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CBD to THC Ratio Explained

by Duncan Ley| | Cannabis, CBD, education

If you’ve been to your local dispensary and wondered what the deal is with CBD to THC  ratios, you’ve come to the right place.

Historically, cannabis growers bred plants primarily for their flavor and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. THC is the compound responsible for the “high” traditional cannabis consumers experience. Although researchers discovered cannabidiol (CBD) in the 1940s, cannabis breeders weren’t particularly interested in the compound until decades later.

It wasn’t until 1996 when California became the first state to launch a legal medical marijuana program, that farmers became aware of CBD and its wide-ranging therapeutic potential. Innovative breeders like Humboldt’s Lawrence Ringo experimented to create some of the first high-CBD medicinal strains, such as Sour Tsunami and Charlotte’s Web.

THC and CBD have an inverse relationship in more ways than one. First, strains with higher THC levels naturally contain less CBD. Secondly, CBD inhibits THC’s psychoactive effects. So, when you see a product with a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio, the effects won’t be exactly balanced because the CBD will keep some of the THC molecules from binding to the brain’s CB1 receptors, reducing its potency.

Most Common CBD to THC Ratios

Unless you’re someone who chases high THC levels, you’re probably wondering which CBD to THC ratio would be best for you. Let’s examine some of the CBD to THC ratios you’ll find at your local or online dispensary.

20:1-10:1 CBD to THC Ratio

Ratios in this range are well-suited for beginners who think they may benefit from THC but don’t want to experience any intoxicating effects. These high-CBD products are also ideal for people who experience mild to moderate pain caused by inflammation.

8:1 CBD to THC Ratio

An 8:1 ratio is also appropriate for novice cannabis users as these products are unlikely to produce the intense psychoactive effects of traditional cannabis.

4:1-2:1 CBD to THC Ratio

CBD to THC ratios in this range are suitable for people with some tolerance to THC but who don’t want to risk becoming anxious or paranoid. People struggling with PTSD may benefit from products in this range as the CBD calms an overactive amygdala, and the THC reduces REM sleep, which can prevent nightmares.

1:1 CBD to THC Ratio

MMJ doctors typically recommend 1:1 ratios for patients struggling with neuropathic pain from a diseased or damaged nervous system.

THC-Dominant Ratios

THC-dominant ratios may run from 1:2 to around 18:1, the approximate ratio of a moderately potent traditional cannabis strain. THC-dominant products are often necessary for people struggling with conditions like glaucoma, severe pain, and the side effects of chemotherapy.

So, Which CBD to THC Ratio Is Best?

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all CBD to THC ratio. We recommend that you speak with a licensed medical professional to see if cannabis can help in your case. This step is critical as CBD can interact with some pharmaceutical drugs, and THC can be detrimental to people with certain mental health conditions.

After you get the green light from your doctor, you can seek advice from a qualified MMJ physician or budtender to determine which cannabis products are right for you. 

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