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CBD vs. THC: What’s the difference?

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Cannabis consumers have long prized potency (a high THC content) as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable. Though traditional demand for THC has caused an oversaturation of high-potency products, many consumers are starting to prefer less intense products that are lower in THC and higher in the non-intoxicating compound called cannabidiol (CBD

THC and CBD are both cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, but they’re different in many ways that may influence your next dispensary purchase.

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What are high-CBD cannabis strains?

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CBD is typically the second-most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, but this isn’t always the case. A strain may deliver CBD and THC in the following ratios:

  • High THC, low CBD (e.g.,10-30% THC, trace amounts of CBD)
  • Balanced CBD/THC (e.g., 5-15% THC and CBD)
  • High CBD, low THC (e.g., 5-20% CBD, THC under 5%)

CBD effects vs. THC effects

High-CBD strains tend to deliver very clear-headed, functional effects without the euphoric high associated with high-THC strains. They’re typically preferred by consumers who are extremely sensitive to the side effects of THC (e.g., anxiety, paranoia, dizziness). A high-CBD strain would also be a great choice for someone needing to medicate throughout the day to control pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other chronic conditions.

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Predicting Cannabis Strain Effects From THC and CBD Levels

Balanced CBD/THC strains will be a little more euphoric than CBD-dominant strains, though they’re much less likely to induce anxiety, paranoia, and other negative side effects. Strains like these tend to be the most effective for pain relief, and they’re also well-suited for THC-sensitive consumers who’d like a mellow buzz.

CBD strains can be consumed just as you would THC strains. You can smoke or vaporize CBD-rich flower, eat a CBD-infused edible, swallow a CBD oil capsule, apply a CBD lotion, or use a CBD tincture sublingually. Hemp products also contain CBD, though it is a less efficient source and lacks the beneficial chemical diversity of cannabis-derived CBD products (more on that here).

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What are the medical benefits of CBD?

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The list of conditions CBD may help with is ever-expanding. More research is needed to better understand the efficacy and range of CBD’s benefits, but it’s popularly used to manage the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Pain and inflammation
  • PTSD and anxiety
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Opioid withdrawal

Though clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests CBD’s benefits in managing different conditions, it became most famous for treating a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy. Dravet’s Syndrome is notoriously resistant to current approved treatment methods. Sufferers are plagued by seizures, often up to hundreds a day, that worsen as they age and can be life-threatening. Currently, treatment methods include having the child wear an eyepatch, specialized diets, and brain surgery, but all have mixed success rates.

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One of the earliest success stories involves a young girl named Charlotte who was given an ingestible oil derived from Charlotte’s Web, a CBD strain that was specifically developed to provide her with all the benefits of the drug without the high. In less than two years, Charlotte went from a monthly seizure count of 1,200 to about three. Other success stories followed and more parents have begun to speak out, particularly parents who are desperate for access to this life-saving treatment and have leaned on the promising treatment of high-CBD strains to help alleviate symptoms.

Although THC is best known for its mind-altering euphoria, it too has important medical benefits. There’s some overlap in what CBD and THC can treat, but THC is particularly effective in relieving nausea, appetite loss, insomnia, among other symptoms. Many patients find that a balance of CBD and THC offers the best symptom relief as the two work together synergistically.

CBD vs. THC: legality

CBD has no lethal dose or known serious medical side effects, but it is still federally illegal. With the passing of the Farm Bill in December 2018, industrial hemp became a legal agricultural commodity in all 50 states. While the DEA still considers CBD to be a Schedule I controlled substance, it clarified in a memo that trace amounts of CBD found in hemp stalks or seeds were legal. However, the legality of hemp-derived CBD may vary from state to state, so it’s important to check your state’s law before stocking up on hemp-derived CBD products.

Cannabis strains that have a high CBD:THC ratio are legal only in states with legal, regulated cannabis markets.

The 10 best CBD cannabis strains according to Leafly users

What are some high-CBD strains I can try?

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Keep in mind that CBD levels may vary from crop to crop—even from plant to plant. However, below are some strains that have been bred to contain higher CBD levels, so they might be a good place to start. Check the map on their strain page to see if these are sold at a dispensary near you. We also recommend checking with dispensaries about the specifics of their strains’ CBD levels. It’s always a good idea to purchase only lab-tested products that clearly state the CBD/THC levels so you know what kind of experience to expect.

