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THC and CBD: Why the Parts of Cannabis Work Better Together

 January 31, 2020  Written by Emma Chasen
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The saga of THC and CBD is a modern cannabis love story.

THC and CBD amplify each other’s positive effects and reduce any undesired effects.

The study "A tale of two cannabinoids: The therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol” investigates the theory that THC and CBD are better together. In fact, the study suggests that THC and CBD should be co-administered to improve the likelihood of a therapeutic benefit. Pharmaceutical approaches are becoming more common as access to weed increases.

How THC and CBD work with your endocannabinoid system

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) tends to have an easier time engaging with CB1 receptors in the brain than cannabidoil (CBD). The receptor can then initiate a variety of physiological signals, including the psychotropic activity (the high!), pain relief, and a reduction in inflammation.

Unlike THC, CBD has a harder time binding to the CB1 or CB2 neurological receptors. On its own, CBD can't effectively engage the body's endocannabinoid receptors. However, when THC and CBD act together, CBD gains access to a secondary bonding site on the CB1 receptor. In this way, THC acts like a key to the CB1 receptor’s lock. CBD can only attach to the receptor when THC is already bound.

When THC and CBD are consumed in lower concentrations, this binding mechanism allows CBD to diminish the potentially unwanted side effects of THC while amplifying the therapeutic benefit of cannabis. Since THC allows CBD to engage with the endocannabinoid receptors, it becomes more likely to experience therapeutic relief.

How cannabis can help patients

Preliminary studies suggest that CBD helps to lower the elevated heart rate, anxiety, memory impairment, and sluggish side effects of THC. CBD and THC, when taken together, also improve the likelihood of pain relief and reduce muscle spasticity, especially in patients experiencing multiple sclerosis. Co-administering THC and CBD may also have neuroprotective effects that guard against neurotoxicity and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Like any good partnership, THC and CBD bring out the best in each other. If you are experimenting with cannabis medicine but not experiencing the relief you need from THC or CBD alone, try them together! Especially in cases of neuropathic pain, CBD and THC seem to work best in tandem. Plus, you don’t need much to experience relief. If you are apprehensive about consuming THC, try just a little (1-2mg) in combination with your CBD. Even a 20:1 CBD: THC ratio could maximize the therapeutic effect of your experience. 

Please note that this blog is not to be considered medical advice. Always consult your physician for more information and/or questions related to your specific medical history.

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