Does CBD Cancel THC?

Does CBD Cancel THC?

Posted on November 13th, 2020

Over the years, CBD has grown in popularity. More and more people are using it and swear by its benefits. This comes as no surprise since CBD indeed does have therapeutic benefits. These include pain relief, reducing inflammation, nausea, increasing appetite, and boosting your sleep quality.

However, you cannot talk about CBD without mentioning another famous cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. They both come from the cannabis plant, which has more than 120 phytocannabinoids, which are the cannabinoids that come from plants.

CBD and THC are the most common and researched phytocannabinoids. However, the main difference between them is that THC is psychoactive, while CBD is non-psychoactive. Therefore, taking CBD will not give you a ‘high.’ So, if that is the case, you might be wondering: does CBD cancel THC? Read on to find the answer.

CBD vs THC – What Is The Difference?Does CBD Cancel THC? - rolling a cannabis joint with high thc content

They might both be present in the cannabis plant, but there are a couple of crucial differences between the two of these phytocannabinoids. Here’s what makes them different from one another.

The Chemical Structure

CBD and THC usually have the same molecular structure: twenty-one carbon atoms, thirty hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. The difference comes in the arrangement of these atoms for each one. This is what causes the different effects they have on you when taking each one of them.

They are also both chemically similar to the endocannabinoids, the cannabinoids produced inside the human body. That is the reason they can actually interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

THC has an affinity to bind to the receptors in the brain, particularly the CB1 receptor. This receptor is usually the most abundant receptor in the brain and the limbic system. The limbic system includes the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, among others. It is a set of structures that lies on both sides of the thalamus in the brain.

The limbic system is usually responsible for your responses to pain, hunger, emotion, pleasure, among others. This is how THC brings about its psychoactive effects by contorting the signals running through this part of the system. So, how does CBD negate this?

According to studies, evidence points out that CBD acts as a negative allosteric modulator. When taken, CBD will have a peripheral effect on the CB1 receptors causing the site where THC would bind to it to change its shape. That causes the receptor site where the THC would bound to change its shape. Hence, the space THC would bind reduces as does its binding to the receptor and, therefore, the effect it ultimately has.

CBD consumption will lead to a lesser activation of the CB1 receptor when also taking THC. According to a 2015 study, the supplementation of CBD showed to reduce the potency and efficacy of THC and 2-AG. Hence, why they designated CBD as a negative allosteric modulator.

The Psychoactive Components

CBD and THC may have similar chemical structures, but they do not have the same psychoactive effects. CBD does not produce the ‘high’ experienced when taking THC. This is why it may be effective in dealing with depression, anxiety, and even seizures. If it did have psychoactive effects, it would potentially make those conditions worse.

THC normally binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain; this is why it produces psychoactive effects. CBD will change the shape of those same CB1 receptors. If THC attaches to the CB1 receptors after consuming CBD, it will manifest less psychoactive effects than it would typically do.

This answers the question: does CBD cancel THC? Since CBD does not latch onto the CB1 receptors as THC does, it does not produce psychoactive effects. Instead, it will raise the levels of endocannabinoids, such as anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule.

It also targets serotonin, GPR55, TRPV1, and PPAR receptors. Through this, it has been able to produce notable outcomes in people who are nervous and depressed.

Medical Benefits

As seen above, taking phytocannabinoids and terpenes together has numerous benefits. Some of the benefits of taking CBD and THC together may include:

  • Pain relief.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Anxiety relief.
  • Assuage effects of chemotherapy.

So, Does CBD Cancel THC?

Now, most would think that it is certain that  CBD does cancel THC, but the results are not actually that consistent. In some cases, you will find that CBD did reduce THC’s effects, and in others, there are claims that it exacerbated them.

This has to do with the multiple mechanisms in which THC and CBD interact. For example, there is a pharmacokinetic mechanism. It is the process by which a molecule modulates the effects of another molecule.

CBD does this by boosting the blood levels of THC by inhibiting the CYP2C9 enzyme. This is the enzyme that is responsible for metabolizing THC. Also, some studies in mice noted that when they were given CBD before THC, they increased THC levels in the blood and brains.

The second mechanism is when a molecule modulates another molecule’s effect by binding to a different receptor. For example, when myrcene, a terpene in cannabis, acts on the GABA-1 receptors, the result will be a sedative effect.

Another example of this is the reduction in anxiety that you may experience when CBD acts on the serotonin 5-HTIA receptor. According to research, there are around three different cannabinoids and eight terpenes that increase the potency of THC at the CB1 receptor.

The third mechanism is by direct pharmacodynamics. This is the process whereby a molecule modulates the effects of another molecule by binding to the same receptor. This happens when CBD acts as a negative allosteric modulator, thereby reducing the activation of the CB1 receptor.

So, does CBD cancel THC? Well, the answer to this is yes. However, this is mostly dependent on the dosage of CBD, the cannabinoid ratio, and the time of ingestion of each. According to research, the ratio of 1:1 is the most effective.

CBD to THC RatioDoes CBD Cancel THC? - cbd oil with normal ratio of cbd to thc

The ratio of CBD to THC that you take will be a good indicator of its effect on your body. For example, taking a ratio that is higher in CBD will give you a clear-headed effect. On the other hand, doing the same with higher THC levels will provide more psychoactive effects, and so on.The following is a list of some of the common ratios used in extracts and cultivars.


This is the best balance that you could find. A 1:1 extract or strain will contain equal parts of THC and CBD. Therefore, you will experience some psychoactive effects, but CBD will lessen the impact.


It means that CBD levels are twice that of THC. This will double down on the ‘remaining lucid’ effect. People taking it will experience a light high, but it will not overwhelm them. This is because the CBD will block THC’s adverse effects; hence, you will feel more creative and relaxed.


Taking strains with this ratio will only give you a light high, or none of it. THC effects will be apparent, but they will not deter your productivity in your day to day routines. It is usually an excellent option for daytime use.

20:1 RATIO

The CBD levels here are way higher than that of THC; hence it is a perfect ratio for first-time users. You will not feel elevated, but the small levels of THC will lead to an entourage effect.


This will enable you to enjoy the full effects of CBD without taking any THC. It is a perfect solution for users who do not want to have any psychoactive effects and undergo drug tests as athletes do.

Finding your CBD to THC ratio is crucial for people who want to use it for recreational purposes and also for those with medical reasons. The most vital thing you should note is that you should start slow, as you find your ideal ratio.

This will help you to gauge your body and how it reacts to the different dosages. You can increase the dosage with time as you monitor the effects on your body.

Does CBD Cancel THC? – The Takeaway

The research on the depth of the effects of CBD on THC is still ongoing. Further research will help establish the full effectiveness of this relationship. However, the answer to the question ‘does CBD cancel THC?’ is, as stated before, a clear yes, but it depends on the dosage taken.

CBD can reduce the effects of THC when you consume them together. This is especially beneficial to people who consume large amounts of THC. CBD will help to balance the high they will get from THC.

However, before taking CBD or THC, it is highly advisable that you talk with your physician. This is they might interact with different medications you might be on.

THC has some side effects, such as being psychoactive, dry mouth, fatigue, anxiety, and slow memory loss. CBD can also lead to nausea and diarrhea when it interacts with other medications. So, safety first, make sure that you get an okay from your doctor before taking any CBD or THC.

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