There are just as many compelling reasons to grow high CBD hemp as there are for marijuana.
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.
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.
Benefits of CBD
The main reason to focus on CBD-rich strains is for medicinal purposes. Lots of evidence that it provides relief for a variety of symptoms including seizures, anxiety, spasms and nausea. It can also provide some people relief from multiple sclerosis, IBS, PTSD, cancer treatments and many other conditions. We are learning more every day!
Higher levels of CBD in cannabis will mute the psychoactive effects of THC, so that it has less of an effect on your thinking, while still providing the same benefits
More of a relaxing and less of a “speedy” or “racing” effect with buds.
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 Quality CBD Seeds
The key to growing high-CBD marijuana strains at home is to identify a strain that’s likely to produce CBD in larger (or equal) amounts as THC.
Auto-flowering strains tend to have higher levels of CBD than photoperiod strains because they are descended from high-CBD wild hemp plants. There are also autos that have been specifically bred to produce high CBD levels.
Many high-CBD strains are becoming available online as seed, since many breeders are now selecting for plants with higher levels of CBD and lower THC.
Older cannabis strains tend to have higher CBD levels, especially those from before the year 2000, but many modern strains were bred over several generations exclusively for high THC levels, and CBD levels dwindled over time.
Growing Tactics to Increase CBD Levels
General good care
Keep plant healthy and avoid major problems until harvest because sickly plants produce overall lower levels of cannabinoids.
The optimal temperature for cannabis seed germination is 65-70°F. Lower temperatures will delay emergence. It’s best to plant after potential risk of late frost (e.g., mid-May or early June). Seed is best planted at a depth of 0.75-1 inch. For direct seeding, acceptable soil temperature at that depth for germination is 50°F.
Cannabis grows best on loose, well-drained, well-aerated soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. Consistency in pH level will allow the plant to better absorb nutrients. If pH becomes too alkaline (above 7.5) or too acidic (below 5.5), it will cause deficiencies of nutrients. Cannabis does not do well in heavy clay soils due to higher calcium levels and greater water retention/saturation.
Cannabis generally prefers semi-humid conditions with temperatures between 60- 80°F. Cannabis does not react well to over watering but requires ample moisture during early stages. Excess rainfall will stunt growth and lead to smaller yields. During the plant’s life-cycle 10-14 inches of rainfall is optimal, but larger plants will require more water. Irrigation may be necessary depending on size and geographic location.
Harvest at the right time
Marijuana plant grown for CBD extraction is typically harvested in early to mid-fall when cannabinoid levels are at their peak (think early to late October). Remember that CBD content drops drastically after reaching its peak. 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.
There are many theories on how to increase CBD concentrations in cannabis plants. Some growers believe that a combination of warm temperatures (both in the soil and grow area) and low precipitation can also boost the CBD levels of your next harvest. Unfortunately, there is no official studies to confirm whether these methods actually work. Nonetheless, feel free to try such theories for yourself and share your results with us.
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