What’s So Special About the 1:1 CBD:THC Ratio?

So you’ve got your medical marijuana card and now you’re wondering what ratio is your right for you. Now, there isn’t a “perfect ratio” when it comes to what THC:CBD ratio works best for you. Some people react best to different ratios, or different ratios for different times of the day. One person may prefer a THC-to-CBD ratio of 2:1, whilst another prefers a 0:5. Different conditions may also require different cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles, as well as managing medical marijuana around other medications to prevent cross-reactions. However, for many people, a 1:1 THC-CBD ratio is ideal. Why? Well, here’s a few reasons this could be …

The Sativex Effect

Several years ago, GW Pharmaceuticals released Sativex, a cannabis-based medication usually prescribed for multiple sclerosis (MS) with a 1:1 THC-CBD ratio. The plants used also likely contain other cannabinoids and terpenoids, and GW Pharma are certainly interested in taking advantage of the entourage effect using natural phytocannabinoids! Why do GW Pharms use this ratio? Because they researched the efficacy of various ratios for pain, muscle spasms, spasticity and sleep disturbances, and found that the 1:1 THC:CBD ratio was most well-received. This has been noted anecdotally in many reviews in strains that have a 1:1 ratio.

relax if you've had too much cannabis

They Balance Each Other Out

CBD seems to “balance” (some would say “dull”, but this seems an inaccurate term to use) the high THC gives, whilst at the same time allowing the THC to provide its own pain-killing, antiemetic and appetite-stimulating properties. Many people seem to find high-THC, low-CBD strains too overwhelming, and there are lots of studies out there attesting to this phenomenon. THC and CBD seem to work in tandem with each other, and even bolster each other’s strengths.

The precise ins-and-outs of how various cannabinoids and terpenoids interact and work with one another is not precisely known, but it seems CBD may prolong the amount of time THC spends in the liver all the while regulating the THC’s psychoactivity when in high amounts. This could be why many high-THC, low-CBD strains can be powerful but don’t last very long (although such strains also tend to contain THCV, which does block THC in low doses and is psychoactive in and of itself in high doses), whilst high-THC, high-CBD strains tend to last longer but tend to leave people couch-locked.

However, to just look at CBD and THC on their own is far too simplistic. We also ought to take into account other cannabinoids we are ingesting when using cannabis, as these will all contribute to the overall effect. We should also look at terpenes and terpenoids as well. A 1:1 CBD:THC ratio containing mostly beta-caryophyllene and limonene is going to have markedly different effects from a product with the same 1:1 CBD:THC ratio but containing terpenes like linalool, humulene and myrcene.

Equal THC:CBD ratios may produce some limited psychoactive effects (people often want some psychoactive effect for therapeutic reasons). High-CBD, low-THC strains produce few if any psychoactive effects for most people, although some may still be felt, and CBD still imparts an effect even if it is not psychoactive in the “traditional” sense. Low-THC, high-CBD strains are seen as particularly useful for children or those particularly sensitive to THC, as they are not as psychoactive and still have enough THC in it for therapeutic reasons.

We would like to mention something about the “psychoactivity” of cannabis. Depending upon the strain and cannabinoids taken, most people who use medical marijuana report feeling euphoric, relaxed, giggly, chatty, sleepy, happy etc. Indeed, one reason why many people enjoy cannabis is because it has these effects whilst at the same time letting them remain functional when the dosage is right. You tend not see pink elephants and wizards casting magic spells when using cannabis, unless you have used an extremely strong, high THC edible and you have not “trained” yourself to handle high doses of cannabis.

This brings up another issue about cannabis’s psychoactive constituents. After all, if CBD is having a physiological effect, i.e. it’s helping you feel sleepy and relaxed, giving you a “jolt” of energy and focus (not unusual in small amounts) and so on, could it not be said that CBD is psychoactive to some extent? Sure, you probably won’t get the sort of euphoric effects usually associated with THC, but to say that CBD has no physiological and psychoactive effect whatsoever is simplistic (and plain wrong – CBD definitely does have physiological effects). Terpenes and other cannabinoids may also impart some sort of psychoactive effect as well, and in fact influence the way in which cannabis works as a whole!

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Fibonacci Sequences?

Look into nature, and you will see that Fibonacci numbers are everywhere. The simplest sequence runs 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 (the next number will be 144+89) … Related to this is the Golden Ratio – or phi – which is the number 1.618. As this number is found throughout nature, could it be possible that the reason why the 1:1 THC-CBD ratio works so well is because it works in harmony with the human body and doesn’t pull too much in one direction or the other?

The unusual thing about the cannabis plant? Many don’t follow the Fibonacci sequence in their growth, often growing fan leaves with five or seven fingers. Should you need further proof of cannabis’s uniqueness in nature, this is definitely one aspect of it. Whether or not this growth pattern affects what sort of cannabinoids are found in a particular plant is not known, but what this growth pattern can do is show if the plant you’re growing is healthy!

As everybody’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is different, it is likely that different people will need different ratios in order to get the effect they’re seeking. Though the 1:1 THC:CBD ratio is popular, it is by no means the be-all-and-end-all to cannabis as a medicine. However, the 1:1 ratio gives a good place to start for many people, and will help make you think of cannabis in terms of genetics, cannabinoids and terpenoids rather than strain names – something that will take this plant away from folk medicine and into “traditional” medicine.

Want to know what kind of medical marijuana might help your condition? Check out our conditions page and apply for your MMJ card online today.




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