With CBD taking the marijuana industry (not to mention the rest of the world) by storm, it’s no surprise that growers have been trying day and night to develop high-CBD strains of Marijuana.
These strains are bred with the aim of having a high CBD content, with a combination of either a high THC content, low THC content, or no THC content. This way, CBD can be used effectively to treat a number of issues across all different ranges of cannabis users – all the way from non-intoxicating CBD-only users, to high THC / high CBD or ‘full spectrum’ users.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the five most popular and well-known CBD strains of cannabis. These strains are not yet all widely available, but they’ll give you a good idea of the pros and cons of different kinds of CBD bud, as well as the intended uses for the various ‘styles’.
What is CBD Weed?
CBD weed or CBD bud is, simply put, cannabis flower (ie. the buds one would usually smoke), from a plant with high-CBD genetics. While there are strains out there that contain a naturally high level of CBD, growers have been breeding and creating strains to perfect a high CBD level.
Now, some of these strains, as we mentioned above, have a high level of CBD in addition to regular levels of THC (5% – 20%). These kinds of strains are meant for those who are happy ingesting THC as part of their medical cannabis. On the other hand, we have CBD strains which have very low, or negligible levels of THC – these strains are for those who either don’t want to, or can’t ingest THC alongside their CBD.
It’s important that you know which is which when choosing a strain because the one will get you high, and the other won’t. CBD is non-intoxicating, and while a 2% THC / 12% CBD strain sounds low, it’s likely you’ll still get a buzz. Pleasant if you enjoy THC, not so pleasant if you don’t.
Many of these CBD strains are used for smoking or making oils / edibles only, while others are used for making medical CBD oil, creams and tinctures. One could technically do as they please, however it’s unlikely that most lab-grade CBD oils you encounter were made using a THC-containing strain.
Now that we’ve been over all that, let’s take a look at the top five CBD bud strains in detail.
The Top 5 CBD Weed Strains
The following are the five most popular strains of CBD bud. They all vary in their CBD and THC content, however each individual strain has been bred and stabilized to contain a trustworthily ratio between grows.
Do note, however, that these numbers will vary nonetheless, as a plant is a plant, and uncontrollable things happen. While the ratio of CBD to THC should be consistent no matter the content, it may vary slightly depending on your grow environment, nutrients, light, water, and a number of other factors.
To ensure the content of your harvest, you’ll need to send samples lab testing (provided that’s something your country of residence allows). Otherwise, you’ll have to get someone who’s THC-experienced to test out your harvest, and let you know how intoxicating it is. This isn’t an accurate method, but it’s the only reliable way, apart from lab testing, to make sure your grandmother isn’t going to get stoned from the CBD bud you grew for her.
- Sativa Dominant
- Variant of Cannatonic
- CBD / THC Ratio of 20:1
ACDC is one of the best known CBD strains, and somewhat of a standard ‘style’ of CBD bud. It’s got a very high CBD content (a characteristic for which it’s been bred) and a low, low THC content. It’s possibly the highest CBD strain currently available.
The content in question is, on average, around 0.5-1.2% THC, and 16-24% CBD (a ratio that was near unheard of 20 years ago). It’s a sativa dominant phenotype of Cannatonic, another popular CBD strain, and has won a Cannabis Cup for its groundbreaking therapeutic and non-intoxicating properties.
ACDC is a nice balance for those who aren’t totally against THC, but don’t want the effects of it daily as part of their medication. It provides a very light THC buzz in addition to its calming CBD effects, making it perfect for those who understand and need the benefits of THC, yet still don’t want to consume too much of it.
It’s not too easy, nor too difficult for a strain to grow (and can be grown indoors or outdoors), and produces fluffy buds with a spicy, sweet taste and fruity aroma. All in all, a great high CBD, low THC strain.
Note: We couldn’t find any ACDC seeds from our suppliers, but Cannatonic below is another phenotype of the same strain.
