When you think of smoking cannabis, the first thing that comes to mind is getting high – if you know your stuff, you will know that effect comes from the presence of THC. Recreational fans have gone in search for increasingly potent marijuana strains, and cultivators have happily satiated that demand. But lately, we’ve seen the emergence of a new type of cannabis: high-CBD, low-THC cannabis. These strains are known not for inducing euphoria, but for their relaxing, mood-boosting, and therapeutic effects.
In this post, we’re going to look at the joy of smoking non-intoxicating, high-CBD, low-THC strains. And no, we aren’t talking about a psychoactive joy!
About high-CBD strains
High-CBD or CBD-dominant strains are specially cultivated to contain higher amounts of CBD, and lower levels of psychoactive THC.
CBD has always been one of the most concentrated cannabinoids in the cannabis sativa plant, but historically, growers have only been interested in enhancing the levels of THC. However, the disregard of CBD ended when scientists began to recognize the wide-ranging therapeutic qualities of the compound, coupled with its non-psychoactive trait. This has helped to significantly enhance the appeal of medical cannabis and, specifically, CBD products.
High-CBD strains are changing the notion that cannabis is all about getting high and having a psychoactive experience. We are now beginning to learn that the plant is about much more than that. Let’s consider a few of the potential medicinal uses of high-CBD strains:
Treating anxiety: the anxiolytic effects of CBD make it an effective treatment for several anxiety disorders
Managing pain: a natural painkiller, CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to reduce pain perception
Treating medication-resistant epilepsy: CBD has shown a wondrous ability to combat medication-resistant types of epilepsy like Dravet’s syndrome, particularly in children, reducing the frequency and severity of seizures
Tackling psychosis: not only is CBD able to reduce the psychoactivity of THC and potential THC-induced anxiety and paranoia, but its anti-psychotic properties could treat schizophrenia and psychosis, too
While the increased accessibility of CBD-only products has to be good news, research has found a synergetic effect when all of the compounds in cannabis work together in “whole-plant” form.
Prominent high-CBD strains
Here are a few popular high-CBD strains, and their CBD to THC ratios:
Harlequin – 5:1 CBD to THC
Sour Tsunami – 1:1 CBD to THC
ACDC – 20:1 CBD to THC
Cannatonic – up to 30:1 CBD to THC
The differences between CBD and THC
CBD and THC have contrasting influences on the body. High-THC strains are very psychoactive, thanks to the abundance of THC cannabinoids that bind to the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system – many of these receptors are situated in the central nervous system.
CBD interacts differently with cannabinoid receptors to THC. For starters, it doesn’t bind directly with cannabinoid receptors, as THC does with CB1 for example. Instead, one of CBD’s main jobs is to improve the endocannabinoids – the cannabinoid-like chemicals produced by the body – that are already present.
CBD looks to restore homeostasis by regulating the body’s endocannabinoids – sometimes this is by preventing endocannabinoid breakdown, other times CBD will boost the levels of certain endocannabinoids.
Also, the effects of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are influenced by the consumption method: hence the unique experiences offered by smoking, vaping and taking edibles.
How does it feel to smoke a high-CBD, low-THC strain?
In states where recreational cannabis is legal, expect to find a variety of high-THC, low-CBD products in dispensaries. However, you’ll also come across a growing number of high-CBD, low-THC strains. A strain with a lopsided CBD to THC ratio won’t be mind-altering, but it will produce other effects.
A high-CBD strain is perhaps best described as calming and relaxing. It works similarly to the likes of lavender in that context, but rest assured, high-CBD bud is much more potent. CBD eases stress levels and reduces excitability, in a nod to the compound’s anxiolytic properties.
Furthermore, you won’t feel paranoid from smoking a high-CBD strain, as you may feel from toking on high-THC flower. Unlike a strong indica, CBD-dominant strains don’t completely sedate the user physically, but rather leaves them feeling calm, focussed and refreshed.
For many forms of chronic pain, high-CBD strains are the way forward. The mood-lifting features make them the natural treatment answer for depression. Meanwhile, CBD doesn’t have a negative impact on cognitive function, therefore it won’t inhibit your productivity. If you’re seeking a strain or product for daytime use, those stacked with CBD are ideal.
While not intended for recreational use, there’s no reason why a casual cannabis user couldn’t enjoy the benefits of smoking or vaping a high-CBD strain.
So if you’re after a strain that quells your pains and worries, but doesn’t leave you baked and render you inactive for a few hours, try experimenting with some high-CBD flower.