by Silent Jay on 29/04/2016 | Consumption

Can CBD counteract the effects of THC?

CBD vs THC To answer everyone’s question: yes, CBD can counter the effects triggered by THC. The claim has been proven both on a clinical level, via studies meant to explore the future possibilities for pharmaceutical, cannabis-based drugs, and via recreational users.

CBD & THC, a popular duo

CBD and THC are two of the most “popular” cannabinoids: not only are they both prominent in medical studies, their various properties, medicinal or otherwise, have been popularized by the media for the last ten years, increasing awareness and advancing the cause of the use of cannabinoids in medicine.

CBD and THC levels vary among different cannabis strains. This is why varieties containing high levels of either are advertised as such, respectively, to patients, and recreational users.

From a recreational standpoint, CBD conventionally isn’t sought after, while THC is, simply because the latter is a psychoactive cannabinoid which tends to define the overall potency of a strain.
Cannabis varieties with high levels of CBD are mostly popular among patients, as well as mild recreational users looking to wind up without necessarily finding themselves in a potentially non-functional haze.

CBD to counter THC in medicine

Because of the illegal status of cannabis that remains in many countries, the use of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes is not exactly as democratized as it should be. THC, despite its countless advantages (pain management, appetite stimulant, antiemetic, intraocular pressure relief, etc.), is still the object of taboo, solely because of its psychoactive properties. CBD on the other hand, while a poor choice for recreational users, is very much focused on, in order to create treatments involving minimal side effects.

Most of THC-induced effects result from its partial agonist activity on receptors CB1 and CB2, respectively present in the central nervous system and in the immune system. Its psychoactive properties, for instance, have to do with the former. CBD interacts with both of these receptors as well, although as an antagonist. Several studies have explored the exact impact of the two phytocannabinoids via the lab testing of their synthetic counterparts. You can read more details about the two compounds’ respective actions here or here.

As one may notice upon consulting the second aforementioned study, some of the experiments are conducted purely for the purpose of countering the so-called “permanent” and “adverse” effects of THC, such as paranoia, anxiety, and memory impairment. This purpose is discussable from a recreational standpoint, and in some instances, from a medicinal standpoint. When a patient is using cannabis to alleviate several symptoms at once, some of them can be related to the benefits of THC, while others are impacted by the consumption of CBD (and possibly of other, lesser-known cannabinoids).

Nevertheless, it is interesting to imagine what consequences such results could have in the future manufacturing of cannabis-based remedies for patients who do not wish to accustom themselves to the aforementioned side effects, while still benefiting fully from their accompanying medicinal advantages.

The “entourage effect” already plays a role in this direction: by enhancing each other’s desirable effects, CBD and THC can coexist as a viable treatment option. Notably, CBD slows down the breakdown of THC in the liver, allowing for a longer efficiency of its therapeutic attributes.

However, at this time, there is no progress made in said direction. It is possible in certain countries to find CBD oil or CBD-based products catered for the growing demographic of medicinal cannabis users. Yet, despite its lack of psychoactive properties, CBD still is illegal in many places, including in most states of the US, despite the majority of them authorizing the use of medicinal cannabis.

There is much work to be done in terms of determining the exact details of how CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors, thus impacting the effects produced by THC. Certain studies have started to unveil the possibility that the effects observed may vary depending on whether or not CBD is the only cannabinoid present: for instance, if consumed via the cannabis plant in its combusted or vaporised state, a opposed to via pure CBD oil, in which, presumably*, most other cannabinoids are not present.

Finally, considering the antipsychotic properties demonstrated by CBD in this specific domain, many studies in the future should focus on its possible application in regards to natural chemical reactions, such as those observed in certain mental illnesses: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, etc. In order for this to happen, considering the limitations entailed by the use of their synthetic versions, CBD as well as THC need to benefit from a fully legalized status.

*At this stage, 113 different cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant. There is, however, no certainty that those are the only existing cannabinoids, rendering the notion of a “pure” oil in which one cannabinoid is successfully isolated, potentially inaccurate.

