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CBD and THC — A Nice Partnership

In an ideal world, cannabis users would grow their own plants rich in a diverse range of cannabinoids and terpenes. Wellness-focused consumers could then use these home-grown cultivars on a rotating basis to achieve maximum health benefits. Unfortunately, this is merely a fantasy for most.

However, blending cannabinoids could serve as the next best alternative. Today, we will focus on the synergy between the two most prominent cannabinoids in the cannabis plant: THC and CBD. Whether in equal ratios or varying proportions, the combination of these two cannabinoids is a nice partnership.

Why Do They Work Better Together?

The natural co-existence of THC and CBD in the cannabis plant may have been part of an evolutionary design that maximizes the plant's medicinal potential. CBD’s anti-inflammatory, anxiety relief, and/or cognitive protection are supported by real-world data and some human studies.

So, those who only use high THC cannabis may be missing out on some key benefits.

In a similar vein, many CBD enthusiasts may not realize that THC offers therapeutic effects beyond the high, like pain relief, muscle relaxation, migraine support, and sleep support, to name a few.

Research indicates that putting together the anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-anxiety properties of CBD with the complementary euphoric and pain-relieving properties of THC, a more comprehensive approach to health benefits can be achieved.

Typically these two camps are strict about sticking to just one or the other compound, this article encourages open-mindedness, and suggests that using both CBD and THC can provide greater benefits than either one alone. And P.S., you don’t have to use them together!

When Only Using THC — Try Adding CBD

The first trick is an easy one: if you are only a THC user, switch out a daytime THC session with a CBD product to potentially avoid building a tolerance to THC. Smaller daily doses may be more healthy and cost effective.

The strictly THC-dominant crowd may ask why they should add CBD to their personalized cannabis regimen. CBD tackles a wide-range of syndromes as an adjunct to THC. Here’s a great study that describes the top reasons for using CBD: chronic pain, mental health, general health and wellness, sleep, central nervous system disorders, and digestive health. In addition, CBD tackles a lot of common symptoms including anxiety, back and/or joint pain, and sleep problems. CBD goes at systemic inflammation in many effective ways. Perhaps this is one of CBD’s superpowers.

Understanding the Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of CBD and THC

CBD binds selectively with a broad range of receptors that affect inflammation, making it an excellent anti-inflammatory. Arguably better than THC.

Americans do need something that addresses the serious problem of rampant systemic inflammation, often caused by modern lifestyles filled with processed foods, high meat diets, alcohol consumption, and chronic stress. The issue with systemic inflammation is that it can result in cognitive decline, diabetes, chronic pain, and a multitude of other diseases. Incorporating CBD into your daily regimen may stave off these conditions, which often develop gradually without noticeable symptoms.

Adding THC to a CBD-Only Care Plan

Experimenting with low-dose THC and different delivery methods such as gummies, tinctures, capsules, or topical applications can provide therapeutic support in a non-intoxicating way to the CBD-only set.

Many people are afraid of THC due to its psychoactive effects, which can cause feelings of anxiety or paranoia in some individuals. The key to addressing these fears is education and understanding. By learning how to use THC properly, newcomers to cannabis can avoid unwanted side effects and improve symptom management. THC can offer significant therapeutic benefits, especially for those who are not getting the benefits of CBD as touted in the headlines.

For example, if you aren’t getting pain relief or sleep aid with CBD alone, adding THC to your regimen might provide more symptom support. THC is mostly known for its mind-altering effects, but it has great potential in therapeutic applications. THC can be highly effective in loosening tight muscles and as a general relaxant that promotes sleep. THC can stimulate appetite during prolonged illness. By alleviating muscle stiffness, promoting a healthy appetite and addressing insomnia, THC supports overall well-being and enhances the quality of life for many people.

Therapeutic Benefits and Personalized Reasons for Adding THC

You may be wondering exactly when to add THC if you are strictly a CBD user.

Try incorporating a low-dose THC edible for sleep. THC is the cannabinoid that makes some people sleep better according to the literature, but THC for sleep doesn’t work for everyone. Some users have a paradoxical effect. That’s when THC does the exact opposite.

Instead of the desired sleep-inducing aid, THC promotes wakefulness. Best try a micro dose on a weekend and check the response. Cannabinoids are safe and fun to use, but a little extra caution keeps adverse problems to a minimum.

For those CBD-only users with chronic pain on the lower end of the pain scale, a little THC might be the extra support they need to improve sleep and pain tolerance. Better sleep equals better pain management since the body is able to heal and regenerate more effectively during restful sleep. Also, adequate sleep helps reduce inflammation and supports the body's natural pain alleviation processes, making it crucial for anyone dealing with chronic pain. In addition, a well-rested body is more responsive to daytime therapeutic interventions. Therapeutic interventions are ones that have the premier benefits at the lowest risk.

