Before growers got serious about cannabis cultivation and its business opportunities, most strains would have moderate levels of THC – concentrations that would give you a pleasant psychoactive experience without leaving you with side effects like anxiety.
That’s all changed nowadays in the recreational scene, with strains especially bred to contain as much THC as possible. Concentrated products – dabs, waxes, shatters, crystals – with elevated THC levels have also made their way onto the market.
For seasoned cannabis users hoping to take their highs to new extremes, the ever-increasing amounts of THC have been welcomed with open arms – and, used with sensibility in the right environments, they can indeed be plenty of fun. However, sky high THC levels can also induce anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and even memory loss.
Thankfully for recreational fans, CBD, a non-psychoactive, antipsychotic cannabinoid, is an excellent antidote to THC-induced side effects, and its emergence in the medical industry means it too is available in hefty concentrations.
Mice study highlights interactions between CBD and THC
According to a study conducted on mice by researchers at Indiana University, CBD can have a protective effective against THC. The scientists took three groups of mice, administered them with either CBD, THC or a combination of both, and studied their reactions over a three-week period.
The group on just THC experienced increased anxiety and memory difficulties, while the group with even doses of CBD and THC experienced neither. Mice on just THC experienced long-term issues with anxiety and memory impairment, as well as heightened levels of obsessive-compulsive behavior.
This led Dr Ken Mackie, a professor at Indiana University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences to suggest that marijuana strains with roughly the same amounts of CBD and THC posed less of a long-term health risk than high-THC strains thanks to the protective qualities of the CBD.
CBD and THC: the best of both worlds
It’s fairly well-known that cannabis has gotten much stronger over the decades, but the new focus on CBD may help to improve the herb’s public image. The evidence that CBD has a number of therapeutic uses, particularly in areas where traditional treatment can be hard to come by, is encouraging. Medical cannabis users are now looking for products with a combination of CBD and THC, while some have chosen to cut out THC altogether.
The entourage effect (the idea that when combined, THC, CBD and marijuana’s other compounds work synergistically to enhance the overall effects) is not the only reason to mix the two. The anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety and general calming effects of CBD are the perfect solution for somebody that feels anxious or paranoid from too much THC.
CBD is an ideal anxiety treatment, as it is both non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive. The substance doesn’t affect cognitive functions either, so can be taken during the working day without concern.
The memory-protecting properties of CBD could also be vital, for those who consume plenty of THC more than most. There is evidence that THC has a negative impact on short-term memory, and that sustained use of the substance can inhibit long-term memory too. However, CBD quietly – but effectively – rebuts these side effects.
The National Institute of Health notes that’s CBD interactions with the CB1 receptor are likely to be responsible for negating THC-caused memory impairment.
There’s no reason for marijuana users to stop, or even necessarily cut down their intake, however some savviness on which strains to use is recommended. If you are using mostly high-THC “skunk” strains of cannabis, then perhaps consider bringing a concentrated CBD product into the mix or switching to a strain that offers a more even ratio of CBD to THC.