Can You Use CBD for THC Side Effects? What the Science Says

Published May 08, 2024
Can You Use CBD for THC Side Effects? What the Science Says - Secret Nature

It’s well known anecdotally that CBD “cuts” or diminishes the THC high, often helping users enjoy both cannabinoids more. Is CBD’s apparent ability to reduce the negative effects of THC use supported by scientific research, though?

It turns out that there’s considerable peer-reviewed, published evidence suggesting that CBD might be useful in managing the adverse effects of THC. We’ll discuss some of the most pertinent and recent studies in this brief review.

CBD for THC Side Effects: Overview

1. The way CBD and THC interact (their “pharmacodynamics”) remains under investigation
2. CBD appears to reduce some THC effects while sometimes increasing others
3. CBD may make you more high or for longer, for instance
4. But, it may also reduce or “cancel out” certain undesirable aspects of THC
5. Results of research into the impact of CBD on THC side effects is inconclusive
6. The fact that CBD modulates the effects of THC, however, is indisputable

Most Recent Research on CBD and THC Side Effects

2023: Daily Cannabidiol Administration for 10 Weeks Modulates Hippocampal and Amygdalar Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Cannabis Users

As one of the most recent pieces of published research on the subject, this small clinical study is highly worthy of consideration. The study consisted of 18 participants who were habitual THC cannabis users and reported issues with cognitive-related side effects. At the end of the study, the researchers found significant evidence to conclude that “CBD exposure may restore/reduce functional connectivity differences reported in cannabis users,” noting increased functional activity “between the amygdala and the lingual gyrus”

2021: Effects of daily Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alone or combined with cannabidiol (CBD) on cognition-based behavior and activity in adolescent nonhuman primates

If the results of this animal study are valid, it’s possible that CBD might help with some THC side effects better than others. When isolated or synthesized, THC causes nausea at a sufficient dose, and this study sought to determine if co-administration with CBD might reduce this and other common THC side effects in primates. In the end, the researchers found that CBD “prevented THC-induced emesis,” indicating that CBD might help with THC nausea. The researchers didn’t find that CBD particularly helped with other THC side effects, though.

CBD for THC Side Effects Human Trials

2023: Assessment of Orally Administered Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol When Coadministered With Cannabidiol on Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics in Healthy Adults

It’s possible that the relationship between CBD and THC could be quite nuanced. In a recent clinical study, 18 participants were provided with brownies containing either THC and a placebo or THC and CBD. Participants in the THC+CBD group reported greater side effects than those in the THC+placebo group, providing evidence that the researchers themselves admit “contradicts common claims that CBD attenuates the adverse effects of Δ9-THC.” It’s possible, the researchers posit, that CBD makes THC stay in your system longer by slowing its metabolism. But, other research still clearly suggests that CBD can still mitigate THC’s side effects under some circumstances. 

2023: The Effects of Acute Cannabis With and Without Cannabidiol on Neural Reward Anticipation in Adults and Adolescents

Even though this study provided inconclusive results, it’s still important to take a look at as many pieces of research into CBD’s usefulness for THC side effects that have been produced recently. Investigating the effects of CBD on adolescent THC users, the researchers found that CBD didn’t impact the suppressing effect that THC seemingly has on the “anticipatory reward response to money.” The study consisted of 47 participants, making it one of the largest clinical studies conducted on the subject to date. It’s possible, though, that the design of the study failed to take into account the subtleties of CBD’s interaction with THC.

Additional CBD for THC Side Effects Studies

2020: Cannabidiol Interferes with Establishment of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-Induced Nausea Through a 5-HT1A Mechanism

It certainly seems there’s something to the idea that CBD might be able to prevent the nausea that sometimes appears when individuals ingest incredibly high concentrations of THC. This animal study eventually found that “CBD attenuated THC-induced nausea as well as THC-induced elevation in [corticosterone]”, a stress hormone. Though the study didn’t encompass this inquiry, the results could also indicate that CBD might mitigate the stress and anxiety that can sometimes occur at abnormally high THC doses.

