When it comes to CBD and THC, it’s common to think of each cannabis component as having beneficial properties that are mutually exclusive. But there’s new research to suggest that this isn’t the case. In fact, there has been some evidence that shows CBD and THC could work together for additional benefits.

CBD & THC: Different Yet Similar

Although they work differently, CBD and THC are very similar. They share the same molecular formula with only a slight variation in their structure, which is why each produces a different effect on the body. Additionally, both have been used in the treatment for a number of ailments, including anxiety, chronic pain, and cancer. So how exactly could CBD and THC work together?

A term that gets discussed a lot in the CBD realm is the “Entourage Effect,” which describes the phenomenon where all parts of the cannabis plant—including cannabinoids like CBD and THC, terpenes, and flavonoids—work together within the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to amplify CBD’s potential benefits. Through this effect, CBD and THC work together to the point where removing either of them could result in a watered-down version of this synergistic effect.

How CBD & THC Can Be Used Together

Consuming potent marijuana-derived products has been linked to potentially damaging side effects like anxiety and psychosis. This presents problems for people using THC as a treatment option for certain conditions. However, it’s been discovered that CBD may hold the key to fixing the issue. A recent study that was performed on rats uncovered a new way CBD and THC interact in the brain. The results showed CBD actually offset negative THC side effects.

Basically, a protein called ERK kicked off a messaging pathway in the ventral hippocampus region of the brain. When given a dose of just THC, the ERK protein went into overdrive and caused “flooding” issues on the messaging pathway, inducing anxiety in the rats. But when given both THC and CBD, the result was normal ERK activity, showing a balancing act between THC and CBD.

Research was also done in terms of cancer treatment, where THC has been used as a key player in pain management. During this study, CBD was found to act as a preventative for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, which is a painful nerve condition. In other words, CBD could potentially be used as THC’s teammate in reducing discomfort for cancer treatments.

It’s important to keep in mind that most THC products are still illegal to use in most states (with the exception of medical exemption)—and some states even have limits on CBD use with certain levels of THC. However, as more information comes out about these cannabinoids working together and the benefits they provide, there may be more opportunities to find alternative paths for pain relief, anxiety, and other common ailments.

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