In 1964, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam isolated the active compound THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, from the cannabis plant. For years, THC was the only compound that anyone seemed to know anything about — propaganda depicted it as a hysteria-driving and downright dangerous substance. Recently another active compound CBD, cannabidiol, has changed the way Americans look at cannabis.
Although there was information about the health benefits of CBD oil online, it was not until a CNN documentary released in 2013 entitled “Weed: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports” that CBDs gained worldwide attention. The documentary showed Charlotte Figi, only six years old, using CBD oil to prevent and treat Dravet’s Syndrome, a debilitating epileptic condition. Soon stories of other ‘CannaKids’ using cannabis as medical treatment began flooding mainstream media. Hundreds of thousands of people saw “weed” in a way they have never before: as medicine with real measurable results.
Since then it seems like everyone, including our grandmother’s, have heard about the holistic benefits of CBD oil. Encouraged by America’s new fanaticism for CBD oil, growers are breeding super strains rich in the compound. Charlotte’s Web might be the media darling of CBD cannabis strains — but it is isn’t the only one out there. Here is a breakdown of the most potent and well-known CBD strains in the world.
• Avi Dekel is a strain grown by Tikun Olam in Isreal that has anywhere between 14.4% and 16.3% CBD and only 1.1% to 2% THC. Due to the cooperation between government and patients, Tikun Olam has been able to amass a database that identifies terpenes and strains suited to treat specific illnesses — for this Avi Dekel was chosen as High Time’s July 2013 strain of the month.
• AC/DC is a Sativa-dominant phenotype of a Cannatonic hybrid, a strain with almost a perfect 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Cannatonic was initially bred by Jorge Cervantes for Resin Seeds in Spain but due to the plant’s stability it is used in many CBD-rich crosses, including several on our list. AC/DC boasts a ratio of 20:1 CBD to THC and in some cases as high as 20% CBD content.
• Charlotte’s Web is a strain developed in Colorado by the Stanley Brothers, initially for Charlotte Figi; the girl featured in the CNN Documentary “Weed.” Charlotte’s Web is a crossbreed between hemp and cannabis sativa that produces CBD content at a ratio of 20:1. The oil derived from this strain has CBD to THC ratios closer to 30:1 and due to the publicity this strain has received, many families with epileptic children have moved to Colorado to access the medicine. They have set up a nonprofit called The Realm of Caring to distribute this medicine. In September, the oil from this strain tested at less than .3% THC making it a hemp-derived food product that can be sold across state lines.
• Sour Tsunami is a sativa-dominant hybrid between Sour Diesel and a local California strain named Ferrari bred by the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective. With 13% CBD content, it is a powerful medicine for inflammation and pain, yet because of its sativa genetics it doesn’t act like a sedative. Sour Tsunami has CBD to THC ratio closer to 3:2 which makes it an appealing medicine for people not only suffering from pain but also anxiety and depression. Sour Tsunami is a popular strain to breed new CBD genetics with and has produced offspring such as Canna-Tsu (Cannatonic x Sour Tsunami) and Harle-Tsu (Harlequin x Sour Tsunami.)
• Harlequin is another sativa-dominant strain that exhibits a 5:2 CBD to THC ratio. It’s genetics stem from Colombian Gold, Thai, Swiss and Nepalese landrace strains. With a 5:2 ratio the CBDs mellow out the anxiety of psychoactive THC, while the THC amplifies CBD’s analgesic effects. This strain has quickly become a west coast staple in dispensaries and retail shops alike.
• Harle-Tsu X is a mix of Harlequin and Sour Tsunami backcrossed to produce a stable phenotype with a 20:1 CBD to THC ratio. Users of this strain report relief with inflammation, pain, insomnia, muscle spasms as well as stress, leaving the user feeling relaxed and uplifted. The strain is bred by the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective and has won the Emerald Cup’s CBD strain award both in 2012 and 2013 testing at over 20% CBD content.
• Remedy, also known as Z7, is a strain bred by CBD Crew using a collaboration between Resin Seeds and Mr. Nice Guy genetics. It is a strain bred from Cannatonic and Afghan Skunk crosses. The CBD content is typically around 13% and the THC content less than 1% making it a perfect pain and inflammation treatment with none of the psychoactive head high associated with THC.
• René is a strain that has been circulating north-of-the-border in Canada for several years now. The House of The Great Gardener bred a phenotype of this strain that won this year’s Cannabis Cup for best CBD strain. René is the offspring of Skunk #1 and a Himalayan indica strain giving it earthy, floral and sweet overtones. The strain is named after famed activist Renee Boje. Although lab testing was unavailable for this strain, it’s popularity and worldwide recognition earn it a spot on our list of top CBD strains.