THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis.
Higher amounts of the cannabinoid are also heavily associated with negative or anxious side effects in some users, such as increased heart rate or paranoia. Strains high in THC are said to overstimulate the amygdala, which produces a “fight or flight” response in the brain, resulting in a sense of paranoia in some patients.
An inexperienced or infrequent user may not be aware of such risks and may find oneself in a position to where they wish to reverse the intoxicating or anxiety-causing effects of THC. Luckily, it has been theorized that CBD, another non-psychoactive cannabinoid in medical marijuana, can counteract these negative effects. CBD is widely available across the country in an isolated form, and medical cannabis certification is not required to purchase such products. A 2013 study found and reported that in patients undergoing negative effects as a result of high THC consumption, the supplementation of various amounts of isolated CBD was found to counteract some of the undesirable effects. This includes anxiety and various psychoses, and usually had a beneficial change in the subject’s mental state. Overall, CBD was found to have synergistic reactions, or positive effects, to that of THC, such as decreased heart rate and anxiety levels.
Why is this? CBD is known to modulate the endocannabinoid receptor (also known as the CB1 receptor) in the brain associated with THC, including modulating excess amounts. Therefore, it is able to mitigate the anxiousness or paranoia associated with feeling intoxicated from higher amounts of THC. This is also due to a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect,” in which the various cannabinoids create unique benefits when ingested in a balanced manner, leading to a more positive experience. The “entourage effect” has been tested in a 2010 study comparing two groups of cancer patients. One group was given a pure THC dosage, while the other was given an equal combination of THC and CBD. It was reported that the group who consumed the combination of THC and CBD experienced more pain relief than the pure THC group. Therefore, it is evident that the two cannabinoids have potential benefits when ingested together, rather than by themselves.