CBD is a huge hit in the UK lately. It is an extremely popular supplement, usually taken in the form of an oil. Many people take this oil under the tongue, but it is also common to cook up some yummy CBD recipes with it.
Originally, CBD comes from the cannabis plant. Once feared, it is well-known that marijuana is illegal in Great Britain. It has been criminalised for the psychoactive effects of a compound known as THC. However, it is now more widely accepted that cannabis could have a number of beneficial properties for one’s health. If there were no medical benefits to marijuana, then there wouldn’t be medical marijuana programmes in around 30 US states, and even European countries like Germany.
The UK government recently reviewed cannabis and made it legal on the NHS to treat certain conditions. However, it is important to realise that they are referring to cannabis-derived medications, and will not be prescribing weed. This is in opposition to countries like Canada, where even recreational weed is available to purchase without a prescription.
But why would countries prescribe a plant that can cause you to get ‘high’? This article is about our top 5 CBD-rich cannabis strains; but first, we need to understand why CBD-rich cannabis is not necessarily the psychoactive marijuana you are thinking of.
CBD vs. THC in Cannabis Strains
Ever heard of the entourage effect? Basically, it refers to a synergistic effect between different cannabinoids, including CBD and THC. Manufacturers of CBD oils often sell full-spectrum products containing cannabinoids other than THC because they are thought to have an increased potency.
A pertinent example of the entourage effect is CBD’s ability to counteract the THC high. Usually, in marijuana strains, there is around 15-20% THC. In contrast, CBD levels reach an average of 0.2%. In this instance, the high will definitely take effect.
However, studies have shown that strains with a higher CBD content produce a much more muted high, if any high is experienced at all. For example, this 1976 study found that taking CBD after THC significantly decreased the latter’s effects. Furthermore, a 1981 study by Fairbairn and Pickens found similar results.
In other words, using a high-CBD cannabis strain could help you to avoid any high associated with THC.
Regardless of whether it makes you high or not, this discussion is all pointless if you can’t buy cannabis in the UK.
Is Cannabis Legal in the UK?
Cannabis has been a Class B drug since 1971. There was a brief period between 2004 and 2009 in which it was allowed Class C status, but it has since been reinstated with Class B. This means that possession of cannabis warrants up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine. Selling and production of cannabis can earn you up to 14 years and an unlimited fine.
As of November 1st, 2018, cannabis-based products have been legal for medicinal use. People with certain conditions, such as severe epilepsy or multiple sclerosis (MS) can receive cannabis treatments in order to help their symptoms.
But ‘cannabis treatments’ is not the same as buying whole flower cannabis. It is not currently legal to buy, sell, grow or possess cannabis containing any amount of THC – even hemp is restricted. Of course, the illegal market for cannabis is still enormous, and there are stories online of those going against the law to medicate themselves with marijuana.
Recent reports have suggested that police forces nationwide have been given permission to stop arresting cannabis users. As of April 2019, it is now up to individual police constables whether individuals will be arrested and charged, cautioned, or warned when they are caught with cannabis. It’s likely that selling cannabis will warrant a charge, whereas using it may not lead to penalties. Of course, this is extremely risky as it remains illegal and any case could go either way.
In terms of legal cannabis products, CBD food supplements are sometimes made using particular cannabis strain types. For instance, CW Hemp produce their products using a CBD-rich strain called Charlotte’s Web (detailed below). As such, you might want to learn about CBD-rich cannabis strains in order to look out for CBD products made using them. After all, the individual terpenes in each strain are important.
Furthermore, it is possible that steps will be made toward a medical marijuana programme in the UK. Other countries have done it, and so might we. For now, the conservative mindset is not likely to change, but we should do something before we risk getting left behind by the rest of the world. If this happens, it’s important to know what kind of strains to look out for to avoid getting high.
So, without further ado, here are the top 5 CBD-rich strains to look out for.
