The Relationship Between THC And CBD


THC and CBD are the two rockstar cannabinoids that are often the center of discussions on the functionality of cannabis. But they’re very different beasts. THC is psychoactive i.e. gets you high, while CBD doesn’t have that effect. So what makes them so different?

It all has to do with your CB1 receptors. You have these all over your body as part of your endocannabinoid system which regulates bodily functions such as appetite, mood, hunger, and sleep. THC mimics one of the chemicals that binds to your CB1 receptors: anandamide.

Anandamide is associated with feelings of pleasure, appetite stimulation, and even the “runner’s high” people can get from exercising. It’s also involved in reward, motivation, memory, and pain. Think of THC as a key that’s the same shape as the anandamide molecule, mimicking its effects. Thus, when you ingest THC you get feelings of euphoria, pain relief, and an overall feeling of satisfaction.




CBD doesn’t bond well to the CB1 receptors. Instead, it’s what’s referred to as a CB1 antagonist. This means that it doesn’t interact with the CB1 receptors but instead works to suppress some of the ways in which THC activates the CB1 receptors.




This is an example of what’s called the “entourage effect” where one or more elements of cannabis such as THC, CBD, and terpenes interact with one another. When THC and CBD are used in juncture CBD suppresses some of the undesirable effects of THC such as paranoia or getting “too high”.

So essentially, these two elements of cannabis work together to create the high you get from consuming them. The higher concentration of CBD compared to THC the more mellow the high. A lot of patients find a 1:1 ratio to be the perfect balance of pain relief and euphoria.  

Though these two elements of cannabis are very different from one another, they’re both an integral part of the therapeutic use of cannabis.

December 27, 2017

by Shasta Nelson

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Shasta Nelson is a California Native and a cannabis connoisseur. She's been involved in the industry at every level since she was a teenager. Currently she provides content for Roottie, DOPE Magazine, and Terpenes and Testing. She's also a creative writer, with a graphic novel underway.


  • Radic Al Conscious

    Hi Shasta
    Great article. thanx. There is so much to learn about cannabis
    Half the story has never been told.
    THC and CBD both have exactly the same objective, That is to support the mind and body to maintain homeostasis. Because they both use different pathways, they are more effective when used together then either one by itself. Yes a small part of the entourage effect.
    THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors and encourages the body to produce more dopamine which activates the T1 and T2 receptors.
    CBD activates the T1 and T2 receptors and encourages the body to produce more Anandamide which activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors. you gotta love that cause CBD can get you very, “naturally” high. The natural high is different from the psychotropic effects of THC, cause the CBD high doesn’t cause side effects like paranoia or anxiety.
    CBD slows the onset of THC, so there is no rush and this is how CBD can tame THC. The rush can be scary for some people. CBD can also block the CB1 receptor and so redirect THC to the CB2 receptors of the immune system
    CBD slows the bodies capabilities of breaking down THC, which means the medicinal qualities of THC are effective for longer periods of time, equating into more value for your THC dollar.
    And that is just the beginning.

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