The cannabis plant contains more than 120 different cannabinoids. While there are so many different ones, CBD and THC are the most well-known. Many studies surrounding cannabis and its potential benefits focus on these compounds. We know the potential benefits of CBD as well as those of THC, but did you know that they may work even better together? Here’s what you need to know about CBD, THC, and the entourage effect.
CBD and THC Explained
They are two of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. They both come from cannabigerolic acid (CBGa), a compound also known as the mother of all cannabinoids. As the plant matures, it comes into contact with different enzymes, which convert it into CBDA, THCA, and CBCA. When exposed to heat, these compounds then convert into CBD, THC, and CBC. CBD and THC are molecularly similar, but they do have some key differences.
One of the key differences between the two major cannabinoids is that THC is the one that causes the high that most users know and love. CBD, on the other hand, is the “non-psychoactive” cannabinoid. It provides benefits without the mind-altering high that THC triggers.
Benefits of Both
They each provide some significant benefits. Here, we’ll take a look at a few of them.
Benefits of CBD include:
- Relief from inflammation
- Anxiety and depression alleviation (improves your mood)
- Reduces PTSD symptoms
- Decreases stress
- Helps with insomnia
- May help reduce seizures
- May help with skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema
Benefits of THC include:
- Pain relief
- Eases nausea
- Increases appetite
- Reduces anxiety (in small doses)
- Relaxes muscles
- May help fight cancerous tumors
The Entourage Effect
While it’s only a theory at this point, the entourage effect states that the various compounds in the cannabis plant, including the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, work more effectively together than they do separately. In other words, the compounds may have benefits on their own, but you reap the most benefits when you consume them together.
When you shop for cannabis products, you’ll often see labels that state “isolate,” “broad-spectrum,” or “full-spectrum.” Isolates are single compounds with nothing else. So, you could buy a CBD isolate or THC isolate, allowing you to experience the benefits of that specific cannabinoid. Broad-spectrum products contain the various cannabinoids and terpenes of the original plant minus THC. Full-spectrum is similar to broad-spectrum, except it also contains THC. If you were looking to obtain the optimal benefits of the entourage effect, select the full-spectrum product.
How They Work Together
So, we know that CBD provides benefits, and THC provides benefits. How do they work together, though? Well, for one thing, CBD can help to dampen the high THC typically triggers. It does this by blocking some CB1 receptors, which prevents THC from binding. This is why some high THC strains that are also high in CBD don’t have quite the same high as strains that are high THC with little to no CBD. More balanced strains provide more balanced effects.
Then there are the products that are high in CBD. When you add even a small amount of THC, the effects are better than if you take CBD alone.
They are two of the most well-known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Studies have shown that they provide some pretty amazing benefits on their own. While we still need more studies, current research shows that they may be even more effective together.