- 50/50 Sativa and Indica Hybrid
- One of the most popular medical strains
- CBD / THC content of 1:1 to 2:1
Cannatonic is a strain bred by Resin Seeds in Spain who sought to develop a high CBD strain of decently THC-potent marijuana. It’s a cross between a female MK Ultra, and a male G13 Haze, and has a soft and mellow high thanks to its balance of THC and CBD.
The content of this bud tests between 6-17% for CBD, and 7-15% for THC, making it about as potent as your standard mid-range flower, with the only difference being a massive increase from the usually negligible levels of CBD. It’s very popular for those seeking full-spectrum cannabis treatment (ie. all cannabinoids, not just isolated CBD) for their illnesses or ailments.
This strain is a bit of a powerhouse, as it contains both the medical benefits of THC such as pain relief, anti-nausea and sleep aiding; in combination with the therapeutic properties of CBD, such as anxiety/stress relief, muscle pain and inflammation relief, and anti-seizure properties.
If you’re a patient who likes THC, and doesn’t mind being high, or someone seeking a strain worthy of the entourage effect, then this is likely the one for you.
It’s a pretty tough strain to grow, and requires a lot of care and attention, as well as experience in growing cannabis. It’s not very well suited to outdoor growing, although it can be done, but does produce a pretty significant yield compared to most strains.
It’s got earthy, citrus flavours, and while the buds it produces aren’t the most beautiful, is one of the best tasting CBD flowers out there.
3. Charlotte’s Web
- Sativa Dominant Hybrid
- Created specifically for children who need cannabis as a medicine
- 17:0 CBD to THC Ratio
If you’ve watched any weed documentary, done a Google search for ‘medical cannabis’ or looked into CBD at all, it’s likely you’ve come across the strain Charlotte’s Web. Developed by the Stanley Brothers from Colorado for a girl named Charlotte, this strain was bred in an attempt to mitigate her seizures (as she was experiencing around 300 a month) while not getting her high.
In short, it was a success. Charlotte’s Web is non-intoxicating with a THC level of less than 0.3% (leading some to classify it as CBD hemp), and a CBD level of up to 17%. Charlotte was taking an oil made from this strain daily, and reduced her seizures to around four per month. It was Charlotte’s story that gained popularity, and undoubtedly changed the minds of some lawmakers in their opinions around cannabis.
The strain itself is completely non-intoxicating and doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. For this reason, it’s highly sought after by parents looking to treat children with illnesses (usually various forms of epilepsy) who would need to take extremely high doses of cannabis daily. As one can imagine, most parents aren’t comfortable giving their kids THC – making this strain the answer.
Unfortunately, there’s no current open sales platform for Charlotte’s Web – it’s a pretty well-protected strain by the Stanley Brothers (they own the rights to it too), but if you do manage to get your hands on a clone, you could grow it pretty easily if you’re experienced in growing cannabis. It grows beautiful citrus-ey, piney buds with very few crystals, thanks to the near non-existent THC content.
Note: As we stated, Charlotte’s Web isn’t available for public purchase. You’ll have to contact the Stanley Brothers yourself, or find someone with a Charlotte’s Web strain who will gift you a clone.
- 75/25 Sativa Dominant Hybrid
- Created in the 70’s
- 5:2 CBD to THC Ratio
Harlequin is one of the oldest strains known to have been bred for medical or healing benefit. It was originally developed by Mr. Green as a strain for making hash, but the unintended benefits gave the plant an increased interest, care and attention until it was developed into a medical strain. It’s a cross of Colombian Gold, Nepali Indica, as well as Swiss Landrace and Thai Landrace strains – all in all, quite a variety of genetics coming together to make a better plant.
While the ratio of this plant is pretty impressive, it’s still most certainly an intoxicating one – making it best, again, for full-spectrum users. With THC levels between 4-7% (around the same as your standard low-quality street weed found around the world), and a CBD content of 8-16%, it delivers a high, albeit a soft one. It has won multiple Cannabis Cup awards both as a bud, and as a resin extract.
