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Why Does the 1:1 THC:CBD Ratio Work So Well?

Is the 1:1 THC:CBD ratio the best for consuming cannabis? Scientific and anecdotal evidence indicates that this equally distributed ratio is optimal for experiencing the benefits of cannabis. In fact, this combination of cannabinoids is sometimes referred to as the "Golden Ratio." But why?

Through the synergy of the entourage effect , CBD and THC interact and complement each other. Together, these cannabinoids are more powerful anti-inflammatories than they are alone, so the 1:1 ratio is a natural fit. The cannabis-derived spray Sativex features a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD and has been effective in treating severe pain and muscle spasms in some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) .

Learn more about why this equal ratio of CBD to THC works so well and discover other ratios that you can try in your medical cannabis regimen.

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What Is the 1:1 THC:CBD Ratio?

The 1:1 THC:CBD ratio means that your cannabis product contains an equal amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These are the two main chemical compounds or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. If you consume a cannabis product like a chocolate edible with the 1:1 ratio, you will be ingesting the same amount of CBD and THC.

One of the main reasons why so many people find the 1:1 THC:CBD ratio so appealing is because the effects are tolerable. CBD "tames" THC to some extent, so a product that contains 10 mg THC and 10 mg CBD won’t have as powerful a psychoactive effect as a product that contains only 10 mg of THC.

So, if you eat a pot brownie with a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio and it contains three milligrams (mg) of THC, you can be sure that it also contains three milligrams (mg) of CBD. However, for people who are new to cannabis, this ratio could be too strong for an edible and a lower ratio of THC:CBD (e.g. 2:1 CBD:THC) may be advisable.

Always check for the THC content if you want to see how psychoactive the product is, regardless of the ratio, as the THC will still exert a psychoactive effect. A product containing only 3 mg of THC and CBD won’t likely be very psychoactive, but one that contains 100 mg of both likely will be. Or, you can try a 1:1 ratio of another type of cannabis product that won’t have a psychoactive effect, like a topical.

Be sure to consult with your doctor about the best ingestion method for you and how much THC you should consume before trying any cannabis products.

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Health Benefits

The 1:1 THC:CBD ratio can be very beneficial for people seeking to relieve pain, including neuropathic (nerve) pain . Other potential health benefits of the 1:1 THC:CBD ratio include:

  • Stress relief
  • Better quality sleep
  • A reduction in the number of spasms for those suffering from multiple sclerosis
  • Concentration and other brain health benefits

Of course, these possible health benefits are not universal, and some people may experience side effects from an equal ratio of THC to CBD.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

The main side effects and risks of the 1:1 ratio relate to THC. Whenever you consume THC, there is the risk of an unwanted psychoactive experience. This risk can be mitigated by careful dosing, choosing high quality products , and getting a medical marijuana recommendation customized for you. You can also try a product containing more CBD, or a 1:1 product with a lower total of THC.

But even if you take all necessary precautions, you may still experience the following side effects after consuming THC:

  • Anxiety
  • Racing Heart
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations or disturbed dreams
  • Red eyes
  • Headache
  • Cottonmouth
  • Sleeplessness (or, alternatively, drowsiness)

In most cases, the side effects of too much THC will pass on their own within 12 hours (or even less), but seek medical attention in case of an emergency.

Other THC:CBD Ratios to Consider

Although it’s been dubbed the "Golden Ratio," the 1:1 THC:CBD combo is not for everyone. For some people, a THC-only product may be better, or perhaps one that just contains CBD. Here are some other ratios to consider:

1:0 (THC Only)

Cannabis products containing only THC can be very helpful for people experiencing nausea and vomiting. The anti-nausea drug dronabinol (brand name Marinol) is derived from a synthetic form of THC and prescribed to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea. THC-only products have also been reported to be beneficial for relieving pain and reducing muscle spasms. They can, however, be quite psychoactive.

0:1 (CBD Only)

The benefits of using a CBD-only product include a potential reduction in anxiety and improved sleep patterns. Some people prefer CBD-exclusive products simply because they don’t want to get high.

10:1 (CBD:THC)

The ratio of 10:1 tips the see-saw towards CBD and results in virtually no intoxicating effects despite the presence of THC. Ingesting a 10 times higher amount of CBD, some cannabis consumers may effectively treat anxiety. The ratio of 20:1 CBD:THC may produce similar relaxing effects, but even more pronounced.

Products with CBD:THC ratios like 3:1 or 6:1 also tend to be much less psychoactive compared to 1:1 ratios, but may still be psychoactive if you use a lot and the product has a high concentration of THC.

1:2 or 1:3 CBD:THC

These are products that contain both THC and CBD, but this time with more THC. The CBD can buffer some of THC’s psychoactivity in such products, but actually also elongate the experience as well. Such ratios can be very useful for treating chronic pain, nausea, insomnia, inflammation and some types of cancer.

Overall, high CBD:THC ratios are safest for cannabis novices who don’t know how their bodies and brains will react to THC. But for people who need to manage chronic, moderate-to-severe pain, higher THC ratios may be preferable.

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Best Strains with a 1:1 THC:CBD Ratio

Some breeders, like Resin Seeds and CBD Crew , specialize in developing CBD-rich cannabis varieties.

The following balanced cannabis strains ("varietals") are among the best if you’re seeking a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio:

  • Pennywise
  • Sweet and Sour Widow
  • Royal Highness
  • Shark Shock
  • Pure Love

These 1:1 cannabis strains could provide you with the therapeutic effects you’re seeking, especially if your goal is pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ratio of THC to CBD is good for anxiety?

In general, doctors recommend a much higher CBD to THC ratio to treat anxiety. A 3:1, 6:1, 10:1 or even 20:1 CBD:THC ratio is often the sweet spot for managing anxiety. The mellowing effects of CBD blend well with the different but complementary psychoactive effects of THC.

What percentage of THC is in CBD?

CBD products must contain no more than 0.3% THC to be labeled as such. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products fall into this category, while CBD isolate products contain no THC at all.

How does a 2:1 CBD to THC strain feel?

Any ratio will feel different for each individual, but for many people the 2:1 CBD:THC ratio feels intensely relaxing. Anxiety and pain are often dulled through the effects of the double amount of CBD and the lower levels of THC in the 2:1 ratio.

A medical marijuana prescription is the best way to learn which THC:CBD ratio works for you. Reach out to the doctors at Leafwell and we’ll guide you through the simple application process for a medical marijuana card.