Understanding the CBD THC ratio in cannabis products can be confusing, but we break down what everything means in this quick guide. Come learn how to easily make your own cannabis-infused oil, ready to use in medicated edible recipes, topical salves, or even enjoy straight on its own. Selecting quality cannabis products takes some time and careful consideration. Knowing what is in the products you choose is important.
Quick Guide to CBD:THC Ratios
When we talk about cannabis or cannabis products, the term “ratio” might sometimes get thrown around. A ratio typically refers to the amount of CBD to THC in a cannabis product or strain.
In this quick guide today, we want to cover everything you need to know about the CBD THC ratio of a product. We’ll even follow up with the most common types of ratios in the cannabis world.
What is a CBD:THC Ratio?
To put it simply, a CBD THC ratio is how much CBD is in a product compared to how much THC it has. With this ratio, the CBD will always be listed first – even for something that’s THC-dominant.
So, if there’s 4 times as much THC as there is CBD, it would have an 1:4 ratio. For this quick guide today, though, we’re touching on mostly CBD-dominant ratios.
For example, an 8:1 cannabis product contains 8 times the amount of CBD than it does THC.
Most Common CBD THC Ratios
20:1, 18:1, 15:1
You’re looking at high CBD, low THC. This could be 15:1, 18:1, 20:1, or anything with a significantly higher level of CBD. It rarely causes a high.
More moderate of a CBD THC ratio, it’s simply 10 times more CBD than THC.
5:1, 4:1, 2:1
These ratios focus more heavily on THC’s medicinal use compared to the ratios we’ve already mentioned. You’d use a CBD THC ratio like these to get a slight buzz as part of your relief.
Finally, equal parts CBD and THC is one of the most common CBD THC ratios in the cannabis world. Users often find it effective for inflammatory relief and pain management.
1:1 is not considered a recreational level of THC. However, 1:1 products are possibly the easiest to find at most dispensaries compared to the others we’ve mentioned.
What’s the Best CBD THC Ratio?
It’s an understandable next question. If there are so many ratios, which one is the best for you? Unfortunately, there’s not an exact answer because CBD and THC work differently for each person.
Likewise, the reason you’re looking for a CBD:THC product may differ wildly from the next user’s. In fact, you might discover you prefer different ratios to fit varying needs. Try out a variety of CBD THC ratios to see what makes you feel most comfortable.
In this guide, we learned that picking the right ratio comes down to the individual. No two people will respond the exact same way to CBD and THC.
If you’re new to cannabis, a higher CBD level than THC is a reasonable place to start. As you discover cannabis products with varying ratios, you’ll learn which effects you like the most. Over time, you can gradually increase the THC side content to find the best ratio for your needs.
Find out which ratio is right for you—stop by our Venice Beach dispensary and learn more about the products we carry and how they can help you reach your goals. Or, check out our online dispensary menu to see what’s in stock.
How to Make Homemade Cannabis Oil (or CBD Oil)
Are you interested in making your own cannabis-infused oil? I don’t blame you! Making homemade cannabis oil is a great way to create a highly healing, concentrated, and versatile cannabis product. It is ready to use in edible recipes, topical salves, or even enjoy straight on its own. Especially if you use organic homegrown cannabis like we do, this is an excellent way to use up any extra or “fluffy” stuff too. It also happens to be very easy to make cannabis oil at home!
Follow along with these step-by-step instructions to learn how to make homemade cannabis oil. We’ll also briefly discuss the science behind cannabis oil, and what types of cannabis to use to make oil. Finally, we’ll go over various ways to use homemade cannabis oil, including some notes about caution and dosing with edibles.
What is Cannabis-Infused Oil
Cannabis oil is made by lightly heating (and thus infusing) cannabis in a “carrier oil”. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC, the most active components in cannabis, are both hydrophobic. That means they don’t like water, and are actually repelled by water molecules. On the flip side, CBD and THC are both fat-soluble. They like to bind with fatty acid molecules – such as those found in oil. When cannabis is steeped in oil, the THC and CBD molecules leave the buds or plant material and become one with the oil instead.
A wide variety of oils can be used to make cannabis oil. However, coconut oil and olive oil are the most popular and common. Coconut oil and olive oil are both pleasant-tasting and very nourishing for skin, making them versatile options for either medicated edibles or topical applications. Plus, they both have strong natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties. This helps prevent mold and extends the shelf life of your cannabis oil. Coconut oil is higher in saturated fat, which may bind fat-loving cannabinoids even more readily than olive oil.
Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, THC, or…
Your choice! You can make cannabis-infused oil with hemp or marijuana, depending on what is legal and available in your area. Or, what you’re desired end-results are. Hemp oil will only contain CBD (or a very minuscule amount of THC), while marijuana-infused oil will likely contain both THC and CBD. The ratio and concentration of THC and/or CBD depends on the strain of marijuana and particular plant it came from.
Generally speaking, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. But THC does a lot more than change your state of mind! Studies show that THC has even stronger pain and stress-relieving properties than CBD, which is known to help with insomnia, seizures and inflammation. While they each have notable and distinct stand-alone benefits, an oil or salve containing both CBD and THC has the highest potential for a wide array of health benefits (albeit illegal in some places). Known as the “entourage effect”, the synergistic combination of both THC and CBD through whole-plant cannabis consumption and extracts is more powerful than either one on its own.
