Cannabidiol (CBD) is touted as a medical cannabinoid analgesic, muscle-relaxer, anti-inflammatory and miracle tonic that’ll make you feel better but won’t get you high. People who’ve never used cannabis before are eagerly embracing CBD.
The funny thing is, cannabis growers and breeders used to only want to reduce the amount of CBD and cannabinol (CBN) in cannabis strains, while increasing the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD and CBN are known to downwardly modulate THC effects, robbing you of your maximum high.
But some marijuana breeding efforts are going in the other direction, with breeders using Ruderalis and other hempy genetics to diminish THC percentages while increasing CBD percentages. Dozens of new seed companies have sprung up to offer CBD-dominant strains.
There are at least a couple hundred allegedly high-CBD strains in the marketplace, most of them bred by companies that didn’t exist three years ago. A high percentage of these are autoflowering strains. Problem is, most high-CBD marijuana strains are unstable and poorly-bred, and have disappointed growers.
But now there’s reason to smile, because we’re giving you this exclusive guide to incredible CBD genetics made by professional cannabis seeds breeders. Want to grow your own CBD? These are the best CBD strains in the world…
SoMango x SCBDx, and Super CBDx
The Super CBDx (SCBDx) cannabis seeds company has a reputation for properly inserting CBD genetics into tasty high-THC strains and for having a 100% pure CBD strain. Because mango marijuana varieties contain compounds like myrcene that favor pain relief and other medical properties sought by CBD aficionados, the company’s SoMango x SCBDx is a favorite hybrid strain from their mouthwatering marijuana seeds menu.
SoMango is a tasty high-THC strain created by generations of crossing original Jack Herer plants with a one-off strain made by crossing landrace Korean and Skunk genetics. To create a relatively high-CBD strain, SoMango was crossed with Super CBDx.
Super CBDx is in the top three of the purest CBD strains on the market. The creator of SCBDx seed company and SCBDx strain has test data showing his Super CBDx strain produces more CBD and less THC than other high-CBD photoperiod strains. He said genetic and phenotypic reliability is so high that he guarantees at least 17% CBD and a minimum 24:1 ratio of CBD to THC for every plant.
Although Super CBDx will perform adequately indoors with SCROG or trellis support to hold up its mostly-Sativa branches, it’s especially happy outdoors and in greenhouses, and when provided huge root zones. It can be harvested indoors after 60-65 days in bloom phase.
SoMango x SCBDx is a high-CBD feminized, photoperiod SoMango variant, retaining SoMango’s tropical mango scents and flavors, with an added touch of pine. It too needs SCROG or trellis support, is Sativa-dominant, and requires 65-75 for indoor bloom phase. Expect high yields and lots of cannabidiol!
CBD Autoflowering Compassion Lime
This tasty, citrusy autoflowering Ruderalis/Sativa cross was made by Dutch Passion, the heritage Dutch cannabis seeds company that has been making Cannabis Cup award-winning strains for decades. Dutch Passion breeders used the company’s photoperiod Daiquiri Lime and CBD Compassion strains, along with Ruderalis genetics to make Compassion Lime.
Daiquiri Lime is a cross between California Orange and Sour Diesel, and is known for its stimulating, creative, euphoric high and its sweet citrusy appeal. Autoflowering Compassion Lime offers CBD at 10-11% and only 8-9% THC, providing a balanced suite of effects that work well for daytime use. Better yet, one phenotype of this reliable autoflowering strain gives you a cannabinoid profile even more heavily weighted towards CBD. Expect to harvest tasty CBD buds 11-13 weeks after seeds germinate.
Serious Seeds is another of the few remaining legendary Dutch cannabis seeds breeding companies. They’re the originator of the ultra-powerful, award-winning AK-47 cannabis strain you can read about here.
They’ve continued to develop dynamic new strains, and their CBD-Chronic was developed in collaboration with Shantibaba and the CBD Crew in Spain. CBD-Chronic is a cross of high-THC Chronic with a high-CBD strain called Remedy.
A lengthy breeding program followed by extensive lab testing shows remarkable phenotypic consistency producing approximately 1:1 CBD to THC ratios. THC and CBD percentages ranged from 5-8% of each cannabinoid.
