Cannabis 101: CBD vs THC
A column by Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD.
Hello again everyone. In my last article, we covered the different interactions that CBD or THC may have with specific medicinal drugs. In this piece, I will cover dosage and ratios (CBD vs THC).
What’s the best way to take CBD?
The most appropriate delivery system for CBD-rich cannabis is one that provides an optimal dose for a desired duration with few unwanted side effects. CBD-rich cannabis flower varietals for smoking or vaping are available in many medical marijuana dispensaries, but most CBD patients prefer non-inhalable products made with cannabis oil concentrates. The time of onset and duration of effect vary depending on the method of administration.
CBD-rich cannabis oil products can be taken sublingually, orally (as edibles, lozenges, beverages, tinctures, and gel caps), or applied topically.
Concentrated cannabis oil extracts can also be heated and inhaled with a vape pen, a water pipe or a bong.
Inhalation is good for treating acute symptoms that require immediate attention; the effects can be felt within a minute or two and typically last for a couple of hours.
The effects of orally administered CBD-rich cannabis oil can last for four hours or more, but the onset of effects is much slower (30-90 minutes) than inhalation.
What is the right CBD:THC ratio for me?
Cannabis therapeutics is personalized medicine. There is no single ratio or strain or product that’s right for everyone. Optimize your therapeutic use of cannabis by finding the proper combination of CBD and THC that works best for you.
*(A person’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor in determining the appropriate ratio and dosage of CBD-rich medicine. Many people enjoy the cannabis high and can consume reasonable amounts of any cannabis product without feeling too high or dysphoric (unhappy / uneasy). Others find THC unpleasant. CBD can lessen or neutralize the intoxicating effects of THC. So, a greater ratio of CBD-to-THC means less of a high).
Are specific CBD:THC ratios better for different conditions?
Some patterns are beginning to emerge. For anxiety, depression, spasms, psychosis, and seizure disorders, many people report they do well if they start with a small dose of a CBD-rich remedy with little THC.
For cancer, autism, and many other diseases, some say they benefit more from a balanced ratio of CBD and THC. Extensive clinical trials conducted outside the United States have shown that a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio can be effective for neuropathic pain. Note: The CBD:THC ratio in not an indication of how much CBD or THC is present in a given cannabis product or strain. Some people use cannabis products with different CBD:THC ratios at different times of the day (more CBD for sunlight hours, more THC at night). Almost any cannabis strain or product theoretically could benefit a wide range of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders because THC and other cannabis components activate the CB2 cannabinoid receptor, which regulates immune function.
What is the optimal dosage of CBD?
An effective dosage can range from as little as a few milligrams of CBD-enriched cannabis oil to a gram or more. Begin with a small dose of high CBD/low THC oil, especially if you have little or no experience with cannabis. Take a few small doses over the course of the day rather than one big dose. Use the same dose and ratio for several days. Observe the effects and if necessary, adjust the ratio or amount. Don’t overdo it. Cannabis compounds have biphasic properties, which means that low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate; large doses sedate. Too much THC, while not lethal, can amplify anxiety and mood disorders. CBD has no known adverse side effects, but an excessive amount of CBD could be less effective therapeutically than a moderate dose. “Less is more” is often the case with respect to cannabis therapy.
What should one look for when choosing a CBD-rich product?
Look for products with clear labels showing the quantity and ratio of CBD and THC per dose, a manufacturing date, and a batch number (for quality control). Select products with quality ingredients: No corn syrup, trans fats, GMOs, artificial additives, thinning agents or preservatives. CBD-rich products should be lab tested for consistency and verified as being free of mold, bacteria, pesticides, solvent residues, and other contaminants. Best to avoid products extracted with toxic solvents like BHO, propane, hexane or other hydrocarbons. Opt for products that utilizes safer extraction methods such as supercritical CO2 or food-grade ethanol.
Stay tuned for my next article when I will cover ‘Full Spectrum vs Regular CBD’.
Hope you enjoyed this piece and once again I encourage you to email me any questions or comments you might have on cannabis/marijuana or share a success story with other readers at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Talk to you soon
Dr. Pierre Milot, PhD., is a Certified Medical Cannabis Counsellor
and resident of Winchester, Ontario.