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Understanding CBD:THC Ratios and Finding the Right Balance For You

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The two main cannabinoids, CBD and THC, contain valuable and distinct medicinal properties and when you take them either together or individually, they have different effects on your body. Since CBD and THC are the cannabis plant’s two most prominent cannabinoids, most of the research as of today focuses on the ratio of each. The understanding of cannabinoid ratios is still in the early stagepire alert. Each cannabinoid’s medical and therapeutic properties are distinct. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) differ in the way their molecules act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain. THC binds with the CB1 receptor and CBD binds with the CB2 receptor while also blocking CB1 receptors from binding with THC. This means CBD decreases some of THC’s effects, like anxiety and paranoia, as well as THC’s psychoactive high.

About THC

THC acts as an:

  • Anti-emetic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • It also provides you with a “high” sensation. This means a higher ratio of CBD-to-THC means less of a “high” and, of course, vice versa.

About CBD


CBD also shares the above THC traits. However, at the same time, it acts as an:

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-seizure
  • Anti-psychotic

However, CBD doesn’t produce a “high” sensation like THC can. For this reason, many people prefer marijuana having a higher ratio of CBD relative to THC, since consuming a low THC product doesn’t lead to much of a high.

What’s the difference between CBD and THC?

Both cannabinoids have cancer-fighting properties. While CBD can balance THC’s psychoactive effects, it also can provide painkilling and anti-cancer properties. CBD can also reduce a rapid heartbeat and anxiety, which too much THC can bring on. In this way, CBD and THC can work in tandem producing the desired effect.

Marijuana has more than 100 components, however, the more famous are CBD and THC, those two are also identified as cannabinoids. Both CBD and THC have the exact same molecular structure: 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms.

CBD, aka, cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants.This component doesn’t have psychoactive effects.

The effectiveness of marijuana is explained by the existence in the human body of an “endocannabinoid system”, constituted by neurotransmitter substances -such as serotonin or anandamide- and its cellular receptors that regulate a variety of functions, such as: sleep, appetite, the pain or the immune response.

Therefore, the CBD works essentially as naturally as a substance secreted by the body itself.

Its effectiveness has been proven in cases of childhood epilepsies and adults with refractory epilepsies, which are resistant to other treatments.

On the other hand we have THC, also identified as tetrahidrocannabinol, opposite to CBC it does have psychoactive effects. THC is the most popular cannabinoid, was the first to be discovered, isolated or identified. It increases the appetite and increases the sensation of pleasure when eating, in addition to causing drowsiness.

THC is the main therapeutic agent in the most commonly used cannabis preparations.

More CBD or more THC?

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The higher the CBD, the less of a high you’ll get from the THC.

  • 18:1 More CBD, low THC. Recommended for beginners, for those who don’t want to get high. Rarely psychoactive
  • 8:1 More CBD, low THC. Recommended for beginners, for those who don’t want to get high. Rarely psychoactive
  • 4:1 High CBD, medium THC. Considered mid-range and recommended for people who have some tolerance for THC.
  • 2:1 Balanced. Recommended for people who can tolerate THC. Can be psychoactive.
  • 1:1 More balanced. Recommended for people who can tolerate THC. Can be psychoactive.

What Exactly Are CBD:THC Ratios


This ratio is directly related to the make-up of your cannabis strain. It tells you the exact balance between the amount of THC in the strain when compared with the amount of CBD. As with any ratio, it is expressing two elements in proportion to each other.

In the past, most recreational marijuana strains have been heavily balanced toward a higher degree of THC content. The THC is what give you a high, and produces psychoactive results when used in higher quantities. With this in mind, most marijuana strains would typically have as much as 18-23% THC to just 1-2% CBD.

With the advent of medical marijuana and the uncovering of all the benefits it can provide to a whole host of patients suffering from a variety of medical conditions, extensive research and experimentation is ongoing to determine how varying the CBD:THC ratio can be of benefit for different conditions. This means, now more than ever, there is a much-increased focus on CBD dominant strains for medical purpose.

In the most basic of terms, a 1:0 CBD ratio is a strain which contains no THC at all, and thus would produce no high effects whatsoever, but may be well utilized for therapeutic purpose. Most likely in this case though are ratios which vary between 20:1, 3:1, and 1:1 in treating a variety of different cases. The higher the CBD ratio, the less psychoactivity and the more useful a strain will be in fighting anxiety and depression, while the opposite is true for chronic pain related conditions.

How to Calculate Your Own Ideal Ratio

Besides the varying medical uses of a particular strain dependent upon its CBD:THC ratio, you will also have to consider your own tolerance and experience with marijuana when deciding which number is the best fit for you.

Now with an increased understanding of the numbers, you can easily identify that CBD dominant strains are less psychoactive. This effectively means that the higher the CBD:THC ratios are in favor of CBD, the easier it will be for a novice of non-experienced user to withstand.

As well as factoring in your own experience when it comes to deciding the most appropriate ratio, you should also weight the other factors involved, particularly if you are using the marijuana as part of medical treatment.

For recreational use however, your selection will very much be a subjective one, based on the effects you wish to feel from your high. For those who are just starting out with using marijuana, or who may be sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC, it is best to start out with a strain which has lower levels of THC.

