CBD & THC: What Happens When You Combine Them?

Left vs. right. Liberal vs. conservative. Up vs. down. CBD vs. THC.

Suffice to say that people often gravitate towards dualistic viewpoints. Maybe it’s in a quest to understand things? Regardless, the way most people view hemp is no different — it’s been equally oversimplified. 

But hemp is more than just CBD and THC. And these two compounds don’t fit as nicely into “medicinal” and “recreational” boxes as you might think. We believe both CBD and THC have the ability to improve one’s overall quality of life!

And science is now showing that CBD and THC may also improve each other. They synergize and complement each other via what scientists call the entourage effect. Keep reading to learn how to harness the combined power of CBD and THC for yourself. 

  • What does CBD do?
  • What does THC do?
  • How do CBD and THC interact?
  • CBD vs. THC: more good news

What does CBD do?

First things first: CBD is a cannabinoid. It’s one of the two major cannabinoids naturally produced by the hemp plant. In other types of cannabis, CBD is the second “active ingredient” . . . in hemp, though, it’s the first. 

So, what does CBD do? It promotes health without causing psychotropic effects. That’s because the molecular targets CBD ‘activates’ are found mostly throughout the peripheral body — in important organs like the stomach, in the lungs, in muscle cells, and even on the surfaces of mitochondria. [1]

And CBD doesn’t even bind to these targets all that strongly, which means the biochemical shifts it causes aren’t always super noticeable. Those who take CBD often notice the absence of negative feelings more than anything else.  To put it super simply, CBD likes to work behind the scenes.

What does THC do?

Delta-9 THC is the other primary cannabinoid in cannabis. THC is the primary “active ingredient” in many types of cannabis, though in hemp it’s a distant second to CBD.

Unlike CBD, delta-9 THC’s effects are easily and instantaneously noticeable. It affects perception even at low doses —  sometimes so powerfully that its health benefits get overlooked. THC binds to a different type of receptor than CBD, the CB1 receptor. This receptor is very densely concentrated within the brain, specifically areas of the brain that process emotion and memory formation. The CB1 receptors THC binds to are actually the most prevalent receptors of their type in the entire brain. [2]

This neurochemical setup allows THC to help people forget . . . sometimes where they put their car keys, sure, but more often things that actually need to be forgotten. THC’s mechanism of action allows one’s brain to adapt, grow, and (hopefully) improve over time. [3]

On its own, however, THC can lead to too much change. Over time it can desensitize its CB1 receptors and create a subtle form of dependency. While THC isn’t chemically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution: combine CBD and THC. 

How do CBD and THC interact?

Based on all the info above, you probably aren’t surprised to hear that CBD and THC balance each other out. When taken together CBD tends to reduce THC’s mental effects, while THC tends to amplify CBD’s physical effects. [4]

But that’s not all. CBD and delta-9 THC also seem to make each other more powerful. How?

Once again, the answer lies in these compounds’ pharmacology. When CBD and THC are taken at the same time, the receptors they activate also join forces. The psychedelic CB1 receptors THC binds to and the non-psychedelic CB2 receptors CBD binds to can actually form a special receptor complex called a heterodimer. [5]

While it’s true that CB1 is mostly located in the brain and CB2 is mostly located in the body, the reality is that both these receptors are located everywhere. And by literally joining forces by stimulating the formation of these heterodimeric structures, CBD and THC benefit the endocannabinoid system in a way that neither of them can on their own. 

This phenomenon also explains how CBD reduces THC’s psychoactivity. [6]

The study linked above called it a “bidirectional cross-antagonism phenomenon,” but think of it as a biochemical balancing act if that’s any simpler. 

CBD vs. THC: more good news

Combining delta-9 THC and CBD provides other upsides. The combo is a perfect candidate for microdosing, which is where one takes a small number of cannabinoids throughout the day. 

Higher-dose THC and CBD possess benefits, too. Don’t forget that they balance each other out! All in all, it’s hard to go wrong with this synergistic duo. Perhaps nature knew what she was doing when she designed the original CBD-rich, THC-rich, terpene-rich cannabis plant. 

If you’re ready to see what CBD and THC are all about, try our delta-9 THC . It features top-tier THC so you can enjoy top-tier upliftment.

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