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CBD vs THC: How They Define Your Cannabis Strain

One of the first things that new growers get to know is that there are two different ways that cannabis is thought about among both recreational and medicinal. That usually revolves around the CBD vs THC dichotomy.  

In simple terms, CBD has most of the medical attributes many people are looking for. The THC is what delivers the cannabis high (though it also has a few medical applications).  

In this article we take a closer look at the two major constituents of cannabis, including a more nuanced look at how CBD and THC contents can actually affect each other.  

What Are CBD and THC? 

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol and it provides most of the psychological effects of cannabis. CBD is cannabidiol and it creates no euphoric effects but may have numerous medical applications. Both are cannabinoids, in other words, parts of the cannabis plants.  

In recent times, there have been drives among breeders to produce ever stronger strains of THC cannabis. Both CBD and THC are usually present in some quantity in the natural crop when you finally harvest your plants.  

You may, for example, have a strain that is high in THC with about 10-30%, and low in CBD. This is likely to produce a strong high with euphoria dominant. This can, however, also lead to certain side effects such as anxiety and paranoia in strains with very high THC concentrations.  

A balanced CBD vs THC strain will have relatively similar amounts of both constituents, usually between 5 to 10% of each. The chemicals that produce the high here will, to some extent, be off-set by the presence of equivalent levels of CBD. It means you may feel alert and clear, even creative, while achieving a moderate euphoric experience. This is preferred by people who want to get a little high but don’t want the side effects that come with stronger THC strains. Balanced CBD vs THC strains are often used for pain control because of this.  

Finally, you can get strains that are low in THC and high in CBD (between 5 and 20%). These are used by people who are looking to control pain or reduce a psychological condition such as anxiety.  

Consuming CBD vs THC Strains 

There’s no difference between the way you take a THC strain of cannabis and a CBD one. A lot comes down to preference but you can smoke, vape or take it in edibles. Many people who use high CBD or predominantly CBD strains tend to prefer edibles, particularly if they have never smoked or vaped before. Other choices are CBD capsules, lotions and tinctures. 

The Health Benefits of CBD 

CBD vs THC is also a distinction between medical and recreational cannabis use. CBD is thought to have a range of health benefits and interest in these has gathered pace with exposure from articles and news items across the internet.  

In many areas of the US where it is used medicinally, CBD helps individuals manage pain, assists with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and may even play a role in supporting people who are undertaking chemotherapy.  

Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of hype surrounding the use of medical cannabis and some of the claims far outreach the evidence that has been produced so far.  

There is, however, increasing interest in cannabis and CBD in particular for treating or helping to manage a wide range of health conditions.  

Let’s take a quick look at a few of the more prominent: 

CBD and Epilepsy 

The one that has caused the biggest stir since scientists began looking in earnest at CBD is its effect in complex epilepsy cases.  

Most people have never heard of Dravet Syndrome. It’s a quite rare form of epilepsy that comes from a genetic dysfunction which effects the brain. It causes seizures, often hundreds during a day, in very young children. It’s also resistant to a lot of traditional epilepsy drugs. Research so far shows that CBD can help reduce seizures dramatically with this condition.  

The story often cited from the evidence is that of a young girl called Charlotte who used to suffer over a thousand seizures each month. A cannabis strain with CBD was developed for her and reduced those seizures down to about three a month.  

CBD and Multiple Sclerosis 

There is some evidence, in the large part anecdotal but in research as well, that suggests CBD can be used to manage the symptoms of conditions such as MS. This is a non-curable, gradually worsening disease that sees people suffering from fatigue, muscle wasting, pain and muscle spasms and emotional and cognitive impairment. 

There is evidence to suggest that CBD can be used to slow the process of this neurodegenerative disease but it can also help with reducing pain and managing the symptoms as the disease progresses.  

CBD vs THC: Health Benefits 

THC also delivers some health benefits of its own. While it may be more well-known for delivering a high and is mostly used for recreational purposes, it has also been utilized by many people for pain relief and to help manage psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.  

The key is to get the balance between CBD vs THC levels right so there is no great high but pain is reduced and the person becomes relaxed.  

Areas where THC can also sometimes help according to users is relieving nausea, improving appetite and promoting better sleep. The important thing for most people who grow cannabis primarily for medical purposes is finding the strain that works for them. Plants can vary in their levels of each component and no one individual reacts the same as another, even when given the same strain. It can sometimes take a bit of experimentation to find the right mix.  

High CBD Strains  

The good news is that quite a few high CBD strains have been developed by breeders over the last few years. This improvement has been driven in part by the legalization in many parts of the US and partly by the increasing popularity of medical cannabis and more information about it online. 

Here are the top five high CBD strains that we have at 

Therapy CBD Feminized Seeds:  

This is a fast growing plant that should mature in as little as eight to nine weeks. With a CBD content of around 8-10% and THC way down at 0.5%, this is a good choice if you want to avoid any high or euphoria. This is suitable if you suffer from anxiety as it produces a calming effect giving you an overall sense of wellbeing and health.  

Bubblelicious Auto-Feminized Seeds: 

This mostly Indica strain combines comparable levels of THC and CBD which combine to provide a relaxing but slightly euphoric high. The plant itself flowers within eight weeks and produces an average yield. It can be grown indoors and outdoors and is generally used by those who suffer from conditions such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety.  

Critical Mass CBD Feminized Seeds 

This Indica strain delivers good yields and has equal levels of both CBD and THC (5% each) which makes it a good choice for those who don’t want to get high. The medical benefits are similar to Therapy CBD but with a larger yield. An 8 week flowering time makes this a relatively quick cannabis plant to grow. You may need to care for it more during growth than other strains due to heavy flowering.  

Med Gom CBD Feminized Seeds 

This is a fairly new strain with a higher CBD content (8-15%) vs THC (6-8%). It was developed from a research operation that was aiming to deliver a high grade medicinal cannabis to the general public. It’s used for both pain control, reducing inflammation and controlling muscle spasms. You’ll find flowers coming through as early as 60 days and the yield is pretty good at around 25 grams per plant.  

Nordle CBD Feminized Seeds 

This is another CBD strain that is great for producing calming effects. The CBD vs THC ratio balances out and is fairly low in both cases (around 5%) but there’s a pretty good yield from each crop which makes it a cost effective choice. It has been used to help control muscle spasms and manage pain  but is most known for its relaxing properties which also means it works for those suffering from anxiety disorders.  

CBD vs THC: Conclusions 

CBD strains are mostly attractive to those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes or who want to just have a relaxing experience and not achieve that ‘recreational’ high that usually comes from THC. The two generally work together so the higher the CBD level the more it softens the euphoria produced by the THC.  

Finding which works for you can take a lot of research. The good news is there are plenty of high quality strains out there to suit almost any need. You can find more high CBD strains on the main Seedsman website 

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

Steven Meredith

Steven is a full-time freelance writer based in Wales. He joined the Seedsman team in 2018, contributing articles on a number of topics including global news, cultivation and strain profiles.