December 19, 2021 3 min read
The CBD market has become almost a completely separate beast from the traditional cannabis community with most users focusing on medicinal use rather than getting high. Many people wonder how high CBD strains seemingly came out of nowhere and where CBD strains come from. For years, cannabis cultivators focused on producing the most potent, THC packed flower possible, but things have changed. Most stoners are looking for balanced effects and not just a high THC level. So, how are high CBD strains made and what are the types of CBD strains available?
CBD flower is a relatively new invention, only due to the fact that marijuana growers never put any time or thought into producing plants with high CBD levels. Cultivators began dabbling in CBD flower around 2008 or even earlier, though it didn’t gain widespread popularity until much later. Up until around 2018 when the Farm Bill was passed, THC was the name of the game and most smokers believed that higher THC meant a stronger and better high, but that is far from the truth. Today, CBD flower is tested for cannabinoids and placed into two categories, CBD dominant or CBD balanced.
CBD dominant strains, also called high CBD strains are typically what people imagine when they think of CBD flower. To be considered CBD dominant, the dry herb must have a CBD to THC ratio of 5:1 or higher. CBD will be the most potent cannabinoid found in the plant and the effects of CBD will be stronger than any other chemical compound, including THC. CBD dominant strains include ACDC (14:1), Cherry Wine (45:1), Ringo’s Gift (24:1), and Charlotte’s Web (20:1).
To be considered a CBD balanced strain, dry herb should test between 1:1 and 5:1 CBD to THC ratio. This means smokers will feel high, though much, much less intense than a normal marijuana strain. Some medical conditions respond better to a combined THC and CBD mix that the CBD balanced strains provide. CBD balanced strains are also popular amongst those in search of the entourage effect. Sweet and Sour Widow (1:1), Sour Tsunami (up to 4:1), Pennywise (1:1), Cannatonic (up to 5:1), Harlequin (2:1), and Hammershark (1:1) are just a few popular CBD balanced strains.
High CBD strains weren’t developed overnight, though both THC strains and CBD strains start off with the same plant. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge of cannabis to turn a THC dominant strain into a high CBD strain or balanced CBD strain. Cultivators use two main methods to do this.
Whether intentional or not, the practice of seed pheno-hunting has been done for centuries in order to continuously produce favored characteristics. When it comes to cannabis, growers will select seeds from a favored strain and grow them to harvest keeping note of which flower comes from which plant. Different plants of the same strain are called phenotypes, which means they have similar genetics, but will not produce the exact same characteristics. After testing the flower, growers will choose the plant that has the most CBD or other preferred characteristic and propagate the plant’s genetics through cloning. Seed pheno-hunting will take many, many rounds of growing and harvesting to get a CBD dominant strain that has more than a 5:1 ratio of CBD to THC, but you will end with a very unique high CBD strain.
Nowadays, it’s more common to use the cross breeding technique since high CBD strains already exist. Growers save time weeding through the duds by crossing a normal THC strain with a high CBD plant. From there, it’s possible to select preferred characteristics like the highest CBD levels via pheno-hunting. This is a great way to mix the genetics of two strains you already know and love the effects of.
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