Low-Dose CBD Could Enhance THC’s Intoxicating Effects

Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

It’s been suggested that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) may be able to lessen the intoxicating or negative effects of 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are generally thought of as feelings of disorientation, anxiety or paranoia. But exactly how these two primary plant compounds interact with each other still isn’t clear.  A recent study shows that while high-dose CBD can work to reduce the effects of THC, low-dose CBD can actually enhance intoxication, especially among infrequent users. 

The study asked participants to complete five different drug conditions each a week apart and used blind observer ratings and self-ratings to report the psychoactive effects. The study contrasted placebo versus CBD alone (400 mg) and THC alone (8 mg) versus THC combined with low (4 mg) or high (400 mg) doses of CBD, consumed via vaporization. These doses were administered to both frequent and infrequent cannabis users. 

The findings revealed that CBD showed some intoxicating properties relative to placebo and that high doses of CBD reduced the intoxicating effects of THC. But in a low-dose, these effects were reversed: CBD enhanced the intoxicating properties of the THC, particularly for infrequent cannabis users. Considering both marijuana and CBD are gaining in worldwide popularity, these findings are important to consider in terms of proportions and dosing, and indicate that there are implications for novice users.


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