New research suggests there’s no evidence cannabidiol (CBD) reduces the negative effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD is a cannabinoid that has no intoxicating effect, but is being pursued for its potential therapeutic benefits. The high experienced using marijuana is largely due to another cannabinoid, THC. It’s been a widely held belief that using high CBD cannabis can help counteract some of the unpleasant side effects some people experience when using marijuana, such as anxiety.
But researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London say this simply isn’t so.
In a study involving 46 healthy volunteers who completed a randomised and double-blind trial, it was found increasing the dose of CBD did not significantly change the effects of THC on cognitive performance, psychotic symptoms or how pleasurable the drug experience was. Each participant inhaled cannabis vapour containing 10mg of THC and varying levels of CBD (0mg, 10mg, 20mg, or 30mg). The levels were chosen to reflect CBD:THC ratios typically found in recreational and medicinal cannabis products.
The different CBD levels also had no impact on THC’s intoxicating effects. What was noticed however, was the higher the CBD dose, the more participants coughed.
Cannabis plants produce THC and CBD in their acid forms from a precursor named cannabigerolic acid. This, the researchers say, implies a cannabis plant with a higher CBD:THC ratio will produce less THC than a THC-dominant one.
“It may still be safer for users to choose cannabis with higher CBD:THC ratios, but that’s because the same amount of cannabis will contain less THC than a lower CBD:THC variety,” said study lead author Dr Amir Englund,. “Overall, our advice to people wanting to avoid the negative effects of THC is to use less of it.”
The IoPPN team’s research has been published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
That CBD may not act as a buffer against unpleasant side effects of THC may turn out to be true, but that still leaves a myriad other applications for CBD in terms of human health. Learn more about cannabidiol.
And there’s much more to THC than getting high. Discover more about tetrahydrocannabinol.