefits Of CBD And THC Together & The Entourage Effect

Table of Content

Cannabis is a plant with many potential therapeutic benefits.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoids found in cannabis, and both offer unique benefits. Some people believe that using CBD and THC together offers the best results, an effect known as the entourage effect.

In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of CBD and THC together and discuss what the entourage effect is.

We'll also look at some studies that have examined this phenomenon. Keep reading to learn more and how to shop for high-quality cannabis extract products that contain both CBD and THC legally.

Key Takeaways:

  • CBD and THC are naturally found in the cannabis plant and are the two main chemical compounds interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system.
  • Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. The psychoactive nature of THC makes it an undesirable option for many users when taken in larger doses. However, CBD may help counteract some of THC's psychoactive effects.
  • CBD and THC can still work on their own, but research strongly suggests that combining CBD and THC lends to more profound potential health benefits.
  • The entourage effect describes cannabis plant synergy where all the cannabinoids and terpenes work together for a more potent and well-balanced effect profile.
  • Always read third-party lab reports to find out your product's cannabinoid content and safety before using it.

What Exactly Are CBD And THC?

CBD and THC are two of the most well-known cannabinoids, but what exactly are they?

Cannabinoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).

This system plays a role in many physiological processes, including pain perception, immune function, appetite, mood, and memory.

CBD and THC are the two major cannabinoids, but there are over 100 different chemicals in the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids are structurally similar to endocannabinoids produced by the body and can bind to certain receptors to exert effects.

What Is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

CBD is a compound found in both hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike THC, CBD doesn't have mind-altering effects that cause intoxication. Instead, it's been shown to work on CB2 receptors found mostly in the immune system.

CBD is thought to have several therapeutic benefits, including regulating mood and the immune system response. It's also being studied as a potential treatment for various other conditions, such as chronic pain, seizures, and addiction [1].

While there's only one FDA-approved CBD pharmaceutical on the market, you can find CBD products taking the health and wellness space by storm. Many people incorporate CBD oil into their lifestyles to support sleep, stress, muscle recovery, and brain health.

Current evidence suggests that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated in healthy humans. As research continues, we will likely learn even more about the potential applications of this powerful compound.

What Is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)?

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive component in marijuana plants. In other words, it's what gets you high.

THC is found in both hemp and marijuana plants, but it's only present in trace amounts in hemp (up to 0.3%). The legal history of THC is complicated, but suffice it to say that this compound does have potential medicinal benefits.

For example, THC has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and improve the symptoms of certain neurological disorders like epilepsy [2]. 

Some states have medical cannabis programs that allow patients to use high THC ratio cannabis plants to support difficult-to-treat conditions.

However, more research is needed to determine the full extent of THC's medical benefits. So while THC may not be completely legal just yet, it's certainly worth keeping an eye on this compound's potential therapeutic applications.

Because of THC's psychoactive effects, it's not appropriate to use in many cases—as it has the potential to negatively affect mental health and neurological function. However, small amounts of THC found naturally in hemp plants and full spectrum CBD oils do show to enhance CBD products in a phenomenon called the entourage effect.

Is CBD Oil With THC Legal?

The legalities of cannabis products are a hot topic and can be a tricky space to navigate for first-time users.

CBD oil derived from hemp plants maintaining less than 0.3% delta-9 THC by dried weight is federally legal. Marijuana plants, by contrast, contain more than 0.3% delta-9 and remain illegal in the United States, except in several states that have legalized the plant for medical and recreational use.

So as long as your CBD products that contain THC come from industrial hemp crops and contains under 0.3% THC, you're in the clear.

The Cannabis Plant & The Entourage Effect

The cannabis plant has a long history of use in spiritual ceremonies and as medicine. However, it wasn't until the late 1960s that the scientific community began understanding how the cannabis Sativa plant produced such profound effects by discovering cannabinoids [3].

The discovery of cannabinoid compounds in the cannabis Sativa plant led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) present in all mammals—which we now understand as a cell-signaling system that helps to maintain homeostasis in the body.

Cannabinoids interact in the body's endocannabinoid system through receptors (CB1 and CB2), enzymes, and endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol). The molecular shapes of the cannabinoids give us an idea of their pharmacology in this system.

The thing is, the scientific community estimates that the cannabis Sativa plant has over 100 cannabinoids that interact with this system—our current understanding of the two cannabinoids, CBD and THC, are just the beginning of the plant's potential benefits.

Cannabis researchers believe that while CBD and THC have very impressive potential health benefits on their own, the compounds are best taken when combined with minor cannabinoids and terpenes, closely resembling the plant's natural state.

Research suggests that the synergistic effects of the many active chemical compounds in cannabis help to amplify and balance the effects of THC and CBD. This is what's commonly referred to as the entourage effect [3].

What CBD To THC Ratio Is Best?

There's no straightforward answer to the best cannabinoid ratio for THC and CBD because every individual's levels for their body's natural endocannabinoids, lifestyle, and genetics play important factors in how cannabinoids affect them.

Unless you live in a state where marijuana products are legal, you'll likely only have access to hemp-derived CBD products. In which case, it can only contain up to 0.3% THC legally by dried weight.

While this isn't enough to illicit psychoactive effects, just a trace amount of THC is adequate for supporting the entourage effect.

Let's say you have access to marijuana products and are looking at full spectrum cannabis products at your local dispensary. Let's dive into some of the benefits of choosing CBD and THC together.