The high is clear headed, creative and at times energetic, thanks to its sativa genetics, although the paranoia or anxiety often associated with sativas is heavily dulled thanks to the CBD content of the strain.
While it can be helpful for calming and relaxing, this strain won’t put you to sleep – making it a good daytime option for those looking to medicate while still remaining active during the day. Harlequin would make a good daytime partner for those using something like Cannatonic as a night-time strain.
The plant is fairly easy to grow from either seed or cutting, in a warm and controlled environment – this generally means that indoors is better, as the climate is more within your control, but compared to a lot of other medical strains, Harlequin is one of the easier ones to grow outdoors. It’s also a naturally pest-resistant plant, so if you’ve had issues with mites or aphids before, this could be the strain you want to grow.
5. Ringo’s Gift
- 60/40 Sativa to Indica Ratio
- Created by activist Lawrence Ringo (No, it’s not named after Ringo Starr)
- Astounding 24:1 CBD to THC ratio
Ringo’s Gift is a medical strain developed by Lawrence Ringo, a late cannabis connoisseur and activist, well known as a longtime grower in the Southern Humboldt region of California – the region best known within California, as the Emerald Triangle.
It’s incredibly popular in Barcelona’s cannabis clubs, for it’s incredibly high CBD to THC ratio – possibly the highest that has been developed to date.
The 24:1 ratio in question was achieved by crossing an ACDC plant with a Harle-Tsu, two very popular CBD strains. These crosses were then stabilized to achieve consistent ratios from cuttings and seed alike, producing a plant with THC levels from 0.5-1% (just above the level required to be classed as hemp), and CBD levels from 12-15%.
As a result, the plant produces a slight buzz of a high, with a very calming effect, allowing the CBD to work its magic throughout your body, while allowing the THC to help it do its thing. As such, it’s popular for beginner smokers, as well as those who don’t really enjoy a THC high, yet don’t require an entirely non-intoxicating plant.
Ringo’s Gift is also commonly sold as an extract, which can consist of up to 80% pure CBD – an incredible level for those who need high-dose CBD to treat their illnesses and ailments. It’s got an earthy flavour, with hints of mint, and creates a soothing body high, with mild mental high that can be great for getting through the day.
The strain is known to be difficult to grow, with different growers achieving varying results through a variety of growing methods. Sure, you can give it a shot, but at the price of these seeds, you’ll want to go in with a fair bit of knowledge, experience, and a game plan.
Note: Ringo’s Gift is quite hard to find in seed form – most have to travel to the Pacific NorthWest to get their hands on it. Try finding a friend with a cutting if you’re looking to grow this strain.
Where can I buy High CBD Seeds?
There are a number of online seed banks that sell a variety of CBD seeds. Each of these seedbanks stock a different range of CBD seeds from different breeders, so it’s always good to read some reviews, for example “X Seedbank’s Harlequin versus Y Seedbank’s Harlequin”.
Sensible Seeds has a huge range of CBD seeds, from some of the strains we mentioned here, to CBD variants of popular strains such as Kush, Cheese, Skunk etc. They’re well-priced and source seeds from a large variety of reliable breeders from around the world.
Seedsman also have a combination of CBD strains, and CBD variants on regular strains – albeit in a smaller selection. They do, however, have a number of strains that Sensible Seeds don’t stock, and if you’re looking for a specific strain, be sure to check both.
Lastly, if you’re looking to support local, Biltong and Budz do have a few CBD strains available. Their stocks are small and change regularly, so they’re a good choice to keep an eye on for lucky finds.
You should now be more than up-to-date on CBD strains, which are best for you, and which you could look at growing at home. It’s always good to test one or two of these strains before growing them, just so that you’re assured you’ll get the desired results from them. Other than that, happy growing and merry smoking!