CBD Content Do Not Reduce High, Says Research

Stephen Andrews
09 Aug 2023

There are a number of claims and assumptions on the interaction between CBD and THC in the body. One of them is that CBD can protect against unwanted side effects from THC, such as feeling too high or experiencing memory loss. A recent study from the UK tells us that this might not be the case.

A new study suggests that increasing the CBD quantities in cannabis does not lower the psychedelic effects of THC. The study was carried out by researchers at King’s College London, who wanted to assess a common belief that ingesting cannabis products with more significant amounts of CBD can protect against THC negative side effects. But the data collected from the study suggests that we might need to abandon this idea in the future. 

Increased Amounts of CBD Only Worsened Coughing 

For the purposes of the research, the research team enlisted 46 volunteers to participate in a randomized double-blind trial that included four different experiments. Each volunteer was invited to inhale cannabis vapor with 10 mg of THC and different levels of CBD, starting from 0 mg and going up to 10 mg, 20 mg and 30 mg of CBD. 

The researchers then interviewed the volunteers to assess the effect of the THC/CBD solution on their cognitive capacity, the intensity of psychotic symptoms, and how enjoyable the cannabis was. 

Their conclusion? They found out that increasing the dose of CBD did not matter so much in terms of how THC generated its effects. There was no significant alteration when volunteers received 10 mg, 20 mg, or 30 mg of CBD in the drug combination. 

“None of the CBD levels studied protected our volunteers from the acute negative effects of cannabis, such as anxiety, psychotic symptoms, and worse cognitive performance. It also did not change the quality of the intoxication in any way. The only effect of CBD we saw was that as the concentration of CBD increased, the more the participants coughed,” said Dr. Amir Englund, a research fellow at King’s College and the study’s lead author. 

He added: “We asked volunteers to listen to a favorite song on each visit and taste a piece of chocolate. Although cannabis increased the pleasurability of music and chocolate compared to when volunteers were sober, CBD had no impact.”

The evidence presented with this study appears to challenge the commonly held view that cannabis with higher CBD concentrations shields users from negative side effects from marijuana smoking and consumption. Often those include impaired concentration and short-term memory or slower reaction time. 

In Englund’s view, it may still be safer for consumers to select product options with higher CBD:THC ratios, but the sole reason for that would be that the same amount of cannabis will contain less THC than a lower CBD:THC variety. 

“Overall, our advice to people wanting to avoid the negative effects of THC is to use less of it,” he says. 

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), a government agency that oversees the coordination and funding of medical research in the United Kingdom. The research results were also published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology

Read more on Soft Secrets about other cannabis research:

- The Latest Study on Cannabis and Sex

- Study: Cannabis Use and Physical Health

- Medical Cannabis and Opioid Dosages

Stephen Andrews