Recreational cannabis users and CBD

Many cannabis strains are advertised as “couch-lock wonders”, “powerhouses”, or even a “punch in the face”, for their extreme potency, and therefore utter ability to provide effects that are more or less sought after: enhancement of bodily sensations, enhancement of the senses, fogginess, relaxing effect, etc.
The fact that CBD can counteract the effects of THC has been put on the proverbial paper by the scientific community. Regardless, recreational consumers have tested the theory long before the well-meaning albeit very much hindered medical community could get their hands on the versatile compounds that are these two cannabinoids.

Sadly, Internet (or conversations with a cannabis-friendly audience) is the only source via which one can obtain confirmation that CBD does, in fact, reduce the effects provided by THC in a recreational context. That is: via smoking and vaping cannabis.

Several reports have been made by informed, experienced smokers. Most of these reports are borne from accidental assessments. For one reason or another, be it the sudden need for medication, lack of knowledge of the product available, or simply the desire to test a “CBD only” cannabis strain, many a smoker has experienced the unsettling feeling of suddenly letting go of a high upon taking a few vapour/smoke puffs off a seemingly innocent, theoretically recreational joint/bowl.

What users report

Advising CBD to beginners as an “emergency remedy” is increasingly commonplace, especially in newfound cannabis havens, such as the US states of Colorado and Washington. Especially in regards to consumption of edibles, new consumers have found in CBD products a sure-fire way to palliate to a potential (albeit harmless) “freak-out”. Indeed, despite edibles bearing the much-needed instruction labels required by governments, many have encountered unexpectedly overwhelming highs; an issue easily fixed with the right CBD products.
Important Note: CBD in very small quantities (less than 4%) may extend a THC-induced high. Choose your CBD product wisely!

Advice to occasional consumers

If you are an occasional cannabis consumer, that is, if you smoke relatively regularly, but not frequently, you might be interested in the benefits of CBD to counter THC. Evidently, not on a regular basis; why spoil a perfectly good high if you do not partake very often to begin with? However, very few occasional consumers are completely safe from feeling overwhelmed. A CBD-heavy strain some place handy can go a long way in case of a fleeting moment of panic – if only as a comforting visual placebo, not unlike an inhaler for the asthma sufferer.
Besides, if you find yourself facing the opportunity to taste a particularly potent cannabis strain, you may want to experience the extent of its power only for a certain amount of time. Whipping out, say, a CBD capsule or a CBD-laced gummy bear may “save you” from an unsolicited, introspective dive into your subconscious.

Advice to daily consumers

What could possibly be the upside of all this, one daily recreational cannabis consumer might wonder? Absolutely none, another one retorts!
“The irresistible urge to get high again” upon consuming a CBD-dominant product, is generally the key statement heard from such consumers. Indeed, over time, as one’s daily cannabis consumption steadies or increases, one will become accustomed to the effects of THC. Think of something similar to the tolerance one develops by consuming paracetamol or ibuprofen on a daily basis, without the unfortunate health hazards, and possibilities of overdose.

But in the spirit of making the cannabis experience an inclusive one, it is important – even to those who do not need it – to wonder in which contexts recreational CBD could in fact be beneficial. We refer you to the previous subheader; you may know people who do not consume cannabis regularly, or at all. Who hasn’t appointed oneself mentor for a day, and counselled someone into familiarizing themselves with the beautiful, versatile plant that is cannabis?

Next time you do so, consider making CBD available to your mentees.

Are you travelling to Amsterdam soon? Want to experience cannabis safely, and with the support of knowledgeable recreational consumers? Visit the Cannabis College, a Sensi Seeds partner.

And don’t forget to tell us about your own experience with THC & CBD in the comments section!


Comment Section

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Joel Munson

Is one supposed to take CBD before, during, or after THC to mitigate the psychoactive effects?



You may take CBD before and after. Only very small amounts are needed of distillate to notice the calming effect. If you are experiencing undesirable effects from THC it is nice to have some CBD around to help stabilize your bodies Cannabinoid receptors. You can order pure CBD distillate from industrial hemp.

Industrial Hemp has only .3% THC (the legal maximum) and has a higher concentration of CBD than most Cannabis Flower strains. Other components such as terpenes, and small amounts of other cannabinoids are introduced after extraction to create a "full profile" of interaction for the CBD. Grateful Crystals are 100% organic, non-gmo, and pure meaning they are the most "bio-available". They go straight into the blood stream rather than needing to be digested.



