ACDC makes an easy favorite.The cannabinoid content is usually heavily CBD-dominant, sitting on average at 20:1 in its CBD/THC ratio. An imperceptible amount of THC makes ACDC an outstanding companion for daily medicinal cannabis consumers seeking to relieve tension, pain, or anxiety.
Created by the larger-than-life grower and activist Lawrence Ringo, Sour Tsunami was brought into being by combining Sour Diesel and NYC Diesel. This unlikely pair of stimulating plants bred the high-CBD phenotype that has since redefined the medicinal qualities of cannabis.
Stephen Hawking Kush offers mild, relaxing effects while doling out a healthy dose of CBD, too. This indica-dominant strain is one of the more unique CBD cuts out there, offering both heady and soothing effects.
If you’re interested in finding high CBD strains yourself, look for strains that contain only circles in their Leafly strain flower. This will help you find strains that consistently express high levels of CBD, which is more likely to bring you clear-headed relief. But if you’re ready to cut to the chase, here are the top picks from our users:
Just as you can search for strains high in THC, sativa, or indica, you can also search for strains high in CBD – and Leafly users do just that.
Canna-Tsu is a more balanced CBD/THC strain that offers a unique bouquet of smells. With aromas of citrus and sweet earth, Canna-Tsu gives the CBD enthusiast a complex palate of flavor and terpenes to enjoy.
Harlequin is one of the most popular CBD strains available. Typically testing around the 5:2 CBD/THC ratio, it exhibits a clear-headed alertness with only mild euphoria. Harlequin has a happy bent that most will find enhances whatever activity they are engaged in.
CBD products made from industrial hemp, which contains almost no THC (less than 0.3% in the US), are legal in all 50 US states. While many users report benefits of hemp-derived CBD—not the least of which is legality—some experts say a little THC helps CBD work in the body; that cannabis’ chemical compounds work better in tandem than in isolation.
As with marijuana, the modes of consuming CBD are limited only by one’s imagination. Curious gourmands can sip it in a CBD-laced “Stoney Negroni” at the West Hollywood restaurant Gracias Madre, and aesthetes can rub it onto their lips via rose-scented balm. For a more traditional medicinal experience, CBD also comes in soft gel capsules, droppers, and sublingual sprays. (In more than 20 countries outside the US, one such spray is prescribed to multiple sclerosis patients who suffer from muscle spasms and stiffness.) And of course, since CBD is derived from the flowers of cannabis plants, one could just go ahead and smoke a high-CBD strain of marijuana the old-fashioned way, by rolling it into a joint or lighting up a bowl—or the new-fangled way, by vaping distilled cannabinoid oils in a Dosist vape pen that vibrates to alert the user they’ve reached the recommended dose.
Then, he made an odd promise, for a guy brandishing a glass pipe and a lighter: “It won’t get you stoned,” he said. “It’s CBD.”
How CBD works
I took a little hit, and soon after, felt my body pleasantly melt into a lawn chair, my ability to socialize not at all impeded. Truth told, at the end of a physically exhausting vacation and a can of Tecate, I was already pretty relaxed. But the CBD seemed to deepen that state.
With these sorts of benefits, it’s little wonder that there’s a booming market for CBD—and readily willing suppliers promising miraculous results.
This is often called the “entourage effect,” or as Lester Grinspoon, a psychiatrist and professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School calls it, the “ensemble effect.” (Like so much of the research surrounding cannabis, which is heavy on anecdotal evidence and light on hard science due to marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug, the entourage effect is the source of healthy debate.)
Yu-Fung Lin, an associate professor of physiology and membrane biology at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine, teaches a course on the physiology of cannabis. She says although CBD is not considered to be psychotropic—meaning it won’t alter our perception of reality or produce a feeling of euphoria—it’s still working on our brains. CBD doesn’t activate our brains’ cannabinoid receptors in the same manner as THC, but it does target a wide variety of proteins in the brain and nervous system that regulate cell activities all over the human body. By interacting with the brain’s signaling systems in various ways, it can provide relief from pain, anxiety, and nausea. Beyond our brains, says Lin, CBD may benefit our bones and immune systems and work broadly throughout the body as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which may help protect cells from damages associated with neurodegenerative diseases.