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What is CBD? Guide to CBD and its Relationship with THC

If we had to bet on it, we’d say that CBD and THC are the two most popular cannabinoids of all. You’re probably already familiar with at least one of them — but what you may not know is that CBD and THC have a very special relationship. 

Keep reading to learn why these two are a surprisingly perfect pairing.  

  • CBD 101: top benefits
    • CBD vs. stress
    • CBD vs. sleep problems
  • Why CBD is just the start
  • How CBD and THC are made
  • CBD + THC: super relaxing
  • CBD + THC: more manageable
  • How to combine CBD and THC the right way

CBD’s 101: top benefits

CBD has been a sort of enigma ever since it was discovered. At first it was actually deemed to be inactive, but soon enough leading researchers from Israel and the US realized that couldn’t be further from the truth! CBD was very active — it just usually acted with subtlety.  

Fast forward to 2022, and the scientific world has uncovered hundreds of CBD’s top benefits. These benefits are incredibly diverse, but they can be summed up in just a few words: CBD makes people feel good. 

CBD vs. stress

We’ve got good news and bad news. 

The bad news is that stressful situations are part of our nature as humans. 

The good news is that stress reduction is part of CBD’s. CBD has an incredible ability to reduce stress — from the cellular level on up.

Why’s this so important? Because the very same stress that we’ve grown to see as normal can become a big, big problem if it’s left unchecked. As pioneering endocrinologist Hans Selye once explained, “it’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” [1] Stress can quickly become a driving force behind chronic diseases. 

But that’s where CBD comes in. Animal and human studies alike hint that CBD may protect the brain from being structurally damaged by stressful situations. In other words, CBD may prevent what researchers call “fear-induced memories” from being formed in response to stress. [2]

Other studies show that CBD may help its users keep calm and carry on when faced with super-stressful circumstances like public speaking. [3

All in all, CBD tends to make users feel like themselves: tranquil, calm, and self-assured. Those might seem like some big claims, sure…but if you’ve taken CBD you probably know what we mean. 

CBD actually promotes calmness in some of the same ways that exercising and yoga do: by boosting your body’s levels of feel-good neurotransmitters like anandamide and 2-AG. [4]

CBD and sleep

Sleep problems are on the rise, and they’re closely related to a corresponding increase in society’s stress levels. 

But CBD might be able to help with sleep, too. How? Partially by helping you feel fully relaxed as you get ready for bedtime…and that’s just the start. CBD may also help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm (think of circadian rhythm as an internal clock). Just like virtually everything else, your circadian rhythm falls under the control of your body’s built-in endocannabinoid system. 

The end result of all this regulation is more wakefulness during the day and more drowsiness at night. Take a look at this 2019 review study for a few more key details: [5]

  • Any CBD dose may reduce cortisol levels
  • Large CBD doses may increase total sleep duration
  • Larger CBD doses are much more sedating than moderate doses
  • CBD’s pro-sleep effects are closely associated with anxiety reduction

Why CBD is just the start

As great as CBD might seem — and as great as it might make you feel — don’t let it get all your attention. CBD is just one of the many active compounds present in the hemp plant. If you’ve ever benefited from a full spectrum CBD product, it’s likely that the other natural compounds present in this product helped just as the CBD did. 

Research shows that CBD synergizes with these other compounds, which include ‘acid’ cannabinoids, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, plant pigments, and more. This synergy is called the entourage effect. But more on the entourage effect later. For now let’s look a little closer at the various ways CBD and THC may work together…

CBD and THC: better together?

Bread and butter. Batman and Robin. Coffee and cream. Tomatoes and basil. Gin and juice. 

The list goes on…and we’re pretty confident that it mentions CBD and THC at one point or another.

After all, these cannabinoids are together from the start. Zoom in on any cannabis or hemp plant in full flower and you’ll see small, translucent bulbs that contain some combination of THC and CBD. Cannabis plants will contain more THC, of course, and hemp plants will contain more CBD…but both varieties will contain both cannabinoids 10 times out of 10. 

CBD and THC were discovered around the same time, too. In 1964 a young Israeli chemist named Raphael Mechoulam discovered THC. He went on to fully identify CBD’s structure later on in that same year. [6]

Fast forward to the present day, and modern research has made it crystal clear that CBD and THC really do belong together. Both of them are needed to activate the entourage effect!

As we mentioned above, the entourage effect is the term lead researchers coined to describe how CBD works together with the other active ingredients in hemp/cannabis to become even more effective. When CBD is taken alongside THC, CBG, CBN, terpenes like linalool, flavonoids like cannflavin A, etc, the whole mix becomes much stronger than the sum of its parts! Think 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 equaling 10, not 5. 

A 2015 study (from Israel of all places) validated this concept by discovering that a blend of CBD + other cannabis compounds was roughly four times more effective than CBD alone.  The CBD + THC mix was easier for study participants to dose, too. [7

CBD + THC: super relaxing

Most cannabinoids are at least slightly relaxing. When it comes to heavy, deep, immersive relaxation, though, THC clearly takes the cake. THC touches the parts of your brain that allow you to kick back, relax, and forget about your problems. 

Many users feel that THC makes the cannabis plant downright spiritual. Take it from Bob Marley: “when you smoke the herb,” he once said, “it reveals you to yourself.” And knowing yourself better might just empower you to chill out and be comfortable in your own skin. 

CBD + THC: more manageable

One of the very best things about the CBD + THC combo is how each cannabinoid balances the other out. 

CBD makes THC more manageable, less forgetful, and less munchies-prone. Here’s a more scientific description from a 2013 study:

“[…] CBD protects against the mnemonic deficits […] produced by THC. […] In summary, CBD opposes some, but not all, forms of behavioral and memory disruption by THC,” one study explains. [8

On the flipside, THC makes CBD more impactful, exciting, and rewarding. It may ‘open up’ certain endocannabinoid receptors enough to improve CBD’s overall bioavailability. 

How to combine CBD and THC the right way

Well, there you have it! CBD and THC are better together from almost every angle. (The one exception to this rule is if you want to get really, really high.)

All that’s required to experience this dynamic duo for yourself is getting your hands on a premium hemp-derived THC product. You know, something kind of like our CBD + THC Gummies. We think you’ll find these gummies just high enough in CBD to be approachable…and plenty high enough in THC to fuel hours of fun.