Does CBD Make THC More Powerful?

Jonathan Dunkley
Does CBD Make THC More Powerful?

As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, understanding the complex interactions between the myriad compounds found in cannabis plants is of increasing importance. One area of particular interest is the relationship between two well-known cannabinoids: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Δ9-THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the "high" users experience, while CBD is a non-psychoactive compound with potential therapeutic benefits.

While much has been written about the individual effects of these compounds, recent research is shedding light on how CBD may influence the way our bodies process Δ9-THC. In a recent randomized clinical trial, it was discovered that higher concentrations of CBD could inhibit Δ9-THC metabolism, leading to greater plasma exposure and heightened effects.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the study's findings and discuss the implications for cannabis users, as well as industry stakeholders.

Study Overview

The study in question aimed to determine the effects of ingesting a single oral dose of Δ9-THC (20 mg) and CBD (640 mg) on plasma exposure, subjective drug effects, cognitive and psychomotor performance, and heart rate. Participants were administered either Δ9-THC alone, Δ9-THC with CBD, or a placebo, and their responses were measured.

Results and Findings

Interestingly, the study found that participants who ingested Δ9-THC with CBD had higher plasma exposure to Δ9-THC and its metabolites, 11-OH-Δ9-THC and Δ9-THC-COOH, compared to those who ingested Δ9-THC alone or the placebo. Consequently, participants who ingested Δ9-THC and CBD together experienced greater increases in subjective drug effects, impaired cognitive and psychomotor performance, and increased heart rate.

This means that the presence of CBD can lead to an enhanced Δ9-THC experience, which may increase the likelihood of acute adverse effects, when compared to the same dose of Δ9-THC taken without CBD.

What This Means for Cannabis Users and Stakeholders

These findings have significant implications for both cannabis users and industry stakeholders, particularly in terms of understanding how different chemical compositions within cannabis products can affect their efficacy and safety.

For users who consume cannabis for medicinal purposes, such as pain relief or anxiety reduction, it's crucial to understand that the presence of CBD in a product may alter the way Δ9-THC is metabolized in the body, potentially leading to more potent effects. This could mean that some users may need to adjust their dosages or ratios of Δ9-THC and CBD to find the ideal balance for their unique needs.

Recreational users should also be aware of the potential for heightened effects when consuming products containing both Δ9-THC and CBD, particularly in terms of subjective drug effects and cognitive or psychomotor impairment. This knowledge can help users make more informed choices about the types of products they consume and the dosages they use, ultimately promoting safer and more enjoyable cannabis experiences.

For industry stakeholders, such as manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, this study underscores the importance of providing consumers with accurate and comprehensive information about the chemical compositions of cannabis products. It also highlights the need for further research and education surrounding the complex interactions between cannabinoids like Δ9-THC and CBD, as well as other compounds found in cannabis plants.

Limitations and Future Research

It's worth noting that the study had some limitations. For example, it only examined a single dose of Δ9-THC and CBD and did not include a CBD-only condition.

Future research should explore multiple doses and ratios of Δ9-THC and CBD to gain a deeper understanding of the generality of the observed associations, as well as to identify the dose threshold for clinically significant alterations in outcomes. Additionally, the study's sample size was not large enough to detect potential sex differences, which have been shown to influence acute cannabis effects. Further studies with larger sample sizes and more diverse populations will be valuable in expanding our understanding of how these cannabinoids interact.


As the cannabis industry continues to flourish and the range of available products diversifies, it's crucial for users and stakeholders alike to remain informed about the complex interactions between the compounds found in cannabis plants. The recent study on the effects of CBD on Δ9-THC metabolism has shed light on an important aspect of the relationship between these two cannabinoids, providing valuable insights for consumers and industry professionals.

By understanding the potential for heightened Δ9-THC effects when CBD is present, users can make more informed decisions about their cannabis consumption, tailoring dosages and ratios to meet their individual needs and preferences. This knowledge can also help industry stakeholders provide better guidance to their customers and contribute to the ongoing conversation surrounding cannabis safety and efficacy.

Ultimately, continued research and open dialogue about the interactions between cannabinoids like Δ9-THC and CBD will pave the way for a more nuanced understanding of the cannabis plant and its many potential benefits and risks. As we learn more about these fascinating compounds, we can work together to ensure that the cannabis industry remains focused on providing safe, effective, and enjoyable products for all users.

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