2013: Does Cannabidiol Protect Against Adverse Psychological Effects of THC?

Though it’s older, this review of the evidence available at the time would go on to serve as the foundation for further research into the usefulness of CBD for THC side effects. While lamenting the lack of available studies, the authors of this review found that research supports the idea that CBD “can counteract some of the negative effects of THC.” Further supporting the use of CBD for THC side effects, the researchers note that “[f]ew or no adverse effects of CBD have been proffered,” meaning that CBD itself is unlikely to add to the side effects of THC.

Discussion: Should CBD Be Used for THC Side Effects?

The viability of using CBD for THC side effects is an interesting question. There’s no doubt that both cannabinoids compete for the same digestive enzymes, potentially increasing the negative effects of THC when both cannabinoids are orally ingested.

As we’ve also shown, though, there is plenty of evidence — both anecdotal and clinical — that CBD may be able to mitigate the effects of THC in at least some ways, primarily in the context of reducing nausea. From there, we can only look to the sea of anecdotal reporting on the subject, which almost universally indicates that CBD tames and reduces THC’s side effects.

Does CBD always reduce the side effects of THC and in every conceivable way? Certainly not. Should CBD be looked into further as a potential mitigator of THC side effects, though? Absolutely. Complex pharmacological mechanisms are at work, and it’s up to the scientific community to puzzle out how they all interconnect.


1. Lorenzetti, V., McTavish, E., Broyd, S. J., Van Hell, H., Ganella, E. P., Kottaram, A., Beale, C., Martin, J., Galettis, P., Solowij, N., & Greenwood, L. (2023). Daily cannabidiol administration for 10 weeks modulates hippocampal and amygdalar Resting-State functional connectivity in cannabis users: a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Open-Label clinical trial. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

2. Withey, S. L., Kangas, B. D., Charles, S., Gumbert, A. B., Eisold, J. E., George, S. R., Bergman, J., & Madras, B. K. (2021). Effects of daily Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alone or combined with cannabidiol (CBD) on cognition-based behavior and activity in adolescent nonhuman primates. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 221, 108629.

3. Zamarripa, C. A., Spindle, T. R., Surujunarain, R., Weerts, E. M., Bansal, S., Unadkat, J. D., Paine, M. F., & Vandrey, R. G. (2023). Assessment of orally administered Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol when coadministered with cannabidiol on Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in healthy adults: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Network Open, 6(2), e2254752.

4. Skumlien, M., Freeman, T. P., MRCPsych, D. H., Mokrysz, C., Wall, M. B., Ofori, S., Petrilli, K., Trinci, K., Borissova, A., Fernandez-Vinson, N., Langley, C., Sahakian, B. J., Curran, H. V., & Lawn, W. (2023). The effects of acute cannabis with and without cannabidiol on neural reward anticipation in adults and adolescents. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 8(2), 219–229.

5. DeVuono, M. V., La Caprara, O., Petrie, G. N., Limebeer, C. L., Rock, E. M., Hill, M. N., & Parker, L. A. (2022). Cannabidiol Interferes with Establishment of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol-Induced Nausea Through a 5-HT1A Mechanism. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 7(1), 58–64.

6. Niesink, R., & Van Laar, M. (2013). Does cannabidiol protect against adverse psychological effects of THC? Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4.

Top 5 Terpenes in THCA Flower & Vapes - Secret Nature

Top 5 Terpenes in THCA Flower & Vapes

There’s a lot more to THCA than just a single cannabinoid. Even beyond minor cannabinoi...

Read More
What Is a 510 Vape Cartridge? - Secret Nature

What Is a 510 Vape Cartridge?

Vape cartridges might seem universal, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. They migh...

Read More
Secret Nature Reviews 2024: 20,000+ 5-Star Reviews - Secret Nature

Secret Nature Reviews 2024: 20,000+ 5-Star Reviews

Since opening up shop in 2017, we’ve always worked our hardest to supply the internet w...

Read More