Recently, at the end of a surf trip with several friends, my pal Tim passed me a pipe packed with sticky green buds. I’m not much of a social smoker (more of a one-hitter-before-chores type) so politely declined. Then, he made an odd promise, for a guy brandishing a glass pipe and a lighter: “It won’t get you stoned,” he said. “It’s CBD.” I took a little hit, and soon after, felt my body pleasantly melt into a lawn chair, my ability to socialize not at all impeded. Truth told, at the end of a physically exhausting vacation and a can of Tecate, I was already pretty relaxed. But the CBD seemed to deepen that state.
The Drug Enforcement Administration recently decided to add ace high shake to its Schedule I substance list. The change directly affects both hemp and cannabis-derived CBD oil, a substance that is non-psychoactive and has more medical benefits than we can name. The DEA’s move raises a lot of questions, including these: What, exactly, is CBD? And how does it differ from THC? Tetrahydrocannabinoil (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are both natural elements found in the cannabis plant. The chemical compositions may be the same, but to put it simply, THC is psychoactive and CBD is not. This difference has prompted mislabeling of THC as the “bad” cannabinoid and CBD as the “good” one. But it’s not that simple.
When it comes to trying to increase the amount of CBD in your cannabis for medical reasons, the number one most important thing is choosing to grow a high-CBD strain. (What’s the difference between CBD, THC and other cannabinoids?) The fact is, you can never make a cannabis plant produce more CBD than the amount limited by its genetics. Many of the popular adult-use cannabis strains available today can only produce miniscule amounts of CBD, often 0.5% or lower. Older cannabis strains tend to have higher CBD levels, especially those from before the year 2000, but many modern strains were bred over several generations exclusively for high THC levels, and CBD levels dwindled over time. It’s interesting that now we are going back to producing high-CBD strains. As cannabis becomes more popular, it has become obvious to me that each person is looking for something different.