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With widespread legalization of cannabis throughout much of North America, it’s no wonder that we’re collectively becoming familiar with the many fun names and strains out there: OG Kush, Blue Dream, Girl Scout Cookies. Like walking through the paint aisle at your local hardware store, strain names, like paint names, are getting more and more inventive. But, as I mentally depart from the idea that my bedroom would look great in the delightful off-white of ‘2 Week Old Unrefrigerated Mayonnaise’, I must remember that these fun names, for cannabis at least, serve a very important purpose.

Strain names are the first indicator we, as consumers, have about the unique qualities, flavour profiles, and effects of the cannabis product we’re interested in. But what about that other closely connected cannabinoid, CBD? Does CBD have strains as well? If so, what do these strains indicate? Cannabis strains tend to demarcate what kind of high you will feel – relaxed, alert, sleepy, etc – but as CBD does not have the same effects, would different strains instead tell you something else about how they will make you feel, or what kind of effect you can expect?  

If you are curious about if, and why, CBD has strains, what they are and what they can do for you, put down that paint sample for ‘Hypothetical Blue’, follow me out of the paint aisle, and join me on a voyage of discovery.

Does CBD Have Different Strains?

This is a bit of a misleading question – CBD as well as THC are both derived from the same type of plant, which we all know to be the cannabis plant. CBD is one of many cannabinoids, or active chemicals, found in the cannabis plant. So when thinking about CBD strains, we need to look at the overall plant rather than the compound itself. By thinking of the plant as a whole, different strains rather indicate how much of particular compounds can be found within certain types of cannabis plants. 

So in a roundabout way, yes, CBD can be thought of in terms of having different strains just like THC. The two overarching strains of cannabis are sativa and indica. Sativa’s particular cannabinoid profile is dominated high levels of THC and lower (or zero) levels of CBD. This is opposed to the Indica strain, which is classified as containing higher amounts of CBD and moderate amounts of THC. Where sativa creates a well-known boost in energy and feelings of being more alert, indica is much more calming and relaxing, both to the body and mind.

Why Would You Want Different Strains of CBD?

Really, then, different strains will contain certain amounts of CBD in relation to certain amounts of THC, as long as you are looking at full-spectrum CBD rather than an isolate. Full spectrum products contain all of the cannabinoids found in the original plant, and can come from both mariguana and hemp plants. Marijuana-originating full-spectrum oil is available where cannabis is legal, whereas hemp-originating full spectrum oil is available wherever CBD is legal, but is not restricted only to places where cannabis is legal.

Full-spectrum CBD is where much of CBD’s healing properties lay, and is really where you’ll want some knowledge of strains. Because they contain amounts of THC, other cannabinoids, trepenes, and other compounds, full spectrum CBD oils initiate what is known as the ‘entourage effect’ whereby all the great things in the CBD oil come together to become more effective than the sum of their parts: a Gestalt, as it were. 

Different strains of high CBD to a ratio of low THC, and all that lays between, can have different effects on your mind and body. Rather than being closely associated with the high we feel from increased levels of THC, high CBD strains of cannabis are much more aptly understood in terms of the degree to which they do the things that CBD is known for doing.

What Kinds of CBD Strains Exist & What Do They Do?

As is well known, one of the most thoroughly researched, and arguably one of the best, reasons to take CBD is for pain management for all kinds of conditions spanning from arthritis and joint/muscle pain to neurological pain to everything in between. But this aside, CBD has also been demonstrated to also help fight anxiety and depression, muscle spasms, inflammation, Altzeimer’s disease, seizures associated with certain kinds of epilepsy, and much more. Check out the most popular strains below and what they could do for you:

Afghan Kush – 

Also known for its effectiveness in treating anxiety and depression, this strain is pure Indica, so there’s a lot of CBD circulating through it. Containing humulene, a terpene known for fighting inflammation, Afghan Kush is a well known chronic/intense pain reducer.

Harlequin – 

This strain is 75/25 THC to CBD, and although considered a sativa, is known for its powerful expression of CBD. The high amount of THC allows the CBD to interact with THC and amplify THC’s own pain killing properties.


Sativa dominant, this strain has a high CBD to THC ratio. There is very little psychoactive effect present with this strain, and can help with many ailments like pain, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and the negative effects of chemotherapy.

Harle Tsu – 

A high-CBD hybrid cross between Harlequin and Sour Tsunam strains, this strain has a high CBD content and very low THC content. Harle-Tsu brings relief to pain and inflammation without causing psychoactivity.

Ringo’s Gift – 

Named after Lawrence Ringo, a well known activist for THC and prominent figure in the CBD movement. Although it can come in different ratios of THC to CBD, this strain is known for its soothing effects and full-body relaxation and is great for pain and anxiety alike.

This is of course just a handful of strains that exist in the wide world of CBD, but hopefully they can provide some insight into some of the various CBD strains and their ideal purpose. Remember to consult with a medical professional before you start this journey, they’re important sounding boards to discuss what might work best for you. This crucial information is one very important step towards making CBD do exactly what you need it to. 

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