A recent wave of media attention for CBD, scientific studies, and anecdotal evidence has caused a surge of mainstream interest in cannabis. As the popularity of cannabis, hemp and CBD has grown, there are still many questions and misunderstandings about the plant and its compounds, including does CBD work without THC (hint… yes).
Here we will dive into this common question, and look at whether THC is even necessary at all to make CBD more effective.
A Refresher on CBD and THC
CBD, short for “cannabidiol”, is one of 113+ chemical compounds uniquely found in cannabis. While THC is the most famous cannabinoid for its intoxicating effects, CBD offers many health benefits but does not cause the psychoactive “high” often associated with cannabis. These compounds, along with other aromatic chemicals called terpenes, have many known medicinal benefits.
There are two different varieties of the cannabis plant, marijuana and hemp. CBD can be derived from either marijuana or hemp. While marijuana is bred for its high concentration of THC, hemp has only trace amounts of THC, but has a high concentration of CBD. Most of the CBD products you see on the market today are derived from hemp.
When CBD oil is extracted from hemp, it will contain mainly CBD, but will also have the trace amount of THC, as well as other minor cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant. This is what is known as a full spectrum CBD extract.
Tessera Naturals offers broad spectrum CBD, which takes the full spectrum extract and selectively removes the THC, while still maintaining the rest of the spectrum of minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
Does CBD Alone Work?
As more and more research emerges, there are literally thousands of studies on CBD pointing to its efficacy on its own.
A clinical trial published in May of 2017 tested the effects of CBD for the debilitating epileptic condition, Dravet’s Syndrome. The trial discovered that CBD alone reduced seizures by half in 43% of patients who were given the medication.
In June of 2018, the FDA approved a CBD-only medication called Epidiolex, predominantly for these seizure cases.
THC free CBD oil is also being considered as a natural holistic alternative treatment for many other conditions such as pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, diabetes, neurological disorders, auto-immune deficiencies and addiction treatment.
Is Combining Cannabinoids Better than Isolating them?
When consuming various cannabinoids together, it promotes what is known as the “entourage effect” benefiting our endocannabinoid system better than isolated cannabinoids. The various cannabinoids and terpenes work synergistically, enhancing each other’s properties and creating a 1 + 1 = 3 scenario.
When it comes to specifically including THC as part of the extract, some studies have shown THC and CBD work better together (along with other minor cannabinoids and terpenes). In more severe cases it may be best if you use a product that combines CBD and THC, and some will argue that consuming them together is the best method.
That being said, many conditions respond well to CBD alone, so for many people, THC-free CBD has great benefits and may be all that you need. It all depends on the individual, your overall health and what symptoms you’re trying to treat.
Reasons to Avoid THC?
There are benefits from both THC and CBD. As we’ve stated above, THC is not needed to activate CBD as some have suggested, but in some cases a combination of both THC and CBD may be a more effective treatment.
That being said, there are many reasons why some may want to (or need to) avoid THC in their CBD products. For example, in some states and jurisdictions, THC is still illegal, even in the trace amounts found in hemp, while CBD is federally legal according to the 2018 US farm bill.
There are also physical and emotional reasons to avoid THC as well. If you’re someone who has had negative experiences with THC in the past and/or is prone to anxiety, paranoia, or other conditions that might be aggravated by the psychoactive cannabinoids, then a THC-free CBD products may be the best option for you.
If you’re using CBD to treat conditions that THC can sometimes worsen for some people (such as anxiety), you should choose a THC-free option to avoid having the opposite of your desired effects.
Again, you do not need THC to use CBD. CBD can work great by itself, and even better in combination with other non psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp, minus the THC (broad spectrum CBD).
A Word on CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is a singular extracted compound that contains pure CBD only. CBD isolate may be a good choice for those seeking a much higher dose of CBD, or for those seeking relief from conditions that only CBD can provide.
Other than those cases, we feel that CBD isolate is not as effective as full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD as it lacks the many benefits that the amazing hemp plant provides, specifically with combining the minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
We feel that nature knows best and that it’s always better to consume products that contain raw ingredients as close to their natural unaltered state as possible.
What About CBD Dosing?
When it comes to dosing CBD, there is much confusion as there is no standard recommended dose as of yet. CBD is very individualistic and some are more sensitive to its effects than others. How much CBD you should take also depends on various factors such as weight, lifestyle, symptoms, their severity, etc.
An interesting study referenced by Project CBD, point to one very important take-away – CBD Isolate vs. full spectrum CBD states that CBD on it’s own works on a bell-curve, while full-spectrum CBD works on a linear scale.
In other words, more is not better with isolated CBD products. There is a sweet-spot on dosing and it may stop working as effectively if you take too much.
If you’re using a full-spectrum CBD products derived from cannabis containing THC, more may be better.
In the end, even though you can’t really overdose on CBD, each consumer will need to experiment until they find the most effective does for them and their symptoms. We have a free online CBD dosage calculator to help you get a good starting point by entering your weight, condition and severity.
So Does CBD Work Without THC?
As we’ve seen, CBD can be effective is various formats, from full spectrum, broad spectrum and even CBD isolate in certain cases. Bottom line is that CBD will work without THC. CBD does not “need” THC to work, but it all depends on the individual’s conditions, severity and genetics.
Each person will need to experiment with the various forms of CBD to find the right product for them. If they live in a state which allows medicinal and/or recreational marijuana, they may even want to try a higher THC product to see if it alleviates their symptoms more effectively than CBD oil.
- Cannabis contains 113+ cannabinoids and terpenes that work synergistically together for enhanced benefits.
- THC is not needed to “activate” CBD as some have suggested.
- There may be some symptoms where having a small amount of THC will work better than CBD alone, but not for the majority of cases.
- Some may need to avoid THC for legal, physical or emotional reasons.
- Full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD are more effective than CBD isolate due to the entourage effect.
- Each person will need to experiment to learn which product is best for them and their individual needs to determine whether or not CBD works without THC for them.