What happens when you use THC and CBD together? Understanding the entourage effect
Understanding the way THC and CBD work together can take your treatment plan to the next level!
THC and CBD are often thought of as completely separate products. You can usually find bottles of CBD oils and gummies at your local Rhodes, and THC is still an illegal substance unless it is purchased at a medical marijuana dispensary.
With all the separation and confusion surrounding both of these substances, it’s difficult to think of them coming from the same plant. However, they are both found in cannabis, and their concentrations vary based on strain and extraction process.
THC and CBD work synergistically to protect the plants in which they are contained, and they create what is known as the entourage effect when humans take them together. If you qualify for a marijuana card, understanding what happens when you use CBD and THC together can help you harness the full potential of your natural treatment plan!
Destigmatize Cannabis by Understanding the Whole Plant
Medical marijuana patients in Missouri deserve to feel confident in their treatment decisions, and education is the first step!
In addition to using THC and CBD together to maximize natural relief through cannabis, understanding the way these cannabinoids work together will help destigmatize their use. Spreading awareness and information about the whole cannabis plant—not just about THC—is an important step in abolishing the notion that people who use medical marijuana are just trying to get high.
Hemp and Marijuana are Both Cannabis – THC and CBD are Found in Both
The distinction between hemp and marijuana is more of a legal distinction than an indication of biological differences. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 lumped everything into the category of marijuana and made it illegal to grow, possess or sell, without paying hefty taxes. Later legislation restricted cannabis further, and it was made federally illegal in the 1970s.
Coming to Terms: Hemp vs. Marijuana
Recently, a Farm Bill in 2014 that established a pilot hemp program, and its subsequent 2018 Farm Bill that fully legalized commercial cultivation of hemp finalized a separation between hemp and marijuana.
Hemp is defined as cannabis plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC, and it is federally legal to commercially cultivate. Marijuana, on the other hand, has greater than 0.3 percent THC. Marijuana is considered a Schedule I controlled substance, and it is federally illegal to grow or possess.
Despite the enormous legal differences between hemp and marijuana, the actual difference comes down to the concentration of one compound found in both: THC. Generally, the concentration of CBD is much higher in hemp, but the legality of extracting CBD is actually in a bit of a grey area due to the FDA’s hesitancy to regulate it.
Why Take CBD and THC Together?
THC is known to be psychoactive and produce an effect commonly referred to as “euphoric.” Some people enjoy this effect, but recent evidence suggests that more people actually use cannabis for therapeutic purposes than to get high.
While CBD is technically considered psychoactive for the sense of calm that it produces, it is often touted as not psychoactive because it doesn’t make you feel impaired.
Taking them together produces what’s known as the “entourage effect.” While some philosophy and psychology buffs would appreciate a mention of Gestalt to explain the entourage effect, this author likes to use a brownie analogy (because, ya know, brownies).
Sugar. Butter. Flour.
Maybe a little vanilla. All these ingredients are not the greatest by themselves. Not many people would eat a stick of butter or a cup of sugar straight out of the package. But, mix them all together and you’ve got something wonderful.
If you really want to get fancy you can add some nuts. Or maybe take out the eggs and add peanut butter and oatmeal for delicious no-bake cookies!
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. (Couldn’t resist that Gestalt again.) That’s kind of the same principle when we talk about the entourage effect. It is the combination of all the cannabinoids present in your product including CBD. CBG, CBN, THC, and others, along with the terpenes present too!
And much like different balances of sugar, butter and cocoa produce a very different baked good, different balances of cannabinoids and terpenes produce different effects.
What is the Best Balance of CBD and THC?
The best balance of THC and CBD will be different for everyone, and it will vary within the individual depending on the desired effects, genetic propensity for interaction with cannabinoids, where they are in their hormonal cycles, what they ate, and even how much sleep they got.
It takes a bit of experimentation to get it right, but Greenway DNA offers a nifty DNA testing kit that gives you a really good jumping off point for where to start. All you have to do is spit in a tube and mail it to their lab. In return, they will send you a full report with the suggested balance for your genetic makeup to treat anxiety, insomnia, pain, and more.
Whether you intend to start with the help of a testing kit or from scratch, it’s a good idea to keep a cannabis journal. Use it to note things like dose, product, strain, terpenes, time of day, what you ate, how you felt before and after, etc.
How to Start Combining THC and CBD
You need a marijuana card in order to get CBD products with higher concentrations of THC, and the CBD products sold at dispensaries will be more dependable in respect to safety, quality, and label accuracy.
Qualifying for a marijuana card is easy. Make an appointment with one of our understanding doctors today, in order to get started on your path to wellness. We can help our patients find the right treatment plan to meet their goals, and we are here to help every step of the way.
We tell our patients to start low and go slow. Swade, Greenlight, and a number of other dispensaries carry high-quality products that are mostly CBD. You could start by taking a baseline amount of CBD for a couple of weeks, then adding a very small amount of THC.
Keep increasing your doses of one, then the other, in small increments every two weeks until you get the desired results. So, for example, you could start with a Beleaf full spectrum oil, take that for two weeks, then add in half (or less) of a Wana gummy. Wait two weeks, then increase either your THC or your CBD.
Keep going until you find what works for you!
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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