When most people think about the medicinal properties cannabis, they normally think of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound in cannabis responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with smoking, vaporizing or eating cannabis. In other words, THC is what makes you feel high. In addition to THC, there are many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant—84 have been identified so far. One cannabinoid in particular, cannabidiol (CBD), has shown to have impressive medicinal properties and is now being incorporated in treatments for seizures, pain management and much more.
CBD is shown to have tremendous medicinal potential. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means you cannot get high on CBD alone. Though much more research needs to be done, CBD has been shown to treat epilepsy, inflammation, anxiety and neurodegenerative disorders. CBD has even been linked to the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Cannabis does not have to be smoked to impart its medicinal benefits. In fact, many CBD-rich strains are grown for the CBD extracts that will be made from the plant material. CBD oil is commonly sold at cannabis dispensaries and, in cases where the CBD is extracted from industrial hemp, can be purchased without a license. For people with a medical cannabis license, growing their own CBD-rich stain is a great way to ensure they have access to this powerful, natural medicine. Just as many cannabis strains have been developed for their high-THC percentage, there is a rising number of cannabis strains being developed for their high-CBD content. The following are five strains prized for their medicinal value due to their high percentage of CBD.
Charlotte’s Web was created in 2011 by two brothers from Colorado who were working on developing high-CBD strains for cancer patients. The brothers received a phone call from a young girl’s parents. The parents explained that their daughter Charlotte was born with Dravet Syndrome and suffered from more than 300 seizures a week. After conventional pharmaceutical treatments failed, the parents decided to try cannabis. Even though they were concerned about her young age, the brothers decided to make an oil-based extract from their CBD-rich strain. The oil-based extract was a great success and stopped the three year old’s unrelenting seizures.
The brothers quickly realized the unique benefit of their high-CBD strain and named it Charlotte’s Web in honor of the young girl. Today, Charlotte’s Web is considered the most potent CBD strain in the world with a whopping 20% CBD. This is especially impressive when you consider that any percentage above 3% is considered high for CBD. In fact, most medical cannabis strains, which are high in THC, contain only a fraction of a percent of CBD. As far as CBD strains go, Charlotte’s Web is on the top shelf.
Harlequin is a sativa-dominant hybrid (75% sativa, 25% indica) often grown to create high CBD extracts. The sativas originated in Columbia (Columbia Gold) and Switzerland. The indicas originated in Nepal. Harlequin’s lineage is all high elevation. This strain is not available in the United States in seed form but can be commonly found as clones. Harlequin has become increasingly popular in dispensaries due to its reputable and stable CBD percentage. Common medicinal uses for Harlequin include management for pain, stress, nausea and muscle spasms.
An Israeli government-licensed cannabis company known as Tikum Olam developed Avidekel about four years ago. The company began creating CBD-rich cannabis strains in 2009 through a selective breeding program and after three years Avidekel was the prized result. Avidekel has become the most popular medicinal strain in Israel and one of the most popular CBD-rich stains in the world. Avidekel is unique because it has so little THC. In fact, the amount of THC in Avidekel is so low it could be considered industrial hemp.
Sour Tsunami was developed by the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective. For more than four years variations of crosses between Sour Diesel and NYC Diesel were tested until finally Sour Tsunami was created. Another sativa-dominate hybrid, Sour Tsunami contains a more balanced ratio of CBD and THC. For some most medicinal use, a 1:1 or 2:1 CBD to THC ratio is preferred. Sour Tsunami has been praised for its ability to treat pain quickly and effectively.
The founder of Resin Seeds, a Spanish seed company founded in 2008, is responsible for bringing us Cannatonic. While it is considered a CBD-rich strain, its percentage of CBD can vary greatly from phenotype to phenotype. This hybrid grows like an indica but smells like a sativa. Cannatonic is prized by patients for its ability to treat anxiety, inhibit seizures, treat OCD and treat pain management.
Our knowledge of medical cannabis is still in its infancy. As we uncover more about the amazing medicinal properties of the cannabis plant, we will see more mainstream use of cannabis for medical reasons. Both THC and CBD will surely play intricate roles in shaping the future of natural medicine.