I personally like to use strains that are high in both THC and CBD to make oil and salves. To learn more about the differences between strains, CBD and THC, see this article: “Sativa, Indica & Autoflowers, the Differences Explained”.
Why Make Cannabis Oil
Cannabis oil is the foundation ingredient for ultra-healing homemade topical lotions, ointments, and salves – my favorite way to use it! Both THC and CBD have excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that cannabinoids have the ability to reduce acne, fine lines and wrinkles, soothe redness and irritation, and balance natural skin oils. Also, cannabinoids (THC especially) are analgesic – meaning they reduce pain. I regularly use our homemade cannabis salve on my knees, ankles, and other aching or inflamed joints and muscles.
Furthermore, making cannabis oil is one of the most reliable ways to create medicated edible cannabis products. Even so, it is extremely difficult to determine the exact potency of homemade edibles or cannabis oil. Because of this, it is suggested to consume with caution in very small doses at first. Cannabis oil can be consumed on its own, or added to other edible cannabis recipes. (I personally prefer to make homemade cannabis tinctures over edibles.)
On the other hand, simply chopping up weed to add to your brownie mix is not a good idea, for many reasons. As we already explored, cannabinoids are fat-soluble. That means that they not only bind with oils during the infusion process, but also that cannabinoids are more readily absorbed and digested in our bodies when they’re consumed with fat – such as oil. If you add raw cannabis to baked goods, it is less likely that the cannabinoids will bind to fats for a consistent and effective edible experience. Using decarboxylated cannabis to make cannabis oil further increases precision and consistency.
Using Decarboxylated Cannabis for Oil
The cannabinoid compounds found in raw cannabis (THCA and CBDA) are not the same as those found in cannabis that has been heated – such as those inhaled (THC and CBD) when you ignite or vaporize cannabis, or when cooking with cannabis. The process of heating and “activating” cannabis is called decarboxylation. It is what makes cannabis psychoactive, and also more potent for medicinal applications.
Yet when it comes to heating cannabis, it is best to do so low, slow, and methodically. There are time and temperature “sweet spots” where raw THCA and CBDA are converted into active THC and CBD. But without a precise process, over-heating or under-heating cannabis can lead to uneven activation of THC and CBD. Even worse, it may even destroy the THC or CBD altogether!
The content (activation or decomposition) of THC with time and temperature. Note that CBD takes about 2x as long at the same temperatures. Graph courtesy of 420 Magazine
Most cannabis oil recipes call for cannabis that has already been properly decarboxylated first. The most common and fuss-free way is to decarb cannabis in the oven, and then add it to oil over a very low heat afterwards – avoiding further decarboxylation. Some folks choose to decarb their raw cannabis on the stovetop simultaneously with the oil infusion process. However, that requires significantly more careful monitoring to hit that time-temperature sweet spot (and not ruin it).
Therefore, our cannabis oil recipe calls for decarboxylated cannabis as well. I provide very brief instructions on how to decarb raw cannabis below, but you can read further information about exactly how and why to decarb cannabis in the oven in this article.
1 cup of loosely ground decarboxylated cannabis. To be more precise, I suggest to use a kitchen scale to weigh out approximately 7 to 10 grams (a quarter ounce or just over), depending on your tolerance.
Understanding CBD:THC Ratios
Selecting quality cannabis products takes some time and careful consideration. Knowing what is in the products you choose is important. Knowing how much of each of those ingredients or components is in a product – not just the amount but also the ratio of one key ingredient to another – is also key to anticipating the potential effects that product may produce.
When we’re talking about cannabis products, the term “ratio” typically refers to the ratio of CBD to THC. These types of ratios can be expressed as CBD:THC (the amount of CBD versus THC).
As we discussed in “The Entourage or Ensemble Effect”, the relationship between THC and CBD is interesting because it is both complementary and antagonistic meaning they both work together in some ways, but in other ways, they work to modify the effects of the other.
Here are some examples of ratios and what those ratios could mean:
40:1 – 40 parts CBD to 1 part THC. This ratio contains a significantly higher amount of CBD that will impact the way the low amount of THC works overall. The focus of a product with this combination is on the benefits of CBD.
18:1 – 18 parts CBD to 1 part THC. With a higher CBD content compared to the THC content, this ratio is not overly psychoactive and can be a good starting point for someone new to CBD or THC.
8:1 – 8 parts CBD to 1 part THC which is more of a mid-range amount of CBD. Again, the CBD content dominates the THC content for a tempering effect that minimizes overt psychoactivity.
4:1 – 4 parts CBD to 1 part THC. This ratio still has a CBD content higher than the THC, which is in the mid-range, but the THC will produce some more pronounced psychoactive effects.
2:1 – 2 parts CBD to 1 part THC. There could be more overt psychoactivity depending on a person’s THC tolerance level since this ratio is a little more equal, with less CBD to temper the THC.
1:1 – 1 part CBD to 1 part THC. While this ratio looks the most balanced, it will actually produce more of an overall psychoactivity and may be better suited for a person with a higher tolerance to THC.
Picking the right ratio is an individual thing – no two people’s bodies or brains (or endocannabinoid systems) are alike. If a person is a novice, a reasonable place to start is at the ratio with the highest amount of CBD versus the THC content. Over time, easing into trying ratios with higher THC will, inevitably, produce different effects but how strong is to be determined person to person.