THC and CBD — arguably nature’s wonder twins — who are probably pretty tired of being mistaken for one another. By now, it’s likely safe to assume that you know THC and CBD are closely related. Though the two are a small part of the 113 cannabinoids that make up Cannabis sativa, or the hemp plant, there’s quite a bit of buzz about their benefits. So, naturally, it may cause you to wonder, what are the benefits of THC and CBD together?
History and differences in brief
Cannabis is not a new therapy by any means. Hemp plants, in general, have been used for thousands of years. This includes uses that focus on their medicinal properties as well as other creative applications. This goes beyond today’s commercialized tincture oils, supplements, and topicals, and also includes things like textiles. Of course, there has been a resurgence in hemp’s application just about everywhere with the 2018 Farm Bill. All of this to say, this is the main reason why you’re seeing CBD everywhere as if it’s new.
Before we dive into the benefits of THC and CBD together, let’s briefly recap how these two “twins” are different. Chemically speaking, THC and CBD are the exact same at the molecular level. However, their differing arrangement of atoms is what creates their different effects on the brain and body. CBD attaches to and interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system. THC is psychoactive due to its potentially profound effects on the brain. To reiterate, CBD is not psychoactive.
What’s the entourage effect?
The entourage effect further exemplifies the variability of hemp — the main point of that brief history lesson we gave you above. When key, natural compounds — cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — all interact together synergistically, this is the entourage effect in action. In other words, they all work in harmony and enhance each other’s therapeutic effects.
What symptoms can THC and CBD tackle together?
According to a variety of studies mentioned below, THC and CBD can and should be tapped into at once. However, cases that benefit the most are not run-of-the-mill.
As you may know from prior reading, THC is often the go-to for cases of chronic pain, nausea, and other appetite issues associated with serious illness.
On the other hand, it’s not so much that CBD is a “lighter” therapy, by any means. Again, CBD can address different things. CBD can work in cases of insomnia, epilepsy, as well as instances of pain from arthritis or joint maladies as well as skin issues.
So, why combine the two? Success is again being reported due to the concept described above — the entourage effect. Though THC and CBD act on the body through different mechanisms, the combination can have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
It’s worth pointing out there was a time when the two were isolated from one another, and CBD had “vanished.” This was particularly true among the treatment plans of medical cannabis patients. Here are what a few key studies say now that the two are reunited:
- A study found that combining THC and CBD produces more potent anti-tumor effects when tested on brain cancer and breast cancer cell lines than either compound alone.
- A 2010 study found that patients with 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.” In plain terms, CBD may help limit the potency of THC when it can cause memory impairment or paranoia.
Find out if you can benefit from a combination
Based on the evidence above, you won’t come across a combination of THC and CBD at high levels while online shopping. Unless you have a serious illness, what you’re more likely to benefit from is looking for products that achieve the entourage effect and start from there.
Look for products that achieve cannabinoid extraction through heat-free practices, such as CO2 extraction, and preserve those precious terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. In other words, products with whole-plant extracts. Products with full-spectrum formulas also offer traces of THC in many cases. However, issues of legality make THC’s presence very minor.
Above all, you should discuss any THC- or CBD-based therapy with your physician. He or she will help you make the most sense of your symptoms and what treatment plan will work best for you.