Serious Seeds recommends giving this easy-growing feminized photoperiod strain 4-5 weeks in grow phase, and 56-63 days in bloom phase. This strain’s untopped structure is very symmetrical and sturdy, as it tends toward having one massive central cola surrounded by heavy-flower side branches that are much lower on the planet. Serious Seeds told us the strain has been successfully used to make CBD extracts, and to give relief from symptoms of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, and arthritis.
Take a look at this beautiful, heavy-yielding CBD Serious Seeds strain…
Willie G’s Lebanese High-CBD Landrace
This rare CBD marijuana strain is sold by Humboldt Seed Company, based in Northern California’s famed Emerald Triangle and not to be confused with a totally different company called Humboldt Seed Organization. Humboldt Seed Company is highly-respected for sourcing and improving rare, landrace genetics. Their Willie G’s Lebanese high-CBD strain comes from landrace genetics from Lebanon, where cannabis has been grown for centuries.
Humboldt Seed Company founder Nat Pennington told me he discovered these high-CBD genetics when he met Willy G, a medical cannabis patient who uses cannabis to deal with symptoms of cerebral palsy. A cousin of Willy traveling in Lebanon had gathered landrace cannabis seeds and sent them to Willy. Pennington saw those seeds grown out and recognized they were exceptional, with anomalous leaf structure, colors, and terpenoids he’d never seen before. He invited Willy to participate in a joint venture that started with testing plants grown from the Lebanese seeds. They turned out to be very high in CBD, with some plants testing at 20% CBD and less than 3% THC.
Pennington and his breeding team stabilized the most promising high-CBD phenotypes, noting that the Lebanese genetics produce a broader range of terpenoids and higher yields than typical landrace and high-CBD cannabis genetics. Willy G’s Lebanese phenotypes consistently provide fast-growing, high-yielding plants with buds containing far more CBD than THC.
This strain naturally grows tall, so indoor growers should flip it into flowering no later than week four of grow phase. Indoor bloom phase usually lasts 60-68 days. Outdoors, Willie G’s plants have grown as tall as 16 feet, and yielded a kilo or more dried bud per plant. This Humboldt Seed Company strain probably contains the purest landrace genetics of any high-CBD on the market, as the breeding program only consisted of crosses with Lebanese seeds.
Again, please note that when you’re looking for Humboldt Seed Company seeds online, don’t get them confused with seeds from another company that calls itself “Humboldt Seed Organization.” They’re definitely not the same company!
Photoperiod S.A.G.E. is a famous high-THC strain from T.H.Seeds—one of the original Amsterdam High Times Cannabis Cup repeat winners, and a long-time favorite at Dutch coffee shops. The acronym stands for Sativa Afghani Genetic Equilibrium and the original strain features legacy Haze genetics with a twist that includes non-Haze scent and taste such as pepper and sandalwood. This photoperiod strain is known for 20%+ levels of THC and virtually undetectable levels of CBD, making it a rival for other ultra-potent photoperiod strains such as AK-47 and Alaskan Thunderfuck.
So it took a bit of creative courage for breeder T.H.Seeds to embark on a breeding program that inserted Ruderalis high-CBD genetics into S.A.G.E. The result is a very potent feminized strain that has about 15% THC and 10-11% CBD. It grows naturally tall and should be topped at three weeks and flipped into bloom a few days later to avoid having plants hit your grow lights. Bloom phase is a manageable 56-65 days, which is far shorter than bloom phase for regular S.A.G.E. If you’re looking only for CBD medical effects and don’t want to get stoned, avoid this potent strain.
Dinamed CBD Plus
This purely medical strain rivals Super CBDx for CBD potency and THC scarcity. It comes from Dinafem Seeds, a statured European breeder well-known for reliable autoflowering strains. Dinamed CBD Plus is a feminized photoperiod strain that consistently tests at 20%+ CBD and less than 1% THC. The strain was developed through many generations cross-pollinating plants from the family of a Dinafem baseline pure CBD strain called Dinamed CBD 5. I’ve found Dinafem CBD Plus to be remarkably consistent, with one phenotype from seven seeds, and a CBD-dominant set of effects with almost no stoner high.
