The Cannabis Golden Ratio: How Much CBD and THC?

Matt Weeks January 10, 2019 0 comments

How do you find your Golden Cannabis Ratio? And, what does the math on cannabis labels mean?

Cannabis products are not all created equally. In fact, that’s the point. Cannabis has a load of helpful physical and mental effects. Based on how the chemicals within the plant (and products made from it) are distributed, the effects of cannabis vary dramatically. The secret to selecting the right product for you comes down to one important characteristic: the cannabis ratio.

The ratio refers to the concentration of active ingredients (CBD and THC) infused into the product, whether it’s herbal, tincture, patches, oils, edibles, etc. For example, a cannabis oil with a 1:1 ratio has equal parts CBD and THC, while a 1:3 ratio marks a product with three times as much CBD as THC.

The ratio helps you get the most out of cannabis — whether you’re embarking on a medical treatment path or engaging in recreational consumption. The two active ingredients have vastly different properties, influencing how the other expresses when combined. So if you’re going to be a smart consumer, the cannabis ratio is the easiest and best way to tell if you’re going to get what you need.

So, Which Cannabis Ratio Should You Buy?

As a rule of thumb, the higher the CBD content, the less psychoactive the product. This is because the powerful psychoactive properties of THC are kept in check by the presence of CBD.

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Strains that are 20:1 or 25:1, for example, contain so much CBD, in relation to THC, that they’re considered non-psychoactive.

Products with a high CBD ratio generally have no psycho-active side effects (and those with no THC have absolutely zero side effects). High-CBD products are ideal for treating the inflammation of auto-immune disorders and these also make up the arsenal of cannabis strains used in anti-tremor medications treating epilepsy.

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CBD-dominant products can boost mood and can help treat mood disorders. It was recently reported that patients suffering from common conditions like Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder and Seasonal Effective Disorder can have their spirits buoyed by CBD-dominant products.

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The 1:1 Ratio is The Most Common Place To Start

Strains of a 1:1 ratio have their own special properties and are a great place to begin for new consumers. These strains are a time-tested staple of many cannabis users’ consumption. These products provide relaxation, with a slight feeling of euphoria. The side effects are minimal (think the munchies). They are also generally benign enough to avoid THC-induced paranoia.

The 1:1 ratio is, as that number implies, a balanced product. The CBD counteracts the THC with enough force to keep the experience nice and mellow. This also allows users to experience the medicinal benefits of both cannabinoids.

Many researchers believe that CBD and THC work best in tandem thanks to processes that we don’t quite understand yet. The pharmaceutical medication Sativex is based on this 1:1 cannabis ratio, and it has been shown to give effective pain relief for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and act as an effective replacement for opioids. When selecting a product with a 1:1 ratio, it’s also important to look at the levels of THC and CBD. In many cases, a higher amount doesn’t lead to greater benefits, so start low.

What About High THC Cannabis Ratios?

Strains with a higher second number have a greater concentration of THC, which means they have a greater psychoactive effect. For recreational users, this means a “high” feeling and cerebral effects.

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Appetite-inducing and pain killing properties are the primarily uses for High THC products. These are products without CBD (cannabis ratios such as 0:1). These strains are high in psychoactive effects, and are sometimes used by recreational users who value a good high. The side effects can include anxiety and paranoia in certain users.

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Most THC-heavy products include at least a bit of CBD in order to curb psychoactive effects. Products with ratios such as 1:3 can provide pain relief and stress relief. These also tap into the anti-inflammatory powers of CBD. This strain ratio is also a good option for people who want to move past a 1:1 cannabis ratio into more serious pain relief.

These ratios also produce strong anti-tumor effects, according to the latest research. Powerful and potent doses of THC have been shown to reduce tumors, and slow the growth and spread of cancer.

The CBD:THC ratio truly is golden. It’s the best and easiest way to categorize the benefits of cannabis. If only all medicine were that simple.

Author avatar

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."