A common medicinal use for cannabis is its ability to reduce pain – both physically through its analgesic properties, and mentally due to its effects as an anxiolytic and antidepressant. However, for new cannabis users, the wide variety of different strains and product types can make it confusing trying to find a cannabis product that works for them and creates the effects they want.
Most cannabis products should come with information regarding their chemical contents on the label; however, these too can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the properties of different compounds and how their ratios may affect how the product works.
If you don’t know what different contents and ratios mean, then it’s easy to accidentally pick something weaker than you’d expected that doesn’t deliver the desired pain relief – or worse, something far too strong that causes unwanted side effects.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about CBD and THC ratios in cannabis products so that you can make an informed choice and find the cannabis product that’s right for you.
What Are CBD: THC Ratios?
Plants from the cannabis family contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, but the main two are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a type of compound known as cannabinoids. Marijuana plants contain high levels of THC and lower levels of CBD, while hemp plants contain high levels of CBD and trace amounts of THC.
Both CBD and THC offer numerous potential health benefits, but the key difference is that THC is psychoactive and will cause you to get high, whereas CBD is non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating, so produces no high.
Since hemp produces both compounds, many CBD products including CBD oils, vapes, edibles, and tinctures often contain both CBD and THC in varying amounts. The CBD: THC ratio is the proportion of how much CBD and THC a given product contains.
For example, a 2:1 ratio means twice as much CBD as THC, while a 10:1 ratio would mean ten times as much CBD, and a 1:1 ratio would be equal amounts of both.
This ratio is key in gauging what effect the product will have on you. CBD and THC are similar in many regards and produce similar medical benefits including pain relief and reduction of anxiety. Because of this, they work best when used together due to a principle known as the “entourage effect” (discussed later in this article).
However, while THC and CBD complement each other, the high resulting from THC can be undesirable for certain users. As a result, there are many different CBD: THC ratios available in different products to cater to individual preferences balancing pain relief with psychoactivity.
What is CBD, and What Are Its Uses?
CBD, a.k.a cannabidiol, is a primary cannabinoid derived from cannabis plants. While it is found in both marijuana and hemp, CBD products are most commonly derived from hemp since it is found at higher concentrations in hemp plants.
CBD has been reported to have a number of potential health benefits, such as pain relief, treating depression, and even acting against tumor development. This has made it a popular health product in recent years, especially since it does not have any psychoactive or intoxicating effects, so it can be enjoyed without getting high.
What is THC, and What Are Its Uses?
Like CBD, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a primary cannabinoid compound derived from cannabis plants. However, it only appears in trace amounts in hemp, so is most commonly derived from marijuana plants instead.
THC has been reported to hold many apparent health benefits; similarly to CBD, it can reduce pain and treat depression and anxiety, among other benefits. However, unlike CBD, THC is a psychoactive compound, meaning that it will get you high. This makes marijuana a popular recreational drug as well as a medical aide.
Benefits of Taking CBD and THC Together
Since CBD and THC share many of the same properties, taking both together can help to boost the health benefits that the two compounds provide, including pain reduction and anxiety relief.
Another advantage is that evidence suggests that CBD may be able to reduce some of the unwanted side effects sometimes associated with THC highs, such as increased appetite, drowsiness, and anxiety or paranoia caused by psychoactivity.
Before many years of breeding, the hemp plant used to have a balanced ratio of THC: CBD, often less potent than the strains currently available on the market.
Different users enjoy the psychoactive effects of THC to different extents – for some, it’s all part of the experience, but for others, it isn’t as enjoyable. Because of this, different CBD: THC ratios exist to cater to different preferences and reactions to THC psychoactivity.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is the principle that while THC and CBD hold many benefits on their own, these effects are even more potent when the two are taken together. In fact, cannabis plants contain hundreds of different compounds including phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, and the more of these are present within a cannabis product, the more potent the benefits.
The entourage effect, therefore, applies not only to THC and CBD but also to the hundreds of other compounds found in cannabis, meaning that whole-plant extracts which retain these additional compounds may greatly improve the effects of cannabis products.
As an example, CBD and THC have both been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory properties when used alone. D-limonene, one of the many terpenes found within cannabis plants, also has anti-inflammatory properties but produces these effects in a different manner to THC and CBD. |As a result, whole-plant cannabis products that retain D-limonene may have greater anti-inflammatory effects than isolated CBD or THC products.
Common CBD: THC Ratios
As stated above, there is a wide range of different CBD: THC ratios available in different cannabis products in order to cater to different preferences. The following are some of the common ratios and their effects are. CBD can also be used to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.
0:1+- All THC Product
Simply put, this is pure THC, with only trace amounts of CBD. This results in a number of potential benefits, such as pain relief, reduction in anxiety, and feelings of happiness or euphoria, as well as the trademark psychoactive effects of THC creating the sensation of feeling high.
