From Our Cannabis Brain-Trust
Dr. Watkins is a member of the NatuRx advisory board. He is a neuroscientist, terpene expert, and Chief Scientific Officer of LucidMood, where he formulates and validates experimental products.
After so many decades as a demonized, wrongfully criminalized plant, cannabis is finally getting its due as a safe, effective tool for better mental and physical health. But stigma still exists in some corners, as do stubborn myths about its many powers.
Many of those misconceptions revolve around CBD, the “other” main compound in cannabis alongside THC, its better-known, euphoria-inducing sibling. But there’s a ton of emerging science on CBD that’s helping us understand the ways it works in your body and why it’s a great fit in a healthy, holistic lifestyle.
So let’s bust some myths!
Myth: CBD is Purely Medicinal
It’s absolutely true that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and the potential to reduce adverse effects of stress, along with helping many people with seizure disorders—but it also has important recreational benefits as well.
CBD, while non-intoxicating, is actually psychoactive in very subtle ways when consumed on its own—and when consumed alongside THC, it supports THC and positively affects the euphoric sensation of the high.
Myth: CBD Kills the THC Buzz
CBD has been cast as the “anti-THC” by some, and many people incorrectly believe that it inhibits the “fun” aspects of THC.
Like most binaries, the division of THC and CBD into two sharply divided categories—one for wild stoner partying, the other for boomers with arthritis—is simply not accurate.
Although THC does most of the heavy lifting to create the euphoric high that its fans have grown to love, it isn’t the only important cannabinoid when it comes to experiencing an enjoyable high. The way I see it, CBD actually supports THC for recreational use because it influences THC’s psychoactive effects in a number of ways.
The most-studied aspects of the THC-CBD interaction are tied to the unwanted effects of THC.
We all know people who avoid cannabis because it makes them feel paranoid and panicky—but studies indicate that CBD can help calm unease and result in greater feelings of tranquility. While everyone’s experience with cannabis is unique, I think it’s valid to ask whether people who had negative weed experiences in the past could have had better ones if they had tried the right cannabinoid formulation.
Myth: Pure THC is Totally Awesome
There are many anecdotal reports from patients about unpleasant side effects of consuming pure THC in the form of the pharmaceutical Marinol (a.k.a. dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC). Which could explain why it’s not very popular.
However, studies show THC paired with CBD appears to reduce some of the unwanted effects associated with THC, including paranoia and disorganization. Although not everyone experiences these effects, those who do could greatly benefit from pairing CBD with THC.
About the Entourage Effect
So what’s behind CBD helping to provide balance with THC? It’s the entourage effect.
This phenomenon was identified by organic chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who’s my hero and a true OG in cannabis research going back to the 1960s. His theory is that the hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant interact with each other by activating or deactivating certain receptors in the human body.
In this case, if THC is causing a person to feel paranoid, other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes would step in to alter that experience—hopefully for the better.
Better Blends of THC and CBD
In many THC cannabis products, lab tests report a non-detectable (ND) amount of CBD, and I see this absence as a massive missed opportunity for consumers to experience cannabis to its fullest potential.
At LucidMood, we design our formulations with the entourage effect in mind.
Our Luminous pen, for example, contains a 1:2 ratio of THC to CBD, which offers a gentle euphoric sensation. The terpenes geraniol and limonene are included in this blend for an even balance of calm and clarity.
Our Luscious pen is formulated for more of a body high, with a 4:1 THC to CBD ratio, and includes the terpenes linalool and caryophyllene for relaxation.
Because LucidMood offers several different THC:CBD ratios, consumers can experience an array of different euphoric highs that include light mental relaxation, strong head highs, intense body highs and many levels in between.
I encourage those who see THC and CBD as belonging in completely different lanes to consider the ways they interact, both with each other and with the wide spectrum of terpenes found in the cannabis plant, and to experiment with how custom formulations can offer better and more reliable outcomes.