1. Charlotte’s Web
A cannabis strain with less than 0.3% THC, Charlotte’s Web is an important strain with a touching history. It was bred by the Stanley Brothers specifically to help a little girl named Charlotte Figi, who was suffering 300 grand mal seizures every day. With the help of CBD oil made using this strain, she is now able to live a much more normal life. The strain is named in her honour.
The strain is known for its citrus flavours, with notes of earth and pine. When taken, it can lead to increased focus, relaxation, and a better mood. As a result, this strain is thought to help with mood disorders such as stress. However, reports also suggest that it can reduce feelings of pain and inflammation, and some people experience a reduction in headaches.
2. Stephen Hawking Kush
Bred by Alphakronik Seeds, Stephen Hawking Kush is a crossbreed between Harle-Tsu and Sin City Kush. Sometimes called SHK, this strain is named after famed scientist Stephen Hawking. It is an indica-dominant bud, meaning that it is likely to bring about relaxing and sedating effects. And in fact, it does just that! Stephen Hawking Kush can lead to increased feelings of relaxation and happiness, helping you to drift off to sleep.
If you use too much SHK, you may end up glued to your sofa – this effect is known as couch-lock. Be aware of this when you use it!
The effects of Stephen Hawking Kush are thanks to the lovely balance of CBD and THC. This strain boasts around 13% THC and 5-12% CBD. This means that the ratio can be almost 1:1 – the same ratio found in Sativex medication.
SHK has an earthy and a woody scent, with undertones of mint.
ACDC is a unique strain that packs a HUGE CBD punch! It is one of the least psychoactive strains around due to the astonishing ratio of THC:CBD. While the CBD content can reach the soaring heights of 16-24%, the THC remains at a tiny 0.5-1.2%. In other words, the ratio is normally around 1:20. This means that ACDC provides no impairment whatsoever.
This strain, although a hybrid, is sativa-dominant. As sativas are known for an energising effect, that’s pretty much what you can expect from ACDC. Mostly, you will feel more relaxed, happier, and experience an increased sense of focus. Alongside this, you may feel a little more energetic. These effects mean that ACDC is ideal for stress and mood disorders. It has also been touted to reduce inflammation.
ACDC is quite a foresty strain, with the scent and taste of earth, wood, and pine.
4. Ringo’s Gift
This strain is actually bred from ACDC, crossed with Harle-Tsu. It is named after a cannabis activist and CBD pioneer named Lawrence Ringo. Ringo’s Gift offers a balanced ratio of CBD and THC, and a 60% / 40% balance between sativa and indica effects.
As it is sativa-leaning, you can expect to feel focused, relaxed, and uplifted after using this strain. As such, it is useful for managing the symptoms of mood disorders. It is also rumoured to be good at treating pain and fatigue.
Unlike the other strains in this list, Ringo’s Gift boasts a sweeter flavour. It has nutty and tropical undertones, a delight to the palette.
Harlequin has gone on to be the parent strain of a number of others, including Harle-Tsu. That makes a few strains on this list the grandchildren of Harlequin. But this golden oldie still has love to give to the medical cannabis community.
The ratio of this strain is 5:2 CBD:THC, meaning that it is impossible to get high using it. As a 75% sativa, you can expect the typical sativa effects. Harlequin is likely to make you feel more relaxed and focused, as well as elevating your mood. It is good at relieving pain and headaches, as well as offering relief to patients with arthritis and fatigue.
Alongside typical woody flavours and aromas, Harlequin has floral notes and woody tones to the taste.
Final Thoughts on CBD Cannabis Strains
So there you have it! Our top 5 CBD-rich cannabis strains all certainly contain a lot of CBD. With the low THC contents and perfect ratios of cannabinoids, you can be sure that none of these cannabis strains will trigger a high. Instead, they may simply provide the healing effects of CBD.
It must be remembered that cannabis is not legal in Great Britain. As a result, you will instead want to search for CBD products that have been made using these strains if you want to give them a shot. That is, unless you find yourself in Amsterdam any time soon!