Very informative article, very cool. Thanks for the good read!



Don't do it if you want to medicate regularly with THC and for me, here's why. I was honorably discharged from the Army in 2016. Several months before I got out my friend had told me about a vape product w CBD in it that medicates you w/out failing a urinalysis. I tried it and I LOVED it. All the research I had done said it was a safe and natural product, which it is, so I smoked about .5ml every other day. I noticed quickly that my tolerance was going up, .5ml turned into 2ml as the "high" became shorter and harder to achieve. Then I got out of the Army and the day came that I could smoke marijuana w/out worries of military action...... At first I couldn't get high, I smoked A LOT of very good strains and concentrates and I would feel nothing. This was weird as right before I tried CBD, I had taking a couple puffs of some mid stuff and INSTANTLY felt the affect. So chemically, something had changed in my brain and THC just wasn't working :( At first I blamed it on stress, new civilian life, family always around (LOL) as a reason mentally I couldn't get high. So fast forward to now, about 8 months later, I haven't done any CBD since and THC is working however, very slowly and it isn't the same. Reading this article I now understand why I couldn't get high off of THC, I was blasting my brain w so much CBD that I was inadvertently building an insane tolerance for THC... I had set myself up for failure ;) Obviously I know that if I just quit for a couple months everything would reset itself I'd imagine but.. I prefer my medication green and smoked rather than round and swallowed. SGT E



Hey Sgt, what product were you taking? Trying to push Charlotte's Web and other products with less than .3 THC for some guys in the Corps but worried about drug testing. Thoughts?



I smoke a little THC everyday, along with taking CBD oil, and it is a game changer. The CBD oil blocks the feelings of anxiety and paranoia, caused by the THC, along with blocking out the munchies as well. I take the THC for depression and CBD deals with my anxiety. Love the combination.



This is my problem right now .In 2015 i had a panic attack after hitting a big dab ( ive smoked thc for over ten years before this freak out) ever since then i have not smoked thc .Am scared to freak out again but i miss it a lot . I’ve always had really bad anxiety so this past week decided to try cbd after doing lots of research let’s just say I’ll probably never stop taking it .I only take a little bit every other day or when i feel anxiety coming on it works wonders.

My question is if i decide to go back to thc should i take the CBD before or after and dose it really help to conbine the two .



I've been smoking weed for 15 years. For the past 10 years I've been smoking to to help deal with anxiety and depression. I've tried all the SSRI's and beta blockers, some of them work but usually came with extreme side affects like muscle spasms, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, weight gain and heart palpitations. I stopped the doctors prescriptions two years ago and decided to stick with weed temporarily relieve my pain.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered CBD oil and purchased myself a 10ml bottle. Its been a week since I've started taking CBD oil and i haven't felt this good in over a decade. It feels so good to be able to wake up in the morning and function like a normal person without the need to take THC.

I've lost over a decade of my life to THC, ironically CBD is giving it back.


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Dave,

Thank you for this comment, it's great to hear that you have had such good results with the CBD oil and that your quality of life has improved so much! Long may this continue :)

With best wishes,




I have been using both THC and CBD medical marijuana for several years and one thing I have realized is that CBD does not reduce my high. If smoked after a THC joint it does relax me but it also makes me much higher and I have a more psychedelic experience. To say CBD will reduce you high is false in my experience.



Hell no, my edible has a mix of 50mg of thc & 20mg cannabidiol. And i am freaking out 😂 i am freaked out because reading this was confusing & now i dont really know what it was meaning, so now i dont know if its gunna last this long.



I've only recently started trying the CBD, but I came on here to see if it was intensifying other people's high as well. So seeing it say that it should be reducing it was really confusing to read.
I have a vape pen filled with .5g of 250mg CBD (which between my mom and my myself a small dent has been made in but still well over half is left) and I hate a 100mg CBD Nerds Rope.
I tried it all after smoking a bowl, I was super relaxed. I didn't need my sleeping pill, I kind of felt floaty (in a good way, like all the stress weight had been lifted off me and a lot of my pain was gone).
The only thing I can say that seems accurate is that I did not have the munchies as bad as I usually do lol.