At a ratio of 2:1 CBD to THC for example, you will feel a more balanced impact, and only experience notable “high” psychoactive effects at more moderate amounts. From here, you can quickly build your tolerance before making your way through the ranks to higher THC dominant strains.

When you start to reach levels closer to 1:2 or 1:3 in favor of THC, then you will note considerably more euphoria and other high effects which are associated with particular strains. This type of balanced and progressive approach can also be really beneficial when it comes to avoiding negative experiences as a recreational user. We all have more than one friend who has over-indulged through lack of experience or other reasons. Knowing your ratios and which is most suitable for each occasion as well as your own tolerance can really help to mitigate against these events, and ensure you have the most positive experience possible.

The Benefits of Finding the Right CBD:THC Ratio

The main driver behind the experimentation with CBD:THC ratios and why they are so important is majorly connected with medical marijuana and the treatment of particular conditions. While research is continuing, science has already shown that these ratios can have a big impact on how different conditions are treated in terms of effectiveness. The benefits for the medical sector in finding the right ratio is the most effective treatment for any given issue.

We are already well versed in the ability of THC to relieve painful chronic conditions and help with reducing inflammation. Therefore, in sufferers of these conditions, a ratio which is equal at 1:1, or more dominant in THC at 1:2 or greater is proven to be more effective.

Oppositely, with the likes of anxiety, depression, and other neurologically degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, research has shown that patients benefit from strains which have a ratio highly weighted toward CBD of more than 20:1.

The key in any of these situations is testing. Each condition and disease is quite unique to an individual, and as with most mainstream medical treatments, each patient is likely to respond in their own slightly different ways. Although extensive research is still being done, and the field is evolving at a fast pace, once the ideal ratio is identified though, you are likely to notice a series of much more effective results.

As mentioned, on a recreational level, these correct ratios allow you to choose the strains you wish, with almost completely full and transparent knowledge as to the effects which they will have on your body and mind.

CBD:THC Ratio Strain Categories

CBD to THC ratios are mostly determined by strain genetics. The genetic code of the plant determines how it produces these two compounds. Marijuana plants, as with most plants, have two copies of each gene. The enzymes E1 and E2 convert CBGA into THCA or CBDA are encoded by a couple of distinct forms of the same gene.

Since all plants have two copies of the gene, it presents only a few possibilities:

  • A plant has two copies of an E1-encoding gene.
  • A plant has one copy each of E1- and E2-encoding genes.
  • A plant has two copies of the E2-encoding gene.

This means there are three general THC:CBD ratio strain categories that don’t account for any other compounds are:

  • CBD-dominant strains: These strains contain two E1 gene copies, so only CBDA and CBGA are possible. It creates more CBD levels and lower THC levels.
  • Balanced strains: These strains have a copy of each E1 and E2 genes, producing THCA and CBDA at similar levels.
  • THC-dominant strains: These strains contain two E2 gene copies, making only THCA and CBGA. You see more of these strains on the shelves of dispensaries today.

Popular strains high in CBD

Harle-Tsu

In the medical area, Harle-Tsu works like a painkiller, which means it is excellent for daytime use. According to some users, you’ll feel calm and relaxed, but also completely functional. It works well for calming the adverse effects of PMS, PTSD, migraines, depression, inflammation, and insomnia.

Harlequin

This is one of the most popular CBD strains, is easy to find it with a 5:2 CBD/THC ratio. While it’s a sativa dominant strain, it has a very soothing effect which makes it an excellent pain reliever for chronic pain, inflammation, depression, PTSD, migraines, and stress.

Pennywise

It’s a cross of Harlequin and Jack the Ripper. According to some users, it combines Jack the Ripper’s mental clarity with the medical power of Harlequin. Its ratio is 1:1 CBD/THC.

Sweet and Sour Widow

It has a 1:1 CBD/THC ratio. It’s going to give you a good preview of what a mixed strain looks and feels like.

Cannatonic

Usually, this strain has a CBD/THC ratio in the 5:1 range. It’s considered a great example of a strain with medicinal qualities. It induces strong feelings of relaxation making in useful in the treatments of muscle spasms, anxiety, and pain.

Popular strains high in THC

Godfather OG

This strain is reported to be the most potent marijuana strain on the planet. This indica dominant hybrid is has a THC content of over 34%. Godfather OG is a cross between: Cherry Pie, OG Kush, and Granddaddy Purps.

According to some users, when you smoke this strain, it will hit you with an incredible cerebral high that soon results in euphoria.

Fat Banana

This strain is a hybrid between Banana and OG Kush. 50% Sativa, 50% Indica. According to some users is sweet and fruity. Its THC level is up to 25% or more.

Chemdawg

It is an indica dominant hybrid (55%). Chemdawg held the record for highest THC content; it won the coveted Cannabis Cup title with a THC level of 32.13% when cultivated by Next Harvest in Denver. However, it’s origin is still unclear; Rumor has it that Chemdawg is a cross of a Thai and Nepalese sativa.

Purple Queen

This strain is a hybrid between Hindu Kush x Purple Afghani. 25% Sativa, 75% Indica. Its THC levels can touch 25%.

Amnesia Haze

This strain is 70% Sativa, 30% Indica. Its THC levels can get up to 20%. According to some users Amnesia Haze has a spicy aroma and citrus flavor.

Both cannabinoids play important roles and work perfectly together, regulating each other, although it depends on the desired effect and use, you can look for richer varieties in one or another compound.


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