We’ve all had that moment, typically the first few times consuming cannabis, where we get a little too high. Being too high often leads to the feeling of increased anxiety and paranoia, which can then lead to dizziness or headaches. In the past, the only thing consumers could do to relieve these symptoms were to kick-back and take a few deep breaths.
As we have continued to learn more and more about how the cannabis plant works and interacts with our bodies, we may have discovered a natural relief to these symptoms caused by high THC consumption. The cannabinoid, CBD, is thought to have the ability to counteract the effects of THC. Really, can CBD counteract THC?
How Do Our Bodies React to Cannabis?
One remarkable discovery that has come to light with the legalization of marijuana is that all humans have an Endocannabinoid System. The Endocannabinoid System is specifically designed to help create an internal balance within the rest of our bodily systems. When consumers ingest cannabis, the actual compounds that are causing the specific effects on our body are called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are a part of the marijuana plant and are the compounds that work directly with our endocannabinoid system.
Two Most Common Cannabinoids:
- THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, is an abundant cannabinoid found in marijuana. This compound is the cannabinoid that has been found to be the primary cause of the psychoactive effects of marijuana. When our bodies ingest THC, it combines with endocannabinoid receptors called, CB-1 receptors. CB-1 receptors have been found to be the reaction site of where the “high” effects from cannabis are initiated.
- CBD: Cannabidiol, CBD, is another abundant cannabinoid found in marijuana. CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike THC, and does not cause any “high” effect. While the potency of CBD in most cannabis plants is far less than the THC content, CBD is beginning to be isolated more often from industrial hemp. The cannabinoid CBD works with multiple receptor pathways to mitigate specific actions within the endocannabinoid system and other independent channels.
We understand how these cannabinoids work on their own, but we are still learning how they interact with each other. To keep the differences simple, THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid and CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. That said, if they are practically opposites of each other, how does our body react to both cannabinoids ingested together?
What Happens When THC and CBD are Taken Together?
Recently, we’ve seen the rise of many different THC:CBD ratio products. Some have higher dosages of THC than CBD, and vice-versa. What everyone is wondering is, does taking CBD with THC block the overall high? Can CBD counteract THC? While there are not many studies published about this interaction, there is some information out there that can help us come to some conclusions.
There was one study, with an animal trial, that set out to test the differences of ingesting solely THC, solely CBD, and CBD and THC together. They had two sets of mice, one group was made up of adolescent mice, and the other was adult mice. Each group had a pair of placebo mice that ingested no cannabinoids.
When the adolescent mice were given consistent dosages of THC by itself, they reported immediate and long-term impairments in recognition and memory with an increase in compulsive behaviors.
The mice who were given only CBD in both the adolescent and adult groups experienced no immediate or long-term effects on their memory or behavior.
When the mice from both groups were given CBD and THC together, the long-term symptoms of THC consumption were non-existent. The CBD seemed to allow a ratio of THC to be consumed without any long-term effects to the adolescent mice, as well.
The study shows us that CBD has the ability to counteract specific reactions from high THC consumption. It does not, however, tell us if CBD blocks the high effect caused by consuming THC. To figure this out, we need to go a bit deeper and start thinking about what happens when consumers are too high.
Can CBD Counteract THC?
The context of this question is an instance where consumers find themselves feeling too high from THC and are looking for a quick way to come down. Let’s start by describing some of the sensations consumers may feel when they are too high.
It’s common for consumers to experience a heightened sense of paranoia, slight dizziness, mild headaches, or fatigue. However, it’s a combination of these symptoms that drastically increases the amount of anxiety in a consumer. As the anxiety from having these symptoms increase, the symptoms tend to escalate. So, it’s safe to say that anxiety is the primary symptom of being too high, and trickles down into causing the other side-effects.
Concluding that anxiety is the primary uncomfortable effect of being too high, we can see why CBD has the potential to help counteract this effect. One of the main benefits of consistent CBD intake is decreasing daily anxiety for consumers. When THC is consumed in conjunction with CBD, the increase of side effects can be blocked and potentially avoided. In turn, this helps consumers cope with the effects of THC.
CBD does not block the high from THC, but it seems to have the ability to assist THC in a providing a balanced effect.
If someone consumes too much THC, CBD may help them cope with the high, but it does not remove the high. Any consumer looking for some alternatives, without the high effect, could look into CBD only products.
A majority of cannabis dispensaries will have a variety of ratio products to fit any types of consumer’s needs. You can find CBD: THC tinctures, capsules, buds, edibles, and even topicals. In fact, ratio marijuana products are the new go-to for many consumers!