Growing Cannabis to Maximize CBD

The cannabidiol (CBD) market has become a huge component of the lucrative cannabis industry. As an increasing number of people discover the benefits of CBD and recognize that it does, indeed, help them with a range of physical and mental conditions, they are making it a regular part of their wellness routine.

There is a growing amount of clinical evidence, as well as mountains of anecdotal indications that CBD helps conditions like anxiety, inflammation, depression, and pain relief. CBD also has uses as a digestive aid and is thought to reduce the proliferation of cancer cells. With hemp and its primary cannabinoid CBD now legal, many of the stigmas that previously surrounded it due to it close relationship with marijuana are beginning to fade so that now CBD has hit mainstream consumer products. A growing number of CBD lotions, creams, balms, salves, beverages and concentrates are now available to those who wish to consume them. CBD is also available in plant form and many people choose to smoke or vape it in the same way they consume marijuana. Because of the multiple ways people can consume CBD, there also has been a spike in those who wish to grow it.

Cultivation Practices

Since both hemp and sativa strains of marijuana both are the same species, Cannabis sativa, the principles and best practices for growing one also applies to the other. The primary difference between the two is their cannabinoid profiles, with hemp containing prodigious amounts of CBD and marijuana containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or both CBD and THC. Both hemp and marijuana contain many of the same terpenes, with linalool, myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, bisabolol, humulene, and ocimene being some of the most common—although neither form of cannabis is limited to these by any means.

When consuming either hemp or marijuana, many people prefer for the whole-plant form of both because of the rich assortment of cannabis compounds present. Cannabis concentrates that are made with isolate extraction methods have the terpenes and other compounds stripped away so that only CBD or THC remains. Isolate extraction fails to capture the full power of all compounds and the entourage effect that occurs when they are consumed together. The entourage effect is a phenomenon on which various cannabis compounds, primarily cannabinoids and terpenes, interact on complexes ways, resulting in a different overall effect than when consumed separately. The synergistic interaction of cannabinoids mand terpenes has a cumulative effect that often has a total that differs from the sum of its part. For instance, the terpene myrcene is known to reduce anxiety, which is also a characteristic of CBD. When consumed together, there is a greater cumulative anti-anxiety effect. The entourage effect doesn’t always occur between terpenes and cannabinoids. CBD is known to counteract the effect of THD, so when consuming strains with rich amounts of both, a less psychoactive effect is likely to occur.

Environmental Controls

When growing cannabis indoors, an ideal climate will maximize terpene and cannabinoid levels. A proper indoor garden should always have good insulation as well as adequate airflow. In many gardens, an automated environmental control system will be money well spent. Environmental controls and related equipment like heaters, coolers, humidifiers and dehumidifiers will keep growing conditions as they should be.

If a garden has temperature and humidity levels that fall outside of the optimum range, either too high or too low, problems will result. When temperature levels are too high or too low, optimum photosynthesis and corresponding plant growth cannot occur. The plants are stressed, and will reflect it in their structure, with wispy leaves and flowers being clear indications that environmental adjustments should be made. Optimum temperature and humidity levels vary during the various life stages of the plants, so periodic adjustments are advantageous for the garden to reach its full potential for potency and yield.

Hemp or Marijuana?

When growing cannabis that’s rich in CBD is the goal, there are two option available to the cultivator: growing CBD-rich artisan hemp flower or high-CBD marijuana. Under its legal definition, hemp can only contain 0.3 percent or less THC, which is a miniscule amount that will not result in the euphoric “high” that THC-rich marijuana causes. There also are strains of marijuana that contain rich amounts of both CBD and THC—far more than the 0.3 percent that’s found in hemp.

This significant difference provides choices for growers who want to grow cannabis that contains lofty levels of CBD—either with or without THC. The genetics for CBD-rich hemp or marijuana strains are available for those who wish to take advantage of the unique cannabinoid profiles. While the same terpenes may be present in both types of cannabis flower, marijuana will possess a more robust and distinctive terpene experience. Since artisan hemp strains are relative newcomers to the cannabis world compared to connoisseur marijuana strains, the terpene levels of hemp are likely to improve steadily through selective breeding let’s take a look at some of the popular strains in both categories.

Artisan Hemp Strains

Hemp strains have been meeting the health and wellness needs of cannabis patients for many years, including children with epilepsy. Since hemp became legal nationally, new strains are emerging at an increasing rate. The following strains are well established at this time.

Charlotte’s Web

Undoubtedly the most established strain in the hemp market is Charlotte’s Web, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. The strain was featured prominently in CNN’s Weed series hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Its primary use is for treating childhood epilepsy. CBD levels typically run in the 15% to 20% range.

Sour Space Candy

This balanced strain features 14% CBD content, making it ideal for achieving an even sense of relaxation that’s perfect for when you need to relax but still have things to do. The buds are dense with an aroma and flavor reminiscent of lemongrass and, as its name implies, sour candy.

Elektra

With a CBD content of 14.57%, Elektra is a cross-bred advancement on the ACDC variety—in the sense that the plant features fuller flowers and earlier blooms, with stronger stalks to support the bounty. With a citrusy, earthy flavor, this strain offers feel-good effects for daytime use.

Lifter

Rich in CBD (around 15%) and terpenes, Lifter is a bushy, rich plant that yields dense flowers. Bred by Oregon CBD, by crossing Suver Haze and Early Resin Bud, Lifter offers a cheesy, slightly fuel-like aroma.

CBD-Rich Marijuana Strains

The following marijuana strains feature high ratios of CBD.

ACDC

As a sativa-dominant phenotype of Cannatonic, a high-CBD strain, ACDC boasts a THC:CBD ratio of 1:20. With a CBD content testing as high as 19%, ACDC incurs minimal to no intoxicating effects, making it a strain helpful to patients dealing with such ailments as chronic pain, MS, anxiety, epilepsy, and the nausea associated with chemotherapy. Prevailing flavors are earthy, woody, and piney.

Harlequin

Although Harlequin is a 75/25 sativa-dominant strain, it also almost always develops a CBD:THC ratio of 5:2, making it extremely effective for treating pain and anxiety. As a sativa, it offers more clear-headed effects, while still promoting relaxation. Earthy, flowery, musky flavors, often with a hint of mango make this a particularly enjoyable strain.

Cannatonic

Cannatonic is cross between a female MK Ultra and a G13 Haze male, bred by Spanish seed bank Resin Seeds. With its low THC content (rarely above 6%) and high CBD content (6% to 17%), this unique strain offers an uplifting yet extremely relaxing effect. A premier medical strain, the slightly earthy, sweet, citrusy Cannatonic is effective for treating migraines, general pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, and other ailments, both physiological and psychological.

Rubicon

An indica-dominant hybrid, and winner of the 2016 Colorado Cannabis Cup for Best CBD Flower, Rubicon is 1:1 THC/CBD, offering about 9% of either cannabinoid. For those looking for a mild buzz and pain relief, Rubicon is the perfect choice. It’s also effective for relieving nausea, with a flowery, pungent, sage-like flavor profile.

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by Dieter Reichelt | 19th Oct 2020
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