A cannabis plant contains multiple beneficial cannabinoids. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabis-specific compound that has many significant medical benefits. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which can cause the user to feel “stoned” or “high”, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. This makes it very appealing to people who are looking for relief from various conditions, but who wish to avoid the side effects, such as lethargy or dysphoria, commonly associated with the psychoactive components of marijuana.
Scientific and clinical research (much of which is sponsored by the United States government) has shown CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD’s anti-cancer properties are currently being investigated by several academic research centers around the world. Medical marijuana breeders have been hard at work developing various CBD-rich strains that can effectively treat a multitude of conditions. The following are strains developed to contain high percentages of CBD. It is important to note that many of these strains still contain a significant amount of THC. The strains with lower ratios of THC to CBD would be less likely to give users psychoactive side effects.
Critical Mass is the combination of power strains Afghani and Skunk #1 from the breeder Mr. Nice Seeds. Critical Mass gets its name from the ultra-large flowers that can actually snap branches due to the weight of the dense buds. This strain is CBD-rich, but also contains a high percentage of THC (19-22%). The 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC makes Critical Mass great for pain relief or for those looking to catch a great body buzz. This strain is easy for home growers to cultivate, though humidity levels during the late flowering stage must be kept in check so the large, dense buds do not mold.
Steven Hawking Kush is a cross between Harle-Tsu and Sin City Kush. Like Critical Mass, this strain has a roughly 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Medical patients use this high CBD strain to cope with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and other conditions involving involuntary muscular contractions and/or spasms.
AC/DC has quickly become one of the most sought after CBD strains in the medical marijuana community. AC/DC contains very little THC (1-6%) which means there are little to no psychoactive side effects when using AC/DC. This strain has become the strain of choice for many medical marijuana patients who suffer from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and stress.
Valentine X’s high CBD percentage can be attributed to being an offspring of AC/DC. This strain produces a pungent, citrusy skunk aroma and is great for relieving stress, depression, nausea and chronic pain. Valentine X is as popular among recreational users as it is among medical users because of its high percentage of THC. The high percentage of CBD in Valentine X makes this strain useful for treating epilepsy, inflammation, and seizure disorders.
Harlequin is a sativa-dominate strain renowned for its prolific and consistent CBD percentages. Harlequin is the descendant of Colombian Gold, Nepali Indica, Thai (landrace) and Swiss (landrace) strains. Unlike other CBD strains, whose THC ratios will fluctuate slightly, Harlequin consistently develops a CBD to THC ratio of 5:2. Harlequin has become the CBD strain of choice for patients looking to treat pain and anxiety. Its earthy, mango aromas and flavors are sought after by connoisseurs, but Harlequin’s ability to relax without sedating or intoxicating the user is what makes this strain so special.
Sour Tsunami is the result of a four year breeding effort at the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective. Sour Tsunami’s heritage can be traced back to Sour Diesel and NYC Diesel. This strain was developed specifically for high CBD percentages. Sour Tsunami will generally have a CBD percentage of 10-13% and a THC percentage of less than 10%. Sour Tsunami has been revered by medical patients who use it to treat pain and stress.
Like Sour Tsunami, Blueberry Essence was bred specifically for a high CBD content. Also like Sour Tsunami, Blueberry Essence contains less than 10% THC. This strain was produced by Life Gardens out of the state of Washington. The undisclosed genetics produce vibrant purple buds with a fruity aroma. Medical marijuana patients use Blueberry Essence to combat a wide variety of ailments, including pain, anxiety, and nausea.
Warlock is an indica-dominate strain developed by Magus Genetics. This strain was developed to produce a stimulating, focused high. Unlike other CBD-rich stains, Warlock contains a high amount of THC (17-18%). Users report a “sharpening” of the brain and a reduction in the inattention and boredom associated with ADD/ADHD. Warlock is used both recreationally and medicinally for the relief of stress and to improve engagement.
Cannatonic was created by Resin Seeds when they crossed a female MK Ultra stain with a male G13 Haze strain. This strain was bred specifically for a low THC (less than 6%) and a high CBD content. Because of its ratio of CBD to THC, Cannatonic has become one of the most popular medical marijuana strains on the market. This strain is used to treat pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, migraines and a wide variety of other physiological and psychological symptoms.
Zen is a result of crossing Mexican Sativa with Afghani and then adding the strain Lavender to the mix. The folks at CBD Seeds created this stain to help relieve stomach and digestive issues. Zen has a balanced ratio of THC and CBD, but is still mainly used as a medicinal strain to treat anorexia, Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and anxiety.
Corazon is a 2017 release from Yerba Buena in Hillsboro, Oregon. It is too early to find many reviews about this strain, but we do know that it is a descendant of AC/DC and has an impressive cannabinoid content of 22.5% CBD and 2.75% THC. Corazon could become one of the most popular CBD medical strains to ever hit the market.
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most well-known cannabis stains on the planet. The Stanley Brothers, breeders out of Colorado, named it after a young epileptic patient named Charlotte. Their story got national media attention and helped to legitimize CBD-based treatments for children suffering from epilepsy and other ailments. This CBD producing strain contains only 0.3% THC. A THC percentage this low could classify Charlotte’s Web as an industrial hemp strain. Because of its ultra-low THC percentage, patients can medicate with Charlotte’s Web without the risk of any psychoactive side effects.
The future of cannabis-based medicines and treatments is uncertain. What is certain are the countless people finding relief from their aliments with all natural CBD-rich cannabis-based medicine. Whether it is reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals a patient must take or treating epilepsy in children safely and effectively, there is no doubt that cannabis-based medicines are helping people all over the planet.
As we discover more about CBD and other cannabis-specific compounds, we will unlock more of the amazing healing powers found in the sacred marijuana plant. Breeders are working around the clock to produce new and more potent CBD strains. As we continue to understand the unique relationship between THC and CBD and how individuals respond to particular ratios, breeders will have more specific goals to shoot for. The legalization effort should revolve around providing all people access to the healing powers of cannabis. Medical marijuana’s potential to help heal the world’s sick is something we must embrace and explore.
Eric Hopper is a Professional Marijuana Grower Senior Editor.