Understanding CBD and THC Production
Although research has been limited by the ongoing illegality and prohibition of cannabis, decades of anecdotal evidence and an increasing number of scientific studies have demonstrated that cannabis THC production has immense potential as a healing and medicinal agent.
While THC is known to be the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, and has been shown to have neuroprotective effects of its own, there are many patients who do not like the ‘high’ feeling that accompanies THC. Unfortunately for such patients, most cannabis has been selectively bred and grown for decades to produce higher THC content.
In a marijuana culture of recreational use, as opposed to medicinal use, it was easy for breeders and growers to forget about what else might be in their plants. With the increasing use of cannabis as a legitimate medicinal herb by patients suffering from chronic pain, inflammatory conditions, cancer treatments, HIV and a host of other ailments, however, the value of the other cannabinoids has been receiving more attention and research.
The most well-known and actively researched cannabinoid (other than THC) is Cannabidiol (CBD). While research is ongoing, CBD has been
shown to have marked anti-inflammatory affects and strains that have long been popular among patients with chronic back pain, missing, slipped or herniated discs and even multiple sclerosis are now being tested and found to contain higher level of CBD than average (anywhere from 4 – 12% or more).
Some of the marijuana strains that are currently being developed and have good potential for producing high-CBD containing buds are:
- Sour Tsunami is a hybrid with Sour Diesel and NYC Diesel genetics, among others, that has been cultivated by the California-based grower Lawrence Ringo over the last several years. Considered to be a stable high-CBD strain, starting your grow with Sour Tsunami seeds will give you roughly 1 in 4 plants with high CBD content (10 – 12% or more).
- Jamaican Lion is the beloved strain of another California grower known as Shadrock. With more than a half a dozen tests done on it, Jamaican Lion is known to reliably produce 8 – 9% CBD with anywhere from 4 – 7% THC content based on harvest time. Despite its high CBD content, JL is a sativa-dominant strain that is good for daytime use.
- Cannatonic is a strain that is available as seeds from Resin Seeds in Barcelona, and it presents a bit of a mixed bag of goodies. With at least 4 distinct phenotypes, the plants you grow from seed can end up being very high in CBD (11 – 13%) with about half as much THC, or they can turn out at super sativas with hardly any CBD, but 20%+ THC.
Since testing for additional cannabinoid content is still a fairly new developing, growers and breeders are only beginning to take advantage of this technology. As research into cannabis continues and more advanced testing methods are established, there is no doubt that breeders and cultivators all over the world will begin breeding strains for highly specific traits.