CBD vs. THC: Understanding their Symbiotic Relationship

With so many cannabis-derived products hitting the market every day, the rapidly growing industry shouldn’t come as a surprise to people. In fact, it is estimated that the cannabis businesses will contribute about $130 billion to the US economy by 2024 which simply means that its increased popularity won’t slow down any time soon.

In general, cannabis-derived products contain two of the most commonly known cannabinoids, CBD and THC. The natural compounds are both found in the plants of the Cannabis genus and are the main ingredients used in cannabis-derived gels, gummies, oils and other numerous supplements.

However, although some products contain only one compound, there are others that contain both. This leads to asking questions about if they work separately and does CBD oil work without THC. In order to understand their symbiotic relationship, keep reading to learn more about the effects and uses of the two most common cannabinoids.



The cannabis plant contains more than one hundred cannabinoids with CBD and THC being the most prominent ones. Besides sharing the same origin, these two natural compounds are in fact very different in terms of how they affect the human body.

Firstly, the THC compound is most famous for providing consumers with the psychoactive effect which is commonly known as “the high”. Because of that reason, this compound is still illegal in many parts of the world and people decide to go for the less intoxicating cannabinoid CBD.

In general, CBD is considered a non-psychoactive compound that does not provide consumers with “the high” effect. In fact, CBD products may contain some trace amounts of THC up to 0.3% which is not enough to result in a psychoactive response. Because of this, many people turn to CBD products instead in order to avoid the psychoactive side effects provided by THC.

The entourage effect

Although using CBD alone can offer plenty of medicinal and therapeutic benefits to consumers, its effectiveness is believed to be much greater when it is combined with other cannabis compounds. That is because each compound contains numerous properties such as terpenes and flavonoids which offer their own unique benefits. This is commonly known as the “entourage effect”.

However, while this effect may sound like a good option for you to consider trying, the truth is CBD oil can work perfectly well without its cousin compound THC. This is because the benefit you are trying to gain can be achieved simply from using isolated CBD. But, if you are looking to enhance its effect and gain additional benefits, then you can combine it with THC.

If you decide to do this, it is important that you remain highly alert and be careful about the dosing because high concentration of THC may lead to some undesired side effects making this not the best option for you.


Medical benefits

In general, both CBD and THC offer more or less the same therapeutic benefits. The most common ones include pain relief, reduced anxiety and stress levels, anti-inflammation, epilepsy and muscle spasms and even alleviating cancer-related symptoms.

For example, if you are suffering from increased pain in your joints, then you can either place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue or apply a CBD topical cream on the affected area to relieve the pain symptoms.

If you consume it orally, the drops will reach your bloodstream and bind with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system which are responsible for regulating a variety of functions including pain. With this interaction, all pain and inflammation symptoms will be reduced.

THC works pretty much the same when it comes to relieving pain. You can mix your CBD oil with a few THC drops to enhance their effect and achieve better results.  

How much to take

CBD and THC-derived products are available in many forms and each contains different amounts of the respected compound. The proper dosage of using either one will depend on the form of the product as well as the condition you are treating. Most doctors advise starting with a lower dose and working your way up to find the right amount that will work best for you.

For example, if you are suffering from anxiety, the average dose of CBD you can intake varies between 300 and 600 mg.

On the other hand, if you are using THC, then the dosage will be much lower. For example, 1 to 2 mg of cannabis edible is the starting dose for beginners who are trying THC for the first time. If you feel like this amount doesn’t provide you with the benefits you are looking for, then you can increase the dose by 1 mg every 24 hours until you find the proper dose for you.  

Besides the form and usage, other factors such as your age.


Side effects

Both CBD and THC can result in nausea, fatigue, increased anxiety and dizziness if they are consumed in high amounts. Besides these side effects, there are other more severe ones that you should be aware of.

For example, short-term or long-term use of THC can cause impaired memory, reduced motor coordination, paranoia or psychosis and altered brain development especially if consumed in adolescence.

On the other hand, some common CBD side effects include changes in alertness and mood, digestive issues and even liver failure.

Final thoughts

Although CBD and THC have proven to be beneficial for treating many health conditions, it is still important to understand their psychoactive components and how they affect the human body. While they share many similarities regarding their origin, there are still some key differences between them that every cannabis user should be familiar with. This is crucial to know before consuming either compound because having the proper knowledge can have an impact on the condition you are treating.

So, to better understand how they work, make sure you refer back to this guide and learn about the symbiotic relationship between CBD and THC.


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