For users who enjoy this high, this ratio is a good way to experience the unaltered psychoactive effects of THC. However, for those who don’t enjoy the sensation, this ratio is not ideal; if you’re particularly sensitive to THC, it may produce unwanted feelings of paranoia or nausea, especially in high doses.
1+:0- All CBD Product
In contrast, this ratio is essentially a pure CBD product with only trace amounts of THC present. CBD offers health benefits such as pain relief, reduced anxiety, and better sleep, and furthermore does not have any psychoactive effects.
This makes it a good option for those who wish to enjoy the health benefits of cannabis without getting high. However, taking CBD without THC misses out on the benefits of the entourage effect. In addition, it isn’t without its own potential side effects, such as diarrhea, fatigue, and changes to appetite.
1:1- Balanced CBD and THC
A 1:1 ratio product contains equal amounts of CBD and THC. This ratio is effective for a number of reasons. First, it allows for the entourage effect to boost the potential health benefits that CBD and THC provide when combined, meaning it may provide more effective pain relief.
In addition, CBD has been shown to counteract some of the psychoactive properties and psychological effects of THC, meaning this ratio can allow users to feel the benefits of THC while experiencing a less intense high.
1:2-1:4- THC Heavy Strains With Some CBD (Slight High)
Cannabis strains with ratios in this range are similar to 1:1 ratios in that they provide the health benefits of THC and CBD while allowing the CBD content to balance out THC’s psychoactive effects.
However, the lower CBD content means that you’ll experience more of THC’s high than in a 1:1 ratio. This makes ratios of 1:2 to 1:4 a good option for experiencing pain relief alongside a controlled, slightly stronger high.
2:1- 4:1 CBD Heavy Strains With Some THC
These strains put more emphasis on CBD than THC, allowing you to experience the therapeutic effects of both CBD and THC while largely avoiding the psychoactive effects of THC.
Studies have shown that taking CBD alongside THC helps to mitigate its effects on cognition, so this ratio range is ideal for those who wish to experience the health benefits of both compounds with only a slight “high” sensation.
1:10+ – Extremely Heavy THC Strains
These strains have a very high THC content, with only a small amount of CBD present. These products provide a mostly unmitigated THC high since the low CBD content will only take some of the edges off.
These strains are popular among users seeking relief from migraines, chronic pain, nausea, and insomnia while also enjoying the signature high of THC.
10+:1 -Extremely Heavy CBD Strains With Mild THC For The Entourage Effect
These CBD-heavy strains offer just enough THC to be able to feel some of the benefits of the entourage effect, but not so much that they will experience any of THC’s psychoactive properties.
The appeal of these strains is that for some people, CBD alone doesn’t provide a potent enough effect, but they also don’t want to get high. Ratios of 10:1 and above allow these users to experience the combined benefits of THC and CBD without risking getting high.
Best CBD: THC Ratio For Pain and Inflammation
When it comes to pain relief, there are several good options for helpful ratios. Chief among these is the 1:1 ratio, which allows you to experience the combined benefits of CBD and THC by utilizing the entourage effect in its most balanced form. This combination allows for effective pain relief from both compounds.
However, this ratio isn’t for everyone, mainly because at the same time as providing pain relief it will also get you high, which might not be practical or enjoyable for different users.
If you want to enjoy the combined pain relief of THC and CBD without getting high, another option is ratios of 10:1 and above. These strains provide just enough THC to allow the entourage effect to take place and improve pain relief without the risk of getting high.
Conversely, some users may want a more potent high alongside their pain relief, especially when seeking to relax at the end of the day and improve sleep. In this case, ratios between 1:2 and 1:4 may be more preferable, since they enable the entourage effect while providing a stronger, albeit still controlled, high.
Finding The Right Ratio For You
Finding the right ratio of CBD and THC is a very individualized process, as the exact effects will differ from person to person; your desired effects may be very different from those of another user.
Because of this, you might have to do a bit of experimenting before you find the perfect ratio. The best place to start is to use a 1:1 strain in order to set a benchmark of how THC and CBD affect you. If you find that the high is too much for you, then try strains with a higher ratio of CBD; on the other hand, if you want to experience more of a high, try higher THC strains.
The speed at which the strain takes effect may also be a factor. Generally speaking, THC leads to faster-acting pain relief than CBD, so if balanced or high-CBD strains act too slowly for your liking, try a higher THC ratio.
The more CBD you consume, the longer the CBD will remain in your system.
Overall, there’s no single answer to which CBD ratio is the best for pain relief – it all comes down to the way your body reacts to CBD and THC, and your own preferences in terms of how much of a high you want to experience.
However, by starting with a balanced strain and experimenting with different ratios, you’ll soon find the one that’s perfect for you and be able to enjoy an effective level of pain relief.