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Medical Marijuana: How Ratios Work

01/3/2022 All About Cannabis

During the short history of legalized medical marijuana in Colorado, a lot has happened. A wide variety of different applications have been introduced that can treat an extensive collection of health conditions. There are so many new products the selection can be dizzying.

The choices can seem overwhelming – gummies and oils and edibles, treats and tinctures and beverages. If medical marijuana options are new to you, you may not know which direction to move in. Even longtime marijuana users might be confused by all the new choices.

Marijuana ratios are another aspect of the medical marijuana picture that must be considered. With a bit of education – and a little help from one of our friendly and knowledgeable budtender – you’ll be able to understand how ratios work. This will help you dial in the treatment and experience that’s best for you.

THC and CBD: Components That Make the Difference

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are two of the main components of marijuana. Known as cannabinoids, THC and CBD have clear impacts on the body and many beneficial medical applications.

THC has a psychoactive effect, and CBD, while beneficial in other ways, does not. Until recently, consumers’ choices were either a THC-rich product or a CBD-rich one. States that haven’t passed laws legalizing marijuana can only offer products containing CBD.

Recent scientific research has revealed the “Entourage Effect,” showing that using a full spectrum of cannabinoids will enhance the impact of each cannabinoid. Between 80 and 100 different cannabinoids are found in the marijuana plant, though THC and CBD provide the most benefits. Adding THC to CBD-rich products can improve the efficacy without producing a “high” for the patient.

Determining the Best Ratio for You

Figuring out the right balance among cannabinoids might take some trial and error but will lead you to the best outcomes. Both CBD and THC have medicinal value, but only THC produces the feeling of being high. Recently it’s been found that small amounts of THC can increase the effectiveness of CBD-rich products without producing a high. Conversely, small amounts of CBD added to THC-rich products can lessen the feeling of being high.

Each person’s physiology is different, so the correct ratio will be different for everyone. That’s one of the beauties of medical marijuana – the treatment is highly personalized. The ailment that’s being treated and the desired result are as unique as you are. That means the cannabinoid ratios will be individual as well. You may want to work with your caregiver to make small changes to the amounts to find what’s best for you.

Here’s some basic information about ratios to help you get started.

  • 0:1 CBD: THC

This means that there are zero units of CBD for every unit of THC. THC-only or THC-rich products are likely to cause a feeling of being high. For those new to medical marijuana, this can also produce feelings of paranoia and/or anxiety if a large amount is consumed.

This type of ratio is most likely for recreational or experienced users. Products that contain no CBD will be labeled with only THC milligrams.

  • 1:0 CBD: THC

For every unit of CBD, there are zero units of THC. CBD-rich products effectively treat serious conditions, like mood disorders or epilepsy. The high brought by THC would not be beneficial to the patient.

Adding a small amount of THC to a CBD product has a beneficial effect on other conditions. As with products that contain only THC, products that contain only CBD will have the number of milligrams of CBD listed.

  • 1:1 CBD: THC

These products contain equal amounts of CBD and THC. A psychoactive reaction – the feeling of being high – would be expected. Both cannabinoids can work together to effectively treat conditions such as cancer, fibromyalgia, insomnia, and pain for many different ailments.

DIY and Read the Labels

More specific ratios have been developed by medical marijuana companies. Ratios like 20:1 CBD to THC would boost the effectiveness of the CBD with barely any high effect. Other ratios such as 18:1, 10:1, 5: 1, and 2:1 CBD to THC can be considered, accounting for an individual’s sensitivities and tolerance.  Patients who could benefit from more of the psychoactive component of THC can also be accommodated.

Note: usually, the ratios mean “units of CBD to THC,” but not always. Make sure to talk to someone at the dispensary if a product doesn’t specify “CBD: THC,” or vice versa. If you’re looking for something that’s CBD-rich, you don’t want to go home with a product that’s THC-rich instead.

Titrating a specific dose for yourself is another way to find the ratio that works best for you. Start with around 2-3 mg of a CBD-only product and add small amounts (microdoses) of a THC-only product.  Tinctures are easiest to reduce to microdoses. Therefore, they would be the best product to use to discover your best ratio.

Make sure to notice other measurements on the packaging of medical marijuana products. Most use the metric system. Liquid products will have numbers like 5mg/ml. This refers to the concentration of marijuana per milliliter, in this case, 5 mg of marijuana per 1 milliliter.

Best Advice

If you’re not experienced with ratios in medical marijuana products, you’re in luck because you can find experienced budtenders at your local Buddy Boy dispensary who will be able to give the best advice. A vast body of knowledge combined with personal experience can lead you to the best medicine.



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