Here we are, in the age of cannabis legalization, and there has literally never been as much freedom to cultivate cannabis at home as the current time. And since CBD has become an increasingly popular characteristic of medicinal cannabis, more and more people are wondering how to maximize CBD content in their plants.
The fact of the matter is that no matter how much work you put in, you cannot force a cannabis plant to produce more CBD than its genetics will allow. This is precisely why the cannabis industry grows industrial hemp for CBD isolate extraction rather than marijuana. Genetically, hemp produces much higher CBD content than marijuana.
In general, a cannabis plant containing 2% or more CBD is considered a high CBD cannabis plant. But to many, specific percentages are not necessarily as important as the CBD:THC ratio. A plant with a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD may be more preferable to medicinal cannabis users as it promotes a full-spectrum effect and encourages a robust entourage effect.
With all of that in mind, there are steps that you can take to maximize CBD yield in your home garden.
Start with a high CBD strain, of course
The most important, and most effective way to maximize your plant’s CBD yield is to choose the right seed. Some strains have been genetically developed specifically to contain high THC content. For CBD yield purposes, this would obviously be the wrong kind of seed.
There are, then, two options:
1. Grow industrial hemp instead of marijuana
2. Choose a seed that has been genetically developed for higher CBD content
What kind of strains are high in CBD?
Thanks to the growing demand for CBD, more and more geneticists are dedicating resources to the production of high CBD strains. This is great for those who don’t want to grow industrial hemp. Hemp has great CBD content, but produces much smaller flowers than marijuana, making it hard to process and extract at home.
When it comes to choosing a high CBD seed, you can also choose autoflowering seeds. These varieties are more likely to have higher CBD content than photoperiod strains because of their genetic history. Autoflowering varieties were created from older, land-race strains of cannabis that had naturally higher CBD content.
Aside from choosing an autoflowering variety, there are certain strains that typically have a higher CBD:THC ratio than general, recreational strains. Here are a few popular strains.
The Charlotte’s Web cultivar was created specifically for the treatment of epileptic seizures in one particular young girl named Charlotte. Like industrial hemp, this cultivar contains less than 0.3% THC and has a high CBD content. The effects are more physical than cerebral and more medicinal than recreational.
Harlequin is one of the highest CBD strains of marijuana commercially available. The strain typically tests at 5:2 CBD:THC ratio, although its effects still lean towards the cerebral alertness of a sativa.
Depending on the cultivar, Cannatonic can have a CBD:THC ratio of anywhere between 5:1 and 1:1. It is both euphoric and medicinal, thanks to its higher CBD content. It has a mild effect and makes for a perfect daytime strain.
This strain is the offspring of Harlequin and Sour Tsunami, and makes for an effective CBD dose. Ratios vary between cultivars, but it is well known for yielding a higher CBD content than most commercially available strains of cannabis. Effects are range from relaxing to focused to uplifted and energized.
Other growing techniques to maximize CBD
There are other general care techniques that growers can use to maximize CBD in their gardens. Most obviously, it’s important to keep plants healthy, nourished and free from diseases. Overall, the healthiest plants produce the greatest cannabinoid content, so this is vital for CBD production, too.
Next to this, it is important to harvest at the right time. If you harvest too early, you won’t have given your plants sufficient time to produce CBD. For this reason, you should harvest only when at least 60% of the white hairs have turned brown or amber. You can harvest all the way until 90% of the hairs have turned amber. For the record, the later you leave the plant to flower, the more CBN content it will also possess — which is another very therapeutic cannabinoid.
Finally, based on a single 6-year long study about industrial hemp cultivation, there are three more recommendations. However, if you are growing marijuana, these techniques may not be effective, as industrial hemp is a different plant. Nonetheless, these are the techniques that increase CBD yield in industrial hemp:
• Warm soil temperature
• Warm air temperature
• Lower levels of precipitation (rain or watering)
Enjoy growing high-CBD cannabis.