How are CBD and THC ratios established?

The search for the golden ratio.

With demand for high CBD (cannabidiol)cannabis products continuing to grow amongst both medical and recreational users, the cannabis industry is now saturated with a wide selection of products featuring different ratios between the cannabinoids CBD and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinols). Some of the most common ratios on the recreational market are 1:1 (equal amounts of CBD and THC), 2:1 (twice as much CBD as THC), 5:1, 10:1, and 20:1. With all of these wonderful new choices comes the burden for many consumers of trying to decipher which amongst these various options is going to give them the optimal therapeutic effect.

 

Many people who are seeking CBD for the potential health benefits are not necessarily interested in the “high” or euphoric effects that comes from the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. However, research suggests that CBD and THC work synergistically to provide a wealth of health benefits, a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect. In other words, CBD alone may not be nearly as effective as it is when consumed in conjunction with THC. So this leaves us begging the question, is there some golden ratio that will allow users to reap the full benefits of CBD while still reducing unwanted mind alteration?

 

We spoke with Lena Davidson from botanicaSEATTLE (Spot) a company that has supplied High End Market Place with edibles of various CBD levels over the past few years, she stated that “The 5:1 ratio is closest to the pure “medical” ratio that allows for maximum CBD effect with minimum THC.” She added that “There are lots of schools of thought on this; how entourage is “too” entourage? At what point does CBD lose it’s effectiveness? Some research suggests that CBD does it’s best work in smaller doses. We don’t have lots of science available to us, so we’ve made use of our existing resources. We sent a small group to the Northwest Herb Symposium last year to workshop with microbiologist and expert in botanicals Kevin Spelman PhD, and and he is an advocate for the 5:1 ratio as the peak therapeutic range. We used that ratio to guide our decision to make a subspychoative product that (presumably) offers the purest experience of CBD.”

 

“We don’t have lots of science available to us, so we’ve made use of our existing resources.”

– Lena Davidson, bontanicaSEATTLE (SPOT)

 

Spot’s approach to choosing the right CBD ratios for products is similar to other industry leaders that we spoke to about this issue. James Hull, Owner of Fairwinds, another producer/processor that provides H.E.M.P. with CBD based products told me that they choose their product ratios by analyzing available research in order to determine “what is most effective for treatments of particular ailments or conditions [they] are targeting.”

 

While we commend these companies for attempting to take on analysis and research in order to create the best, most effective products that they can, long-term clinical studies should not and cannot fall on the shoulders of producers and processors. More information needs to be gathered on WHY each of these ratios proves to have validity as treatment for various conditions. Is a 20:1 CBD to THC ratio more effective than a 1:1 ratio for someone with epilepsy? In order to give this industry a leg up and continue to supply our communities with reliable products and information, we need to continue to push for more third-party research.

 

WA allows labs to grow cannabis for scientific purposes.

The good news, is that Washington state officials have agreed to begin conducting studies in order to advance the cannabis industry and enhance consumer products despite federal regulations. Newly allotted applications for cannabis research licenses will allow laboratories to grow cannabis for scientific purposes. Acceptance of applications is expected to begin by January, 2017. According to the News Tribune, Peter Antolin, Liquor Control Board deputy director, believes that this program will “advance the field of marijuana research and solidify Washington as a leader in this field.” Washington State University and the University of Washington are already gearing up to lead cannabis studies.

 

Our only concern is that research on the effectiveness of current products may take a backseat to determining the medical legitimacy of cannabis in general. Imagine for a moment if no clinical studies were done on pharmaceutical drugs before they hit the market. There would be no standard for effectiveness of products, and it would be up to the consumer to take a risk on buying something that may not help them at all. Not to mention potential side effects that may arise without warning. We are not suggesting that all cannabis products need to go through testing prior to hitting the market, but it would definitely be helpful to get some overarching feedback from an unbiased and well-established viewpoint.

Additional Resources:

A great article by Dr. Ethan Russo about current cannabis clinical trial design issues

CBD User’s Manual” based on available scientific knowledge.

Stay up to date with CBD science.

 

Interesting article about the relationship between THC and CBD

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