Planning on growing your own high-CBD plants at home? In this guide, we’ll give you some handy tips to ensure you cultivate consistently high-yielding crops.
Growing CBD-dominant strains can present challenges that you don’t get with general cannabis strains. Genetics are imperative in determining whether a strain will produce high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), and sometimes the DNA of a strain just isn’t suitable. Even plants that are well-equipped to produce potent CBD bud need due care and attention.
How to grow stronger high-CBD strains?
There’s no clear-cut method of getting more CBD out of your plants, but obviously picking seeds with genes conducive to doing so is a good start. Tending to your plants’ every need from the moment you sow the seeds until their ready for harvest is the best way of encouraging a plant to increase the amount of sticky resin produced.
High-CBD strains are similar to high-THC strains in that temperate, well-lit areas with a growing medium full of nutrients are essential to getting a good crop. Checking CBD-dominant strains on a regular basis for illness, infection, mildew and mold is vital.
But unlike the high-THC recreational favorites, high-CBD strains are much newer on the scene, and have not been grown for generations. When a strain is cultivated for many years, the cannabinoid profiles and crop yields tend to stabilize over time.
Until recently, high-CBD strains were in relatively low demand. But the explosion of interest in marijuana’s new star compound is changing that. The presence of more and more high-CBD strains in dispensaries is brilliant news for both medicinal and recreational users – the more choice and types of cannabis products available, the better.
The strains that were grown years ago will probably contain higher quantities of THC, but because these strains have similar genetics to their original, wild-growing ancestors, cultivating them is often much more difficult.
How the environment impacts CBD yields
Studies are sparse on how the environment can affect the amount of CBD produced by a strain, however, some research from 2011 that looked at industrial hemp revealed that some growing conditions were preferable to others when looking to maximize the CBD yield.
But the link between the levels of CBD produced and growing conditions is just an associative one – if a strain doesn’t have DNA that facilitates a high CBD cannabinoid profile, then it will simply never deliver one.
But the 2011 industrial hemp study did find that precipitation and temperature had an impact on cannabinoid production. Hemp plants grown in around two inches of warm soil were conducive to as strain with a big CBD percentage, while those grown in conditions with more precipitation finished up with a reduced CBD yield.
We cannot draw any definitive conclusions from one study, but doing the following certainly wouldn’t hurt:
- Don’t overwater your plants – don’t go overboard with dryer conditions, but you may find a slight adjustment helps
- 68 to 70°F are the perfect temperatures to grow high-CBD strains in
Unfortunately, the reason we can’t be too confident in the results of this study is because of its data limitations. A mere 20 industrial hemp plants were tested over a six-year period. Without a significant increase in the number of samples, it’s impossible to say whether the 2011 study’s findings were indicative of a trend or a total anomaly.
Grow world-class high-CBD strains by following these 3 steps
In addition to maintaining your plant properly and regularly, there are a few other steps you can take to help you grow better high-CBD strains.
Pick a strain with good DNA
You’ve instantly got a good chance of producing a quality plant if you’re starting with a high-quality seed. When growing from seed, marijuana can display several different phenotypes that dramatically alter the properties of a plant. Indeed, two offspring from the same plant can themselves grow to be completely different – in the same way that two human siblings may.
Take the Cannatonic strain for example, which is one of the most popular medicinal strains on the market. The most common cannabinoid profile that this strain produces has a roughly even balance of CBD to THC – for many, this is a perfect ratio that brings out the famed ‘entourage effect’. The United Seed Banks reckon that around 50 percent of Cannatonic plants will grow to have that in-demand 1:1 CBD to THC combination.
Yet around a quarter of strains may end up having a high-THC, low-CBD profile. The other 25 percent is particularly exciting for the medical field, with these Cannatonic strains having a CBD to THC ratio as lopsided as 30:1. The cannabinoid profile of any strain is totally dependent on the phenotype.
Conducting your own research or speaking with a budtender before you start growing your own cannabis is advised. Without specific guidelines for the strain that you want to grow, you may find your weeks of efforts wasted, or at least not as worthwhile as they could have been. If you are planning on high-CBD strains, then you may not have much use with low-CBD phenotypes – further showing the importance of breeding a plant with suitable phenotypes.
Do your own tests
Growing a strain that is renowned for producing a few high-THC phenotypes? It’s worth getting some samples checked out by a laboratory while your plants are still in the first few weeks of growth. This will allow you to prioritize certain plants and dump the ones that won’t be of much use.
For home growers, cultivating plants that aren’t suited to you is a waste of money and your time. Ideally, you will reach a point where pretty much every plant you’re growing has a high-CBD phenotype.
If it isn’t logistical to get samples tested, then you will probably have to wait until the plant begins to flower – then you can try a bit to work out what sort of properties the strain has. This, admittedly, is neither a scientific nor fool-proof method, but with some experience, you’ll soon be able to determine high-CBD strains from others. If you’re noticing any psychoactivity, there’s probably too much THC.
Acquiring a cloned seed from a trusted source is the only true way to guarantee that the plants you grow will all be high in CBD. Finding out phenotype information from your seed supplier will help you make the right purchases.
Crossbreed for long-term high-CBD reliability
After you’ve started to grow strains that are high in CBD, you’ll have your own source to cultivate more stabilized high-CBD strains in the future – which makes the process much easier.
When you breed two plants together that are both high in CBD, then you improve your chances of cultivating high-CBD strains with the next generation of plants.
Selective breeding with trusty high-CBD strains and backcrossing for several generations will give you plenty of quality seeds that can deliver your own, unique high-CBD plants.