An important part of incorporating CBD into your routine is being able to do your own research into the product you’re getting. CBD has tremendous health potential benefits because of the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and it lacks the psychoactive effects of THC, so it won’t get its users high. However, because cannabis-based compounds haven’t yet been approved by the FDA, there’s not as much oversight as we might like. That means it’s extra important for users to do their own research and to make sure they know exactly what they’re buying.
The Entourage Effect
One thing to consider when choosing a cannabis strain for your CBD needs is the entourage effect. The entourage effect refers to how various compounds within a given cannabis plant interact and work together when the plant is ingested. CBD often works hand in hand with both THC and compounds known as terpenes, which are responsible, among other things, for the smell of the plant.
The entourage effect explains why it might not be the best idea to simply find the most purely CBD product out there. You could select a CBD isolate, but in doing so you would sacrifice all the potential benefits you might stand to gain from the combination of compounds in the plant.
Hemp or Marijuana?
Remember that cannabis plants are broadly divided into two primary strains: hemp and marijuana. A lot of CBD on the market right now comes from the hemp plant because the level of THC in hemp is by definition below .3%, making it legal to sell. However, even if it is easier to attain, a hemp-based product might not be right for your needs. The entourage effect brought on by the presence of THC and the specific terpenes in the marijuana plant might better suit your needs. So it’s very important to make sure you do your research before buying and select a product that will actually do what you want it to.
What are Strains?
When we talk about strains of cannabis, we are simply talking about specific varieties, carefully cultivated and produced by growers to elicit certain effects. The cannabis strain you are purchasing, in other words, was likely grown with the specific intent of doing what it does in your body. That’s good news because the use of a cannabis plant shouldn’t be a guessing game. If you have the opportunity to speak with the grower, you can ask them specifically what effects it’s likely to have. If not, you can generally trust the marketing. Growers put a lot of work into cultivating plants with the qualities they’re aiming for, and when they get it right, they want to show it off.
Strains to Try
Now for the good stuff. Consider these strains the next time you’re in the market for a CBD product:
- Charlotte’s Web. Shown to reduce seizures in those suffering from epilepsy, this low-THC strain has been legalized for medical use as of 2014. Charlotte’s Web also improves mood, focus, and appetite.
- ACDC. This 50/50 hybrid may have as high as 6% THC, depending on batch—but that’s still fairly low, and isn’t likely to send you reeling. Those coping with chemotherapy or chronic pain have had success with it.
- Ringo’s Gift. This marijuana strain is known for being physically relaxing and mentally stimulating, thanks to its high sativa content. While they won’t experience a traditional ‘high,’ users will notice a body buzz that helps mitigate anxiety without laying them out.
- Harlequin. Harlequin brings a lot to the table—a THC level that might go as high as 15%, a CBD level of at least 10%, and a very dominant sativa content of 75%. The CBD content negates the THC content, so it should be possible to smoke harlequin and still go about your daily business. Users find Harlequin a great way to combat pain.
Whatever strain you choose, make sure you know what’s contained within.