What Happens When You Use THC and CBD Together? Understanding the Entourage Effect
Understanding the way THC and CBD work together can change the way you use cannabis!
Even though you can purchase CBD oils and gummies at your local Wawa, you can’t legally purchase THC unless you have a medical marijuana card. Even after the adult-use laws go into effect in July, you won’t be able to legally make purchases at dispensaries without a card until 2024.
Despite the vast differences in consequences, acceptance and access, THC and CBD both come from cannabis. Their concentrations in the plant vary depending on strain, and in manufactured products depending on the extraction process.
THC and CBD work together in a complementary manner to produce what is known as the “entourage effect.” If you qualify for a VA marijuana card, understanding what happens when you use CBD and THC together can help you maximize the benefits of using cannabis for your wellness.
The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana is Mostly Legal
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 lumped everything into the category of marijuana, and it heavily taxes the growth, sale, and distribution of hemp. From the founding of our nation until around this time, hemp was one of the country’s most important cash crops. Later legislation restricted cannabis further, and it was made federally illegal in the 1970s.
One Single Cannabinoid = Big Business
The 2018 Farm Bill fully legalized commercial cultivation of hemp, allowing any state to develop its own hemp-growing programs, either with USDA oversight or with USDA approval. This bill established an official 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.
Really, though, the difference between hemp and marijuana comes down to the concentration of THC. With only a negligible amount of THC, hemp usually has a much higher concentration of CBD, but not always. There are dozens of cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, it’s just that CBD and THC hog the spotlight. CBN, CBC, and CBG are also starting to get attention as well.
The legality of extracting CBD (or any other cannabinoid) from hemp and selling it on the wellness market is actually in a bit of a grey area due to the FDA’s hesitancy to regulate it.
Why Take CBD and THC Together?
Though more people use cannabis for therapeutic purposes than to get high, THC is known to be psychoactive and produce an effect commonly referred to as “euphoric.” Some people enjoy this effect, others wish they knew how to get the therapeutic benefits of THC without the impairment. And still others wish they could just control when they get one, and when they get the other.
CBD may provide some similar benefits to THC without the impairment that THC may cause in some people. Additionally, properly titrating the balance of CBD to THC could cancel out the intoxication of THC.
Taking THC and CBD 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).
ALL Brownies are Magical
Not many people would eat a stick of butter or a cup of sugar straight out of the package. And if you’ve ever had a taste of vanilla or cocoa straight up, you know that they don’t taste anything like your favorite potluck dessert. But, mix them all together and you’ve got something wonderful.
Add peanut butter and oatmeal for delicious no-bake cookies; add an extra egg for a cake!
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. CBC, CBG, CBN, THC, and others, along with the terpenes present too!
How to Find the Best Balance of THC and CBD Together
There are several factors that go into determining the best balance of THC and CBD for you:
Genetic propensity for interaction with cannabinoids
Where you are in your hormonal cycles
What you ate
How much sleep you got
It takes a bit of experimentation to get it right, but that can be the fun part!
If you would rather start off with a more solid game-plan, Greenway DNA offers a nifty DNA testing kit that gives you a really good jumping off point. After you send them a saliva sample, they will send you a full report with the suggested balance of THC and CBD—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.
Getting Started Combining THC and CBD
You can get CBD with no THC just about anywhere. However, CBD products sold at dispensaries will be more dependable in respect to safety, quality, and label accuracy. Additionally, you can find CBD-dominant products with higher amounts of THC if you shop at a VA dispensary.
At a Virginia dispensary, you can find a variety of products including tinctures, gummies, vape pens, and soon, flower. Some are dominant in CBD, others have a higher concentration of THC.
Qualifying for a marijuana card is easy. Make an appointment with one of our understanding doctors today!
We can help you figure out what might be a good balance for you, get you started on your path to wellness. We are here to help every step of the way!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. 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 (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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