Thanks to its many benefits, CBD has become a well-known compound of the cannabis plant. Given its popularity, growers are looking for ways to produce CBD-rich cannabis harvests at home. But how exactly do you do so? In this article, we’ll share some simple tips for increasing the CBD levels of your next harvest.
GROWING CANNABIS FOR CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an incredible cannabinoid. It was first isolated by researchers from the University of Illinois (USA) in the 1940s. Since then, it’s been discovered that CBD has a wide variety of health benefits. We’ll explore some of the most well-documented benefits of CBD below. Remember, this list is by no means complete, but it will help outline the importance of CBD and why some growers are interested in producing CBD-rich cannabis at home.
CBD IS A POWERFUL ANTICONVULSANT
One of the most reported medical properties of CBD is its ability to help alleviate seizures, tremors, and convulsions associated with a variety of conditions, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Tourette’s syndrome, and more. In 2013, the story of Charlotte Figi made headlines around the globe. At her worst, Charlotte suffered from 300 seizures monthly due to her condition. Desperate to help, Charlotte’s parents turned to cannabis. The results were stunning.
In her first week of treatment, Charlotte didn’t experience a single seizure, and later she was only getting 1-3 seizures per month. She also started walking, riding a bicycle, and even talking; all things she couldn’t do previously due to her condition. Since 2013, a large body of scientific research confirms that CBD is a natural anticonvulsant. By interacting with specific receptors in the brain and body, scientists believe CBD can help calm the uncontrolled firing of neurons in the brain that causes seizures.
CBD IS A POWERFUL PAINKILLER AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY
Another recognised benefit of CBD is its ability to soothe pain. Most of the research on cannabis and its role as a painkiller focuses on the analgesic properties of THC. However, CBD has also been shown to reduce pain in various patients by increasing anandamide levels in the brain. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid very similar to THC, which can help dampen pain signals in the brain.
Studies have also shown that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Since the rise of interest in medicinal cannabis, numerous studies have shown that CBD does, in fact, have anti-inflammatory effects. CBD is known to stimulate CB2 receptors, many of which are located inside immune cells. In doing so, CBD is able to trigger a wide variety of immune responses, one of which is to fight inflammation around the body. This makes it a viable treatment for numerous conditions characterised by chronic inflammation such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and even brain disorders like multiple sclerosis.
CBD CAN REDUCE ANXIETY, STRESS, AND DEPRESSION
Apart from epilepsy, pain, and inflammation, CBD can also reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. Typically, anxiolytics and related medications interact with a receptor in the brain known as 5-HT1A. In doing so, these medications are able to temporarily increase serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is believed to play a key role in managing conditions like anxiety and depression because it is able to balance mood. By boosting levels of serotonin in the brain, CBD is believed to help improve mood and relieve these symptoms. In fact, CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety and related side effects of THC.
3 TIPS TO INCREASE CBD LEVELS WHEN GROWING WEED
So, we’ve covered some of the essential benefits of CBD. Now, here are some simple tips for increasing CBD levels in your next harvest. Remember, if you’ve got tips that we don’t cover here, make sure to share them with us!
1. PICK THE RIGHT STRAIN
If you’re looking to produce a CBD-rich harvest, it’s vital you work with the right strain. Working with a strain known to contain high levels of CBD is by far one of the easiest ways to guarantee you get the right results. Today’s most popular seedbanks will offer a few CBD-rich varieties, and you’ll find most of them in our seedshop. You can find our top 3 picks here below.
TOP 3 CBD-RICH STRAINS
Dinamed CBD (Dinafem): This is one of Dinafem’s flagship medical strains. A sativa-dominant hybrid, Dinamed CBD shows consistently high levels of CBD, usually clocking in at around 14%. It is suited for both indoor and outdoor grows, and flowers in just 60 days. Best of all, with only 0.5% THC, this is a great strain for patients or consumers who want to avoid the psychoactive effects associated with regular weed.
Candida CD-1 (Medical Marijuana Genetics): Candida CD-1 is an extremely popular medicinal cannabis strain, boasting one of the highest CBD concentrations of any strain currently on the market (up to 20%). It is known to produce two unique phenotypes, an indica and a sativa. Candida CD-1 tends to flower in just 9 weeks and contains less than 1% THC.
Cannatonic (by Resin Seeds): Cannatonic by Resin Seeds is a medical marijuana strain with a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. It is also a 50-50 hybrid strain that produces decent harvests in just 7-8 weeks. Unlike the previous two strains, this strain does contain notable concentrations of THC, meaning it may produce some psychoactive effects.
2. WARD OFF DISEASE AND PESTS
Like any other plant, cannabis is susceptible to a variety of diseases and garden pests. When left uncontrolled, these intruders can stunt plant development and ultimately affect the potency of its harvests (just like with regular THC-rich strains). Hence, its extremely important you keep a close eye on your plants throughout their entire growth cycle, and deal with any pests/diseases as soon as possible. Some common cannabis pests and diseases to look out for are broad mites, spider mites, bud/root rot, yellow leaf spot, whiteflies, and tobacco mosaic virus.
Most of these can be avoided by keeping your plants at optimal temperatures (18-28°C) and humidity levels (40-70%). Proper lighting and ventilation also help regulate temperature and humidity around your grow room, which is really important for preventing these threats.
Finally, you’ll also want to make sure your grow room is always clean and sterilised.
3. HARVEST AT THE RIGHT TIME
The time you decide to harvest can have a huge effect on the cannabinoid concentrations of your finished product. To pick the right harvest time, it’s best to look to your plant’s trichomes. This can be done by using a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe. When seeking high concentrations of THC, you’ll usually want to harvest when most of the trichomes have turned from translucent to milky.
When it comes to CBD, however, opinions vary. Unfortunately, there is little official literature on harvesting time for cannabis plants. Most growers will agree that CBD tends to peak before THC, and therefore, it’s better to harvest slightly early. Some CBD growers will harvest as soon as trichomes are only partially cloudy. Others will wait even longer.
Remember, these are just general rules. The peak harvest time will vary from one strain to another, and may also change slightly depending on your grow conditions. As you gather more experience with growing CBD-rich cannabis, you’ll become more familiar with the individual plants you’re growing and their peak harvest time.
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