Interest in CBD is growing fast these days with the increasing body of credible scientific research pointing to this cannabinoid's amazing medicinal properties. E-mails have been coming in asking about CBD in the traditional strains sold by The Real Seed Company, so this post is aiming to clear up some of these questions.
If you are looking for CBD rich traditional cannabis plants then the best place to look is in old fashioned charas and hashish strains, or fibre hemp strains, (but RSC has only once sold an 'indica var. chinensis' hemp strain from Northern Laos).
Strains from the Himalaya, Middle East, or Hindu Kush such as the Parvati, Nepalese, Mazar-i-Sharif or Sinai can be expected to show medically useful quantities of CBD in something like 75% of plants.
Evidence suggests that there are three basic types of 'chemotype' which will show in a crop of traditional hashish plants:
1. Type 1 plants: high THC, low CBD
2. Type 2 plants: roughly equal amounts of THC and CBD
3. Type 3 plants: high CBD, low THC plants
Type 2 plants can be expected to make up about half of any crop, and Type 3 plants about a quarter.
So traditional strains used for hashish, charas and ganja fall into two very clear categories: strains that give medically useful amounts of CBD, and strains that don't. As with modern western hybrids like Skunk and Haze, most tropical ganja strains don't contain medically useful amounts of CBD. So that rules out varieties like Kerala, Thai, Highland Lao etc. The reason for that is that ganja strains have had generations of selection for maximum potency (i.e. THC) and this has effectively bred the genes for CBD out (CBD is not psychoactive, contrary to the old urban myths).
A strain with good amounts of CBD tends to produce a more centred, clearer and more grounded experience than pure, high THC varieties. For many people, this gives a more enjoyable and indulgent high, as well as great medicine. Or pure CBD = no high.