CBD is the perhaps lesser known and slightly underrated cousin of THC. It’s the second most prevalent cannabinoid you’ll find in marijuana and carries a few of the same properties that THC does as well as a few unique ones. The main difference between the two is that THC is psychoactive and is the cannabinoid that causes a high. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive, won’t get you high and induces more of a sense of calm. Both THC and CBD interact with your body in the same way but produce different effects. 

CBD to THC ratios

Depending on the THC to CBD ratio of your plant, you’ll experience a different effect. A high THC strain with less than 4% CBD will give you a more extreme head or body high depending on whether it’s a sativa or indica variety. Strains with more CBD will give you a more gentle peak and sustain your high for longer. This is what’s called the entourage effect – where two cannabinoids work together for a more unique experience. The more the THC to CBD ratio is tipped towards CBD, the more beneficial the strain will be for things like increased memory function and a general sense of calm. It’ll also be a more moderate high, which can be useful for when you need to focus and still maintain most of your normal mental faculties. 

Working with your endocannabinoid system

CBD and THC both work with your body’s endocannabinoid system, attaching to CB1 and CB2 receptors spread throughout your body. Strains with a higher CBD level can help counteract the effect of THC somewhat and many medical marijuana strains will have a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio. They still have enough of a balance for a more moderate high but are less extreme and won’t impair motor function or memory as much as a high THC strain would. 

Strains higher in CBD are also more neuroprotective and calming with less of a psychoactive effect. Essentially this makes balanced CBD/THC strains a good choice for people who can experience anxiety or paranoia from more powerful, THC heavy strains. While individual results are always going to vary, high CBD strains are a good option for those who don’t want as intense a peak or head high but still want to have a relaxing experience. 

Aside from marijuana strains, CBD is also derived from the industrial hemp plant which is naturally low in THC. Purely CBD products that contain less than 0.2% THC are legal in the UK and USA and products that are high in CBD aside from bud are becoming more readily available.