Speaking of phenotypes, Dinamed CBD Plus has an interestingly different look, with some Sativa thin leaves coupled with fatter leaves, and the hint of bluish or purple tone during flushing in late bloom. This strain’s buds aren’t coated with fat, stalked resin glands like you get with high-THC varieties, and the scent and taste aren’t stunning either. Still, the incredible amount of CBD per gram of whole bud is well worth growing this medical strain, which only needs 55-61 days in bloom phase.
Pure Autoflowering CBD
This is a sixth generation autoflowering strain created by Sweet Seeds, an award-winning Spanish cannabis seeds company. Their Pure Autoflowering CBD strain was created by interbreeding pure-CBD photoperiod strains with CBD-rich autoflowering strains such as Honey Peach Autoflowering. There are phenotypic variations in the percentages of CBD present in buds from this strain, with most containing at least 10% CBD, but the levels of THC don’t vary much, averaging under 1%. The effects are almost all medicinal, with no psychoactive high, and you can expect to harvest 8-11 weeks after germination.
Strategies for Growing High-CBD Strains
Authentic high-CBD strains often have morphology and growth characteristics that differentiate them from high-THC cannabis strains, and this affects how you grow them.
I’ve noticed that high-CBD strains tend towards a high leaf to calyx ratio– this means the buds have too much leaf in them, and not as much development of tight, resinous floral clusters like you see with THC-rich strains. Let me be even more clear by pointing out that the extra bud leaves aren’t sugar leaves—they’re just excess foliage, a waste. This trait common to many (but not all) high-CBD strains is often accompanied by other traits associated with hempy genetics, such as the tendency to grow tall, with weak stalks.
Tactics I use to limit excess leafage and weak vertical growth include cutting back on nitrogenous feed program inputs, increasing the amount of blue and decreasing the amount of red in my grow light spectrum, and dropping grow room temperature at night.
Another crucial difference between high-THC and high-CBD cannabis strains is in the type, size and density of resin glands. High-THC strains manifest the crystally stalked resin glands we’re all familiar with from cannabis macrophotography. But many high-CBD strains have a predominance of unstalked resin glands that hug floral surfaces and are much smaller in diameter than stalked glands.
That’s why it’s crucial to stimulate resin formation as much as possible when you’re growing high-CBD marijuana. Starting two weeks into bloom phase, feed carbohydrates and potassium silicate to build resin gland structure. Apply UV-B ultraviolet light for 2-3 hours per day just before lights go off each day during the last half of bloom phase. Being careful not to burn the plants, provide light at the highest intensity that’s safely possible. These strategies produce more resins, more resin glands, and larger resin glands.
Another resin-boosting tactic is letting my high-CBD bloom phase plants go longer than I’d do with regular marijuana strains. With high-THC strains, I harvest when 15% or more of resin glands are falling apart or changing from clear to cloudy or from clear or cloudy to cloudy and amber.
With high-CBD strains, I let the resin glands mature longer than that, and have found that amber resin glands on most high-CBD strains equates to more CBD and less THC. It appears that as strains ripen past their optimum harvest date, they lose THC but gain CBD and CBN. Of the two, only CBD is currently seen as a valuable cannabinoid.
Understand the Main High-CBD Marijuana Categories
Here’s another important detail: there are three general categories of high-CBD strains. One category retains a substantial percentage of THC, creating approximate 1:1 ratios of THC and CBD. These strains generally have about 10% CBD and 8-9% THC. You will get high off those strains, the high is less intense than high-THC strains give you, and this type of ratio strain makes up the majority of the high-CBD strain marketplace.
The other category is typified by strains such as Super CBDx and Dinamed CBD Plus. Their CBD to THC ratios are usually 10:1 or higher, with some strains having 20% or more CBD, and less than 1-5% THC.
In general, the more CBD and the less THC present in the bud, the less of a head high you get. Cannabis users who crave the medicinal and recreational effects of THC will be disappointed by pure CBD/low THC strains. Conversely, if you find high-THC weed whacks you out too much, you probably won’t like CBD strains that have more than 5% THC.
One final note: the wonderful marijuana strains described here are produced by limited-edition connoisseur breeding programs. If you want to grow these exceptional high-CBD marijuana strains, order at least a few seeds of each of them as soon as possible. For example, Humboldt Seed Company told me demand for Willie G’s Lebanese is likely to outrun supply. Order early, and enjoy the multiple benefits of growing your own cannabidiol.