Despite there being a plethora of ways to consume isolated CBD, some would prefer to use the cannabis in a traditional way – that is, use the flower itself for consumption. For these people, it is essential to find the right cannabis strain to maximize benefits and minimize and negatives.
A significant amount of the therapeutic effect that cannabis has is based on the strain being consumed. Specifically, how much CBD is there in the strain versus how much THC? Each cannabinoid has respectable effects, some mutual and some different. For example, both THC and CBD are effective in relieving:
- Appetite irregularities
- Cramps and spasms
However, CBD is speculated to possess a greater number of therapeutic effects when compared to its psychoactive cousin, THC. These can include but are not limited to:
- Anxiety relief
- Sleep promotion
- Blood sugar regulation
- Killing bacteria
- Bone growth
Consequently, determining the correct THC:CBD ratio is a must in finding which strain is right for you:
- 1:0 – Purely psychoactive effects. Side effects more prominent.
- 2:1 – Still dominantly psychoactive, however side effects less prominent.
- 1:1 – Typically used to maximize therapeutic effects. Still somewhat psychoactive.
- 1:2 – Dominantly sedative and relaxing. Weakly psychoactive.
- 0:1 – Purely sedative and best for therapeutic use. No high.
Overview of CBD Mechanisms
CBD is well known to not be psychoactive. This is evidently misleading, as CBD certainly works on various neurotransmitters in the brain. It does however mean that CBD does not lead to the same consciousness-altering, often euphoric experience that THC leads to.
It is important to note, however, that both THC and CBD are cannabinoids, and hence work on the endocannabinoid system of the brain. The endocannabinoid system is typically regarded as responsible for monitoring pain, mood, emotions, mobility, and digestion. While THC can throw this system out of whack, CBD is theorized to assist the system in producing more cannabinoids, and thus potentiating the action of the system.
As many have noted effects such as anxiety relief and relaxation are associated with higher CBD than THC, there has been a surge in interest regarding low THC and high CBD cannabis strains.
CBD Dominant Strains: The Best of the Best
A mixture of science and anecdotal reviews has led us to find the very best CBD strains. We begin with perhaps what is the most popular CBD strain.
Charlotte’s Web has a very fascinating history as a cannabis strain. It was first created to assist a broken-hearted Charlotte Figi, who was experiencing up to 300 seizures a month as a result of Dravet’s syndrome. This was until the Stanley Brothers in Colorado developed the now famous strain, Charlotte’s Web.
Astonishingly, Charlotte’s seizures dropped to almost zero. She was finally able to pursue childhood activities such as playing with her friends without fear of going into a seizure.
Charlotte’s Web has an impressively cultivated THC to CBD ratio, with just 0.3% THC and 17% CBD. This nearly makes it classified as hemp (which has almost zero THC), and thus makes an excellent choice for children and those looking to not feel the psychoactive effects of THC.
With less than 1% THC, and up to 22% CBD, Harle-Tsu is a rare but enlightening gift. It is hailed for its unique ability to destroy pain due to its massive CBD load.
The <1% THC also means while a very light buzz may occur behind the eyes, it would be very difficult to get high. This means all of THC’s side effects are effectively eliminated – including couch lock, red eyes, and the dreaded, pantry-emptying munchies. A few, however, do report the occurrence of dry mouth.
In a survey, Harle-Tsu was dominantly associated with relaxation and uplifted mood, a compliment to its means as a natural painkiller.
This strain, similar to Harle-Tsu, possesses a CBD:THC ratio of about 1:20 – so intoxicating effects are again minimized. CBD content is typically around 19%, so it is slightly less in both CBD and THC than Harle-Tsu.
Unlike Harle-Tsu, however, ACDC specifically has been associated with a number of afflictions, namely psychological conditions. ACDC has been used to treat anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It is touted for its ability to relax without causing a phenomenon known as brain fog.
Significantly lower amounts of ACDC users report negative effects such as paranoia and dry mouth than on Harle-Tsu, likely because of its lower THC content. Relaxation, energy, focus, and an improved sense of well being are commonly associated with ACDC, making it an excellent choice for those suffering on the more psychological side of things.
Seen by many as a true gift of plant engineering:
Harle-Tsu + ACDC = Ringo’s Gift.
