Weed WeekWhether you're a seasoned smoker or a first-timer at the dispensary, we've got everything you need to hack your high.
Cannabidiol—popularly known as “CBD”—is nothing short of ubiquitous. Not only can you find it in various forms in dispensaries, but in grocery stores, coffee shops, cocktail bars and all sorts of establishments hoping to capitalize on the trend.
And though there still isn’t a ton of scientific evidence to back up the hype, lots of people swear by its calming effects, with some favoring it vastly to products containing THC.
In an email conversation I had with Cami Noecker of Serra dispensaries, the two compound can have quite different effects. “THC and CBD are the two primary cannabinoids that occur in the cannabis plant, she explained. “The most important difference between the two is that CBD on it’s own will not get you ‘high.’” “THC,” she goes on to explain, “is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis,” which gives you “the traditional ‘high’ associated with cannabis.”
But according to Noecker,“CBD is much more effective when combined with THC,” and for that we can thank something called “the entourage-effect.” “Basically,” she explained, “the two components of the plant when combined interact in our bodies in a way which produces a stronger effect. When you consume CBD with a small percentage of THC in it, the CBD will do it’s job better within your system providing you with better effects.”
The addition of CBD can also improve your experience with THC. In an email exchange with Andrea Sparr-Jaswa of Farma, she explained that CBD can help those with who deal with anxiety in two ways. “The addition of CBD can help to mitigate a negative outcome and keep intoxication more body focused and less cerebrally anxious. Conversely, a CBD rich product with minimal THC presence may be just what they need, especially if they’re looking to treat symptoms without intoxication. A little THC will allow CBD to work more effectively at lower doses, but the goal is always to find the lowest dose that provides the needed medicinal benefits.”
If you’ve ever surveyed the vast array of CBD inhalants and edibles at a dispensary, you have most likely seen “1:1,” and “2:1,” written on the packaging, and maybe even “10:1,” and “3:1.” These numbers indicate CBD-to-THC ratios, with the first number usually corresponding to the amount of CBD. (Though Doeckner was quick to point out that you should always double check, as this is “not standardized between all brands.”)
As one would expect, the higher the CBD, the less psychoactive your effect. According to Sparr-Jaswa “CBD may also help mitigate a negative outcome by preventing THC from binding as tightly to receptors, and keeping the high much more body focused than cerebrally stimulating.” Though I had one budtender tell me he could take a 2:1 and “still go about has his day and get stuff done,” anecdotal evidence I have heard from some of my cannabis connoisseur friends indicates that this is definitely not the case for everyone. A 1:1, on the other hand, means you’ve got equal amounts of both compounds on board, which can give one a traditional—though calmer—high without as much (or any) of the anxiety or paranoia they may usually have to deal with when partaking in pot.
As with any new substance, however, it’s important to ease into CBD use, especially when combined with THC. Though CBD is “non-psychoactive,” there’s always a chance you won’t like how it makes you feel. “Ultimately,” explained Sparr-Jaswa, “the ‘start low and go slow’ mantra is imperative to convey, as a low dose for one person may be a high dose for another. Even a person who consumes large quantities of inhalants may still be sensitive to edibles,” so take it easy when making any changes to your cannabis consumption.
Living in Portland, Oregon means I’ve seen CBD shoved into every edible and potable product you can think of, from kombucha to cocktails, but it’s not the same CBD you’ll get in dispensaries. According to Doeckner, “CBD that is sold outside of dispensaries is not derived from the actual marijuana plant; you are getting CBD that is derived from another source such as hemp, or CBD created artificially in a lab. Although all CBD on its own is not psychoactive, it’s very important to remember that not all CBD is created equally and you need to know where your CBD is being sourced from.”
If you’re not sure where the CBD is coming from, just ask. “There are some amazing hemp-derived products in the mainstream consumer market,” Doeckner explained, “but it’s important to know what source the CBD in latte is [from], and what the concentration of CBD is in order to ensure you’re not being sold snake oil.” So order that CBD-infused cocktail if it calls to you, but don’t be disappointed if you feel exactly like you do when you enjoy a normal, boring, hemp-free beverage. (A regular cocktail is still pretty good though.)