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Should I start with a high-CBD or high-THC cannabis strain?

You’ve seen all of the amazing stories about medical marijuana, and now want to sample it for yourself. But there’s just one problem – you’ve no idea what strain to start with. This is a quandary that strikes any new cannabis user, and it’s perhaps more confusing than ever given the wide choice of products on the market nowadays.

If you have never experimented with cannabis in a medical or recreational scenario before, then opting for a high-CBD, low-THC strain is a great way of easing into marijuana. CBD and THC are the two most abundant and essential cannabinoids in cannabis, with the former being non-psychoactive and the latter psychoactive. A new user could perhaps be intimidated by the psychoactive, mind-altering properties of THC, which could make for an unpleasant and anxious experience.

However, a high-CBD, low-THC strain delivers the therapeutic effects of marijuana, without those psychoactive side effects. Therefore, a hesitant consumer can enjoy a high-CBD strain with confidence and get a feel of the medicinal benefits of cannabis and whether the herb is right for them, without being overwhelmed by euphoria, anxiety or paranoia.

High-CBD strains are relaxing, both physically and mentally. The calming qualities of CBD help to leave the user feeling peaceful and pain-free, while still in complete control of their faculties.

What is a high-CBD strain?

Walk into a dispensary in a legal state and you’ll see a mixture of CBD-dominant strains, THC-dominant strains, and strains with a balanced ratio of the two. These three types produce completely different effects when taken, whatever the consumption method. CBD-dominant strains are physically relaxing, but not mind-altering, THC-dominant strains deliver a cerebral high and are often considered energizing, while balanced strains offer some relaxation and some psychoactivity.

Popular high-CBD strains include Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, ACDC, Harle-Tsu and Cannatonic.

Why it’s best to start with a high-CBD strain

Regular cannabis users probably won’t understand why somebody wouldn’t want to get high. But if you haven’t tried the herb before but want to try it as a natural medicine, then not wanting to get baked makes perfect sense. Here are three brilliant reasons why it’s a good idea to smoke a high-CBD strain before you dabble with high-THC strains.

1) High-CBD strains are less intense

It is true that cannabis strains have become much more potent over the past few decades and is a world away from what was being smoked in the 1970s. For recreational users, the thought of a 25 or 30-percent THC strain is wonderful – for a new user, not so much. Inexperience with a high-THC strain can cause extreme drowsiness post-consumption, as well as anxiety attacks and paranoia.

In contrast, high-CBD strains are not psychoactive, so won’t distort cognitive functions, or perception of time or space. Some studies have even indicated that the antipsychotic qualities of CBD can cancel out the psychoactive properties of THC, when the two are combined.

CBD strains are mood-boosting and mellowing, relaxing and uplifting – a distinct difference to the euphoria and giggles that a high-THC strain often brings. Many compare high-CBD strains to strong herbal teas, particularly ginseng and chamomile teas.

2) High-CBD strains treat chronic pain and inflammation

CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound, as well as an antioxidant. The eclectic mix of therapeutic properties means that CBD products can be used to treat many conditions.

High-CBD strains may even be better than balanced strains when combatting anxiety and depression, as the near-total absence of THC even further reduces the chance of experiencing THC-induced anxiety. However, ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference – everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, which explains why there’s perhaps no “perfect” strain.

3) Starting with high-CBD strains will prepare you for high-THC strains

CBD strains are also often taken in the daytime, with many users reporting that it helps to keep them focused and alert, thereby improving their productivity in the workplace. They are also an ideal substitute to caffeinated drinks and cigarettes when you just want something to “take the edge off”. CBD isn’t addictive, nor does it have any harsh side effects, so feel free to consume it liberally.

Instead of starting out with an explosive THC strain, perhaps go with a more levelled strain such as Sour Tsunami – this will allow you to sample psychoactivity, without being overwhelmed by it. Furthermore, the 1:1 CBD to THC ratio is perfect to draw out the entourage effect.

A one-to-one strain will get you a little bit high, although you should still be able to function as normal – in terms of work, having a conversation, etc. If a chilled-out, mellow time is what you’re seeking, then high-CBD and one-to-one strains are well-suited to you.

Good starter strains to prepare you for the full THC experience include One to One, Canna-Tsu and Pennywise. All of these strains express a pretty even ratio of CBD to THC.

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