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The Top 8 Marijuana Strains in 2019

Based on feedback from cannabis users, in 2019, 8 common strains were loved by smokers.

 

Despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, a number of industry changes took place in 2019. Companies are turning to more unique ways of presenting new strains to users, from cultivating new strains to selling directly to consumers in dispensaries or home deliveries.

Following recreational marijuana legalization in California, 2019 has seen a lot of changes in the industry. From cultivating new strains to selling direct to consumers in dispensaries or at-home deliveries, companies are turning to more unique ways to present new strains to users.

With rapid growth, dispensaries and eCommerce companies alike are finding new customers among seasoned smokers and beginners alike. Whether they’re seasoned smokers and stock up on essentials from a monthly smoking subscription box for beginners, people everywhere are becoming a bit more savvy about their favorite strains. Online resources like Leafly make this incredibly easy, with comprehensive analyses and real users’ insights on each strain’s effects.

Based on feedback, here are 8 popular strains smokers are loving in 2019.

1. Blue Dream

As a hybrid between Blueberry and Purple Haze, Blue Dream has been a popular favorite in California for years, but has quickly become one of the top sellers in recreational markets around the country. Blue Dream buds are comprised of a mixture of pastel green and dark forest green in coloration and provides a taste that is reminiscent of a blueberry pastry or a dark berry. Since it’s a 50/50 indica/sativa hybrid, this strain is great when taken day or night, and provides users with a relaxed and easy going mood.

2. Jack Herer

Jack Herer boasts an earthy pine and citrusy taste that is easily recognizable and provides uses with subtle cerebral effects that aren’t overwhelming. Also, this particular strain is perfect for those inexperienced with marijuana, medical marijuana patients, or for those seeking a strain that can be used during the day if you’re fairly active.

3. Green Crack

This popular daytime strain features buds that are dark green in color and a fruity, tropical flavor with notes of mango, pineapple and citrus. Green Crack provides users with a unique blend of effects, including mental invigoration and a slight nerve-calming relaxation.

4. Skywalker OG

Skywalker OG, with its sweet, pungent and earthy taste, has quickly made a name for itself as a strain that provides a heavy sedation, numbing effects and happy relaxation. With that in mind, this strain is ideal for those seeking a deep and solid sleep.

5. Gorilla Glue #4

Gorilla Glue #4 features buds with a shimmering appearance and a wide variety of flavors depending on the harvest, such as chocolate, diesel, pine and sweet nuttiness. This strain,

also known as GG #4, has one of the highest THC percentages at a whopping 30%, giving users potent feelings of intense mental stimulation and focus. It gets its namesake from its ability to “glue” you to your seat, but users have also experienced long periods of creativity and focus, enabling them to complete projects, hobbies or spend many hours on the computer. Because of its potency, Gorilla Glue #4 is recommended for experienced users who fully understand the effects of marijuana.

6. Girl Scout Cookies

Another strain that has become popular for both beginners and experienced users alike, Girl Scout Cookies boasts a sweet citrus and earthy wood scent, and has often been described as having hints of an herbal mint flavor. This strain, which has a slight indica dominance, is designed to put users in a mellow, happy mood. Other variations of the Girl Scout Cookies strain include other top sellers, such as Platinum Cookies and Thin Mint.

7. OG Kush

OG Kush is one of the most popular strains in California and features an earthy pine scent with lemon and woody undertones. Also, many of the other more popular strains are the result of breeding OG Kush with other strains, resulting in a wide variety of strains from the same genetic pool. This classic strain is coveted because of its ability to induce a heavy euphoria and reduce stress.

8. Sour Girl

This hybrid (Girl Scout Cookies and Sour Diesel) was produced by one of the finest collectives in the Bay Area, the Citizens Research Alliance for Therapeutics, features an intense but complex aroma. With its potent cerebral high and complex aroma, it is clear why this strain is deserving of its third place award in the 2016 NorCal High Times Cannabis Cup.

While these 8 different strains are becoming increasingly popular in 2019, there are a variety of new strains entering the market that are sure to be favorites in the years to come.

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