Food & Drink

CBD Is Weed's Secret Weapon. Here's Everything You Need to Know.

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This article is cont­ributed by Leafly, the world’s largest cannabis information resource. For more information, please visit Leafly.

Cannabis connoisseurs have long prized potency as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable than another. In the past, in an illicit market, consumers were generally looking to get more bang for their buck, and thus sought out the strains with the most THC. This has led to the proliferation of strains that are full of it. Recently, though, CBD has started to emerge as the cannabinoid poised to steal THC’s thunder.

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What are high-CBD cannabis strains?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, the cannabinoid second only to THC when it comes to average volume in cannabis. Research has shown CBD to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and anti-anxiety properties without the psychoactive effects (the "high" feeling) that THC provides. While high-THC strains often tout levels of over 20%, generally strains with over 4% CBD are considered to be high-CBD strains.

What can CBD-rich cannabis strains do?

It was initially thought that cannabidiol’s main function was to counter the psychoactive effects of THC, but more evidence has shown that medically, CBD packs quite a punch on its own. It is especially promising as a means of addressing numerous conditions that are difficult to treat, such as Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis.

One of the rarest of these conditions, Dravet syndrome, has received perhaps the most attention from both the medical community and the public with regard to CBD. Dravet syndrome is an especially debilitating form of epilepsy that affects children and is notoriously resistant to current approved treatment methods. Sufferers are plagued by seizures, often up to hundreds a day, that worsen as they age and can be life-threatening. Currently, treatment methods include specialized diets, brain surgery, and having the child wear an eyepatch, but all have mixed success rates.

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Why should a recreational consumer care about CBD?

CBD’s benefits are myriad, and are not just reserved for medical patients. Many recreational cannabis users choose high-CBD strains when they want to minimize anxiety, control the munchies, or simply help lift their spirits. Many others who would like to use cannabis frequently to combat muscle soreness or stress steer clear of doing so because they don’t enjoy the constant psychoactive effects of THC. High-CBD strains on the other hand, maximize the types of benefits listed above, while letting consumers keep a clear head throughout the day. In fact, by the beginning of 2016, searches on Leafly’s website for the term CBD had far exceeded searches for terms including sativa, indica, hybrid, and even THC. Today, interest in CBD only continues to rise.

Cannabis strains with high levels of CBD

A strain can be high in THC, CBD, or a combination of the two. Both compounds have unique medicinal properties, some of which are amplified when both compounds are present (e.g. for pain or nausea relief). But keep in mind, while the strains below have a tendency to contain higher levels of CBD, not every harvest will demonstrate a CBD-rich chemical profile: it all comes down to how a strain was bred and which characteristics the plant ends up expressing. That said, a few dependable strains to start with include:

Check out a longer list of high-CBD strains here to find the perfect high-CBD strain for you.

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