You probably can’t drive to the store or to your grandmother’s house without passing at least one CBD store. CBD – which many Americans couldn’t rigorously define if a million dollars was riding on the correct answer – has become one of the era’s major growth industries.
Those reading this article probably realize that even if they didn’t know it at the time, they’ve been consuming CBD for years. It’s one of the two most important cannabinoids in marijuana. THC, of course, is the other.
Two things have sparked the enormous upsurge of interest in CBD. First, as long as it has only a tiny amount of THC in it, CBD is legal in all 50 states – at least for now. More importantly, research has shown that CBD appears to be responsible for the bulk of weed’s medicinal benefits. For those who can’t buy pot legally, or want to feel better without getting high, the widespread availability of CBD has been a blessing.
Some patients do still want to get high, of course, while others enjoy the physical act or social aspects of smoking. And there are some medical issues which can also benefit from a few good hits of THC.
For all of those folks, cannabis strains with high levels of CBD have become readily available and more are appearing on the market regularly, thanks largely to the work of ingenious growers.
We’ll run down the list of the best high CBD strains, after a closer look at why they’ve become so popular.
Health Benefits of CBD
Storefronts with big signs advertising that they sell “cannabidiol” probably wouldn’t do all that well. Those selling it as CBD, however, are capitalizing on positive news coverage the substance has received over the past few years.
Dozens of illnesses and medical conditions are known or believed to respond to the use of CBD, based on the results of laboratory and animal testing, or studies done with human participants. The list is long, but here are some of the categories:
- Chronic pain: CBD is known to help reduce inflammation, which can help treat illnesses, diseases, and conditions as varied as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, and lower back pain.
- Heart disease and stroke: High blood pressure, a major risk factor for both heart disease and stroke, has been lowered in research subjects given CBD. That’s apparently due to the cannabinoid’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety. And CBD’s antioxidant content is believed to be able to limit the cell death that can lead to heart attack and heart failure.
- Neurological issues: CBD is already being used to help treat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease. And it shows great promise for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, due to its apparent ability to improve the brain’s signaling functions and its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mental health issues: The stress-relieving power of CBD has led many to use it instead of standard psych drugs, which usually have serious side effects. CBD treatment for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress has become commonplace, and it shows promise for patients with other mental disorders like schizophrenia as well.
- Other medical issues: CBD is used regularly to counter the common side effects of cancer treatment like nausea and vomiting, and some studies suggest it may even have some properties which would help fight cancer itself. And studies show great potential for CBD to help fight other diseases and conditions such as diabetes and even acne.
High CBD Strains
Here are some of the best strains with high CBD content. Most have very low THC content with CBD-to-THC ratios of 2:1, 3:1 or higher (and many much higher), meaning they’re either barely psychoactive or won’t make you high at all. If you’re looking for the benefits of CBD along with the “entertainment value” of THC, a balanced CBD-to-THC ratio closer to 1:1 is a better choice.
While we mentioned at the start that most people might recoil at the idea of giving cannabis to young patients, Charlotte’s Web is a hemp-based strain bred specifically for a pediatric epilepsy patient (named Charlotte, of course). It’s designed to have massive CBD content and virtually no psychoactive THC. Before using the cannabis she was experiencing 300 major seizures per week; after she began using it, she was down to two or three seizures per month. Florida even passed a law that legalized just this strain.
This Indica-dominant strain has a huge CBD content of as much as 20% with only slight (or even undetectable) traces of THC. It’s normally consumed as an oil but is also available as herb for adults suffering from chronic pain, muscle aches and pains, and anxiety.
ACDC isn’t as benign as Charlotte’s Web since no other weed you can easily find comes close. This is an extremely CBD-dominant strain, whose CBD-to-THC ratio usually averages around 20:1; although you might be able to find some ACDC with THC content as high as 5-6%, it normally runs around 1% or so. That means very little high and enormous pain relief.
This 50/50 Sativa-Indica hybrid does produce a minor euphoric feeling shortly after it’s consumed, but the overall effect is happier and more relaxing than overly energetic. It can also sharpen focus. This is an outstanding strain for treating depression, chronic pain and arthritis, migraines and general anxiety. It’s also one of the best choices you can find for daytime use.
This is another handcrafted strain designed for a very high CBD-to-THC ratio, again around 20:1. It’s a hybrid of Harlequin (more about that one shortly) and Sour Tsunami; the latter is a strain also created deliberately for medical marijuana patients. Users experience a completely relaxing sensation without a noticeable head high, and it works wonders for pain, inflammation, and anxiety. It’s good for focus and attention span as well.
Out of all the high-CBD strains, this may be the best in therapeutic terms, since it was also bred to contain a large number of terpenes with known medical benefits. Harle-Tsu isn’t the easiest strain to find, but it’s worth the effort.
While you may not be able to find Harle-Tsu at your local dispensary, Harlequin is much more widely available. It’s a Sativa-dominant hybrid that was popular before the recent wave of CBD-heavy designer strains, and at the time, its 5:2 CBD-to-THC ratio was considered unique.
The presence of a small but measurable amount of THC means there’s more of a head high than you’ll experience with Charlotte’s Web, ACDC or Harle-Tsu, but it’s mellow and enjoyable. Harlequin increases focus and alertness while providing much of the same pain relief as the high-CBD strains which are lower in THC. It’s also a good option for depression, anxiety and even the symptoms of PTSD.
No, not that Ringo. This strain is named after Lawrence Ringo, the late, revered grower and cannabis activist responsible for creating Sour Tsunami, Harle-Tsu and many other high-CBD strains that have benefitted patients for years. Ringo’s Gift is a clone of ACDC and Harle-Tsu, so as you can probably guess from reading our reviews of both, this is a strain with very high-CBD content. It averages a 24:1 CBD-to-THC ratio.
You can expect to start with a warm and mellow feeling throughout your body, but some versions of this strain (a number of growers produce it) also provide a boost of energy and mental energy. Its best use, naturally, is for pain relief; its high CBD content and a wealth of beneficial terpenes make it an outstanding medical strain.