Aside from that, combining the THC and the CBD products was like the biggest blessing of my damn life



Thanks for the great article. I do however have a question that someone might help with. I want to get rid of the THC content when baking the leaves, but not harm the CBD content. What are the temperatures to get the THC out and for how long should I bake it?


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Danine,

Thanks for your comment. The leaves themselves do not contain THC, although the small leaves that are close to the buds quite often have a coating of trichomes, which do contain THC (this is why they are sometimes known as "sugar leaves", because they look like they are coated in sugar). If you avoid these leaves, there should be no need to try to remove the THC without harming the CBD, and in honesty I don't know if that is even possible - does anyone else have ideas on this?

With best wishes




Tonight is the first night I’ve ever tried CBD. I have been taking suboxone for 7-8 years daily now and I’m using it to ween off the subs. Already it’s helped me to skip a normal dose and that to me is a fucking miracle, I feel like I’ve shown more signs of life in these past 5 hours than I have in the past 7-8 years. Granted subs helped save me from heroin but I NEVER would have taken suboxone to help with damage control if I had known about CBD. I have yet to try it with THC but it’s not really priority to me honestly I just want to get off these fucking subs before they kill me and I’m in awe at the medicinal properties already provided by CBD alone. I’m sure combining may help to give that full entourage effect thing but I’m a bit nervous to add THC into the mix but eventually do want to make it my permanent medication over suboxone and any other pharmaceutical. If you are an opiate addict looking to get clean without fucking yourself over worse please try CBD! You won’t be one hundred percent comfortable but the difference between that and kicking dope is night and day with CBD! How this is not a natural option among rehabilitation clinics is beyond me.



I was on suboxone/ buprenorphine, since about 13 years, when they came out.
I was on at one point 3 -8 mg a day.
That's a lot.
I was just reading someone was on Subs for years, and now does CBD.
Yes, it works wonders.
I weaned myself off Subs, and I'm completely off now, thank god.
I take CBD oil everyday.
It's a little expensive,
But I do not care.
What a miracle
I was on OPIODS for years, and I've never felt better.
i hope the best for you. I'd much rather go to the marijuana store, instead of the pharmacy!!


Dan the man

I have smoked many types of weed in my time been addicted and stopped many times. So often that I have experienced 'The Whitey' or as you so eloquently put it 'An introspective dive into your Sub-Conciousness' very many times....The main reason being that on that first night... I always seem to take too much....(I like it ..alot) ...nevertheless I have a solution that hopefully will work on others because this works EVERY TIME for me and its quite amazing how well this manages to bring the lovely feeling back. I get this so bad that I can actually end up crawling ... clawing my shirt off... and wishing I hadn't bought as much as I did...this has several times made me literally sick as a dog and end up yno chatting to Huey the great White telephone that lives in the bathroom...too hot and hyper ventillating.....I used to then crawl to bed...If I could see at all.. lol or just crashing right there on the nice cool bathroom floor.... FEAR NOT THERE IS AN ANSWER! I discovered this because I can get the same effect from playing Video games (3D) while high... one day I was playing at a friends house and normally I would have to stop....coz the wobblies were comming! But It turns out he had a Fan pointing at our backs while we were playing that day.... cool air?...Not quite but close....
So I realised that I wasn't getting 'The wobblies' and there was no 'Whitey' and could play for hours....which was really odd.... So I realised that -
----------------------ITS HOW HOT THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD IS ---------------------
Ever since then If I get 'the wobblies' I just throw a bunch of Cold water into the nape of my neck (at the back of the head) just under the skull line....and boom Just like that they dissapear! and yeh I just dont suffer any where near as much as I did.. Gaming has been So much fun since that day.... Although I am still real carefull on that first day back on because the Weed I get is really stoopid strong anyhow... I hope this helps someone as much as it helps me! 8o)
...2ndLemonhaze...3rdCritical +2....4thSKUNK#1....and my top fav 1stWWhite WWidoWW



im was so tight bc i just starting taking CBD oil today for anxiety and other stuff and ive been smoking bud with only THC like everyday for around a year and i j smoked and i was like why am i barely clapped lmk so thanks for answering homes


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