Turning THC strains into CBD strains
There’s no denying CBD’s monumental growth in the last few years. With its multitude of health benefits and the legalization of industrial hemp, CBD is well on its way to becoming a household staple, with proponents swearing by its ability to help with everything from insomnia to depression. And with the industry’s growth, consumers have also become more diverse. Gone are the days when cannabis was only for hippie stoners. These days, people who never used to be associated with the lifestyle have come into the fold, seeking the therapeutic effects of cannabis and embracing all that comes with it, like the elderly, disabled, as well as your ordinary, everyday people.
As the industry and consumer base have evolved, growers have taken steps to keep up with the changing demands, breeding new strains that cater to a growing and ever expanding list of needs. Today, many growers have started diversifying their products by developing strains that are a departure from the popular THC-dominant strains of the past in favor of more CBD-dominant ones for people who may not be looking for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
These types of strains cater to a growing consumer base of people who may want to enjoy the ritual that comes with smoking marijuana, without the effects of THC-dominant strains. However, growers can also choose to develop balanced strains that have both THC and CBD properties in a relatively equal measure, for people who may want to enjoy the effects of both.
Let’s dive into this concept a little more.
Currently, CBD cannabis comes in two forms:
– CBD-dominant strains – These are strains containing CBD:THC ratios of 5:1 or more, with effects there are more influenced by CBD than any other cannabinoid. An example of a CBD-dominant cannabis strain is ACDC, with a 14:1 CBD:THC ratio; others include Wesley’s Wish with 14:7 ratio, Corazon with 22:1 ratio, and Astral Works 10:5 ratio.
– Meanwhile, balanced cannabis strains have a CBD:THC ratio between 1:1 and 5:1. You’ll still feel some degree of high due to THC’s influence but a decidedly less powerful than a THC-dominant strain. One example of this is Harlequin, with a 2:1 CBD:THC ratio. Others include Scooby Snacks, Golden Lemon, and Headband.
Why turn a THC strain into a CBD strain?
In the recent past, most growers concentrated on cultivating strains that were high in THC. In fact, over the years they kept getting higher and higher. Most marijuana strains carry around a 18 percent THC to 1 percent CBD ratio (sometimes THC is even higher at 20 percent and beyond). But due to the popularity of CBD skyrocketing in recent years, the demand for strains that provide more of the health benefits associated with CBD has grown exponentially. As such, many growers have turned to breeding THC strains into CBD strains to keep up with what people want and provide them with a wide variety of options.
Not all users want the same experience. Just like no one likes eating the same food all the time, variations in aroma, flavors, and effects are also good when it comes to cannabis. With the popularity of CBD’s health benefits, many now seek to benefit from them without experiencing the mind-altering effects of THC.
CBD can help with a variety of maladies and illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and insomnia. So you can imagine the sheer number of people it can possibly benefit if CBD-dominant strains were to become more widespread.
How to turn a THC strain into a CBD strain
There are a number of ways to turn a THC-dominant strain into a CBD-dominant one. Or into a balanced strain. One method a number of cannabis growers use is called ‘seed pheno-hunting.’ This entails growing several seeds from a particular strain into a plant, then the grower will choose their favorite flowers out of the group, particularly, the CBD-dominant ones.
These plants will have similar genetics but, just like we’re different from our siblings and parents, each pheno-type, as they’re called expresses those genetics into varying characteristics and degrees. Growers choose flowers that express CBD-dominant traits and propagate them via clones, turning once-THC-dominant strains into CBD-dominant ones.
Another way of doing this is by crossbreeding a high-yielding CBD hemp plant and then pheno-hunting for one that expresses the characteristics you want, ie. CBD-heavy qualities.
Apart from plant breeding methods, adding CBD extract to THC extract and seeing how the two ratios play out is another way of turning a THC strain into a CBD one.
According to experts, as CBD continues its widespread growth, these methods will most likely become more common in the industry. And as advancements in technology as well as more research being done in this area, methods may also become easier.
Interested in finding a THC:CBD ratio that’s right for you but not sure where to start? Experts say to start with a strain with a higher ratio of CBD to THC and see how that affects you then work your way down to a strain with a more balanced ratio. Take note of how you respond to the varying ratios and see which ones work best for you. It may take a bit of experimenting and patience. Remember, if consuming cannabis flowers isn’t for you, you can also look into tinctures, oils, and edibles that contain CBD instead of traditional means of consumption.
Thanks to new growing and breeding methods, we’re getting more variety in terms of strains. Of course there are already a seemingly endless number of hybrids already on the market, with the influx of CBD-dominant strains continuing to develop, the future of CBD and its proponents, at large, is limitless. Who knows where it will be in the next five years? With its current trajectory, it certainly does seem like more good things are on the horizon.