After Sleep Improvement — Tackle Daytime Problems

Restorative sleep doesn’t just help at night; it has a remarkable impact on managing stress, maintaining focus, and hitting peak productivity during the day.

So, what’s the next step if THC did promote sleep, but now daytime pain is an issue. No problem. After sleep is improved, it’s time to tackle daytime symptom management. Here’s where we start layering in other cannabinoids for better results to see if they can enhance pain relief and other therapeutic effects.

As always, consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen to avoid any unintended harms. Other harm reduction techniques are to source cannabis products from reputable dispensaries to ensure quality. Ask questions at the dispensary if you don’t understand which cannabinoids are in the product. Ask about milligrams and ratios of THC to CBD to minimize adverse effects. Read on to know what to do when faced with unintended results.

Minimize Risks Associated with THC Intoxication

When introducing THC into any regimen, especially for CBD-only users, proceed with caution to avoid any adverse effects. Start with a low dose to see how your body reacts, and always opt for products that have clear labeling regarding THC content. Try edibles for the first time? Be patient; they take longer to kick in compared to smoking or vaping. So don’t take a second dose! In my opinion, it’s better to forgo any mistakes, by not having a second edible, if the first one doesn’t provide the desired results. And at the next setting, just increase the dose a bit more than the first, by maybe 2.5 mgs.

For the canna-curious, a CBD forward ratio allows users to experience a more balanced and controlled high. Those seeking therapeutic benefits without super intense psychoactivity can opt for cultivars or products with more CBD than THC. A balanced approach ensures users can harness the medicinal properties of cannabis and perform tasks with mental clarity. Everyone has heard the saying, “start low and go slow”. Yet still, somehow elders are ending up in the ER with THC intoxication at an alarming rate.

Starting with a Dose of 2.5 mg of THC

Starting with a dose of 2.5 mg of THC is recommended for most individuals. That’s what starting low means. Commonly referred to as a micro dose, 2.5 mg is typically well-tolerated and minimizes the risk of intoxication. Be forewarned, those highly sensitive to THC may still have noticeable effects they don’t like even with this small starting dose. But most won’t.

How to Titrate Up

Start with an initial dose of 2.5 mg and then gradually increase by 1 mg every few days. This slow and steady approach allows the body to adapt to THC. As the CB1 receptors become gradually acclimated, the likelihood of intoxication and adverse effects diminishes.

During the slow and consistent increases, monitor the body's response to determine a comfortable and effective dosage. Patience is key. This process is called self-titration. It’s all about finding a personalized, optimal dose without overwhelming the system or quickly developing a tolerance.

Tolerance means that more frequent dose increases are needed to achieve the same therapeutic effects. Rushing to higher doses leads to undesirable experiences, but this careful approach ensures results that are true to one's specific needs. By taking these precautions, users can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of THC while minimizing potential risks. These tips have been how to avoid the oft-talked about cannabis high. But what if new users are interested in a more traditional recreational cannabis experience? Check out what to ask for in the dispensary below.

Flower Cultivars with Balanced Cannabinoid Profiles

Many people, new to cannabis or returning to cannabis as baby-boomers, complain that the high-THC strains in dispensaries are way too intoxicating for them. But most dispensaries will carry a few cultivars of cannabis that are non-THC dominant.

Ask a budtender for flower options with a broader and more balanced cannabinoid profile, sometimes called Type II cannabis. A multi-cannabinoid profile flower, may provide a well-balanced cannabis high of moderate mood elevation coupled with relaxation where daily stresses and anxiety are placed on hold. The psychoactive effects of THC can foster creativity or enhance sensory perceptions making hobbies more enjoyable and immersive. Physically, cannabis can ease muscle tension and instill a comfortable sense of calm.

By systematically incorporating additional cannabinoids into your daily routine, you may find enhanced relief from pain, a sleep aid and overall improvement in your quality of life. Ask for a multi-cannabinoid profile flower, today!

Exploring Cannabinoid Synergy for Pain Relief

The decades of real-world data from modern cannabis use suggest that combining different cannabinoids can lead to better outcomes. This phenomenon, known as the "entourage effect," (maybe erroneously, but now accepted nomenclature) highlights the importance of using multiple cannabinoids to manage symptoms effectively.

As research progresses, it becomes clear that a multi-cannabinoid strategy offers promise for those seeking more comprehensive symptom management solutions. Next week, more on the multi-cannabinoid approach to symptom management by integrating the minor cannabinoid, CBG.

portrait photo of Maureen SmythContributed to Weedgets LLC by Maureen "Mo" Smyth, BSN RN — Health Revolutionary, cannabis content writer, Founder of Cannabis Public School at Smyth Med.


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