Named after the late cannabis activist Lawrence Ringo, Ringo’s Gift is available in a plethora of different forms, each offering different effects. While some phenotypes of Ringo’s Gift are the standard 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, some specific breeds are amazingly around 24:1 CBD/THC.
Ringo’s Gift is famous for its soothing but not tranquilizing (i.e. no couch lock) dose of light mental stimulation and stabilizing action, topped with an uplifted and focused mood.
Harlequin is perhaps the most well known sativa-dominant cannabis strain. Around for nearly 50 years, Harlequin contains a distinctive CBD:THC ratio of 5:2, meaning it is not difficult to become intoxicated on it. This ratio is not traditional, as most cannabis strains intended to be dominant in CBD content possess very little to no THC.
Harlequin is often used by those who find the best healing results come from mixing THC with CBD. It is worth noting that large doses of CBD actually counter the harmful side effects of THC, namely anxiety and paranoia.
Specifically, Harlequin was found to have 4-7% THC and 8-16% CBD content. For those who suffer from negative THC side effects, but still want a little bit of it, Harlequin makes a superb choice.
Cannatonic is a cross between two standard cannabis strains, MK Ultra and G13 Haze. Grown by Resin Seeds, a pioneer in the CBD movement, Cannatonic often provides a brief but quickly fading high, only to be replaced with waves of euphoric relaxation as the 6-17% CBD begins to kick in and the less than 6% THC fades away.
Physical and mental conditions are no match for Cannatonic, and this includes general pain, muscle spasms, nausea, anxiety, and prominently, migraines. Headache sufferers around the world love Cannatonic for its pain relief.
The most frequently cited downsides of Cannatonic include dry mouth and eyes, likely a result of the THC. It is almost unanimously acknowledged as a potent stress, pain, and depression reliever. Additionally, like CBD is commonly shown to, it can repress overactive and unmotivated immune responses, and thus help with conditions such as inflammation and allergies.
Cannabis is known for its cultural impact, however Dancehall is unique in its own right. It is a breed of plants from diverse parts of the world including Mexico and Afghanistan, and it often associated with cultural excitation, socialization, and creativity. This can be attributed to its colorful shades of green, blue, purple, and red, and its sweet olfactory sensation.
When consumed, the body will be met with a 20:1 CBD/THC ratio, meaning it will provide little but not necessarily zero euphoric effects, however it certainly won’t be distracting – hence its use in celebration, social situations, and as a creative aid.
Dancehall, unlike other CBD-dominant strains, does not have relaxation as its most prominent effect in surveys. Rather, happiness is the most commonly associated emotion with Dancehall. Energy, creativity, uplifted mood, focus, and sociability are all tied below happiness.
Dancehall is an excellent choice for anyone looking to reap the benefits of CBD-dominant cannabis strains.
Hawaiian Dream is another unique strain possessing a rare balance between CBD and THC, similar to that seen in Harlequin. It contains 5% THC content and a CBD profile of about 10%. This means users will feel a gentle, tingling euphoria, but not to the point of being distracting.
Named for its slight tropical flavor, Hawaiian Dream is similar to Dancehall in that its subjectively most-associated effect is an increase in happiness.
For those who have tried Dancehall but wanted more of a THC buzz, Hawaiian Dream may be just the choice.
It may seem overwhelming to have so many choices when looking for CBD-dominant cannabis strains. On one hand, there are a plethora of nearly 50-50 splits, while others have as low as a 20:1 CBD/THC ratio! Somewhere in the middle, there are dizzying ratios such as 5:2 and 3:2, where it is difficult to judge what your experience may be like.
Since everyone reacts differently to different amounts of different substances, it is vital to try a variety of ratios to see which one benefits you the most. Above all, be safe and responsible – don’t buy a pure-THC strain if it is your first time looking for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
After trying a decent variety of strains, it will typically become apparent to a user which strain benefits them the most. This depends a lot on what is expected of the medicinal cannabis, and expectations can guide which ratios you should look into. Looking for a relaxed, objective but mentally stimulating strain to focus better on work? Try Harlequin. Looking to fight an affliction such as nausea, insomnia, or inflammation, but are not interested in the effects of THC at all? Definitely go with one of those near 20:1 CBD/THC ratios.
All in all, with some amount of guidance and patient experimentation, there is a high possibility that you’ll be able to find the right strain for you.