CBD Counteracts Some Of The Psychoactive Effects Of THC

CBD doesn't have psychoactive properties, and some of the undesired side effects of high THC cannabis products is that it can produce THC-elicited paranoid symptoms. Choosing a more well-balanced strain containing CBD can help to curb these uncomfortable effects.

CBD is thought to work by reducing the activity of the enzyme that metabolizes THC in the brain, which results in a more gradual and milder psychoactive effect.

CBD May Help to Increase The Anti-Inflammatory Potential Of THC

In states where medical marijuana programs are available, its prescribed for people managing epilepsy, chronic pain from multiple sclerosis, cancer, injuries, and anxiety disorders.

THC has been shown to reduce inflammation in animal models, while CBD has been shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines.

However, the beneficial effects of combining these two compounds have only recently been investigated. In a recent study, rats were treated with a combination of THC and CBD for three weeks. The rats showed a significant reduction in inflammatory markers, as well as a reduction in joint damage [4].

These findings suggest that the combination of THC and CBD may be more effective than either compound alone in reducing inflammation.

Benefits of CBD and THC Together: The Case For Full Spectrum CBD Oil

There are a lot of CBD and THC products out there—but if you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, steer clear of products labeled as "isolates."

CBD and THC isolate are essentially pure powered by the respective cannabinoids—they're often advertised as 99%+ pure. For CBD or THC to be isolated, the cannabis extract (either from hemp or marijuana) must undergo extra processing that removes all other beneficial compounds from the plant.

This includes chemical compounds like terpenes, which give cannabis its distinctive flavor and aroma, and minor cannabinoids, which support the entourage effect.

Manufacturers will often use CBD or THC isolate because they're cheaper to mass produce and have a longer shelf-life—but these don't have the same benefits as full spectrum products.

When shopping for hemp-derived CBD products, look for the terms "full-spectrum" or "whole hemp extracts."

These CBD products may contain up to 0.3% delta-9 THC and still remain legal, as per the 2018 Farm Bill—This minuscule THC content isn't strong enough to produce psychoactive effects, but it does contribute to the entourage effect.

Hemp Derived CBD Products Containing THC

Full spectrum CBD products contain the benefits of CBD and THC together—and these products in a wide variety of formats from oils, gummies, and topicals. And what works best is really a matter of preference.

This section will guide you through how to shop for full spectrum CBD products to ensure you're getting the experience and value's worth.

How To Know It's A Full Spectrum Product

Unfortunately, many fly-by-night companies in the CBD space are looking to make a quick buck. One of the ways they do this is advertising full spectrum on their products but only selling CBD isoalte extract.

The only way to verify what you're getting is to reference the product's certificate of analysis. This should be done with an accredited third-party lab to avoid biases. It should list the concentration of cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG, and up to 0.3% THC) along with cannabis terpenes.

If the certificate of analysis only lists CBD and nothing else, then you know you're not getting a full spectrum product.

Another thing to look for is contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, and mold. A complete report will screen for all of these things. So if you're looking for a full spectrum CBD product, make sure you do your research before purchasing.

Delta-8 THC Products

Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid that has only recently become available on the market.

Unlike delta-9 THC, which is the main active ingredient in marijuana, delta-8 THC is only found in trace amounts in the plant. However, thanks to recent advancements in extraction technology, it is now possible to isolate delta-8 THC from cannabis and concentrate it into a product.

Hemp cannabis extract enriched with delta-8 THC has many of the same effects as delta-9 THC. Many users enjoy it for its milder psychoactive effects, anti-inflammatory potential, for sleep support.

So if you're looking for a slightly different experience from traditional marijuana, give delta-8 THC a try.

Does CBD Work Without THC?

CBD without THC is still a beneficial compound.

CBD is known to mostly interact with CB2 cannabinoid receptors concentrated in the immune system, while THC is known to strongly interact with CB1 cannabinoid receptors abundant in the central nervous system.

If you're looking to avoid THC use altogether but want to leverage the benefits of the entourage effect, you can try broad spectrum CBD products.

Broad spectrum CBD oil still contains a range of minor cannabinois and terpenes but have undergone an extra processing step to isolate THC and filter it out for a 100% THC-free product.

The Takeaway: CBD And THC Combined For A More Robust Experience

Does CBD need THC to work? Not necessarily, but research suggests that they do offer greater potential cannabis synergy when combined.

The cannabis plant contains hundreds of compounds, including over 100 cannabinoids and terpenes that support a key cell-signaling system present in all mammals called the endocannabinoid system.

There's growing evidence that cannabinoids work best when they're used together in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. In cases where THC isn't an option due to legal or tolerance issues to the compound, the next best option isn't CBD isolate—but broad spectrum CBD.

Broad spectrum CBD oil may contain other minor cannabinoids and terpenes that contribute to the effects of CBD in the body.

The only way to ensure you're getting what you pay for in a CBD product is to look at third-party lab tests, so do your research on a product before purchasing. Suppose you're interested in learning about all the cannabinoids in hemp and their potential benefits. In that case, you can find resources on our blog or subscribe to our Insider Scoop for the latest industry news.

Resources:

  1. White, C. M. (2019). A review of human studies assessing cannabidiol's (CBD) therapeutic actions and potential. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 59(7), 923-934.
  2. Maa, E., & Figi, P. (2014). The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia, 55(6), 783-786.
  3. Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364.
  4. Pellati, F., Borgonetti, V., Brighenti, V., Biagi, M., Benvenuti, S., & Corsi, L. (2018). Cannabis sativa L. and nonpsychoactive cannabinoids: their chemistry and role against oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer. BioMed research international, 2018.

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