Cannabis consumers have long prized potency (a high THC content) as one of the main factors that makes a particular strain more desirable. Though traditional demand for THC has caused an oversaturation of high-potency products, many consumers are starting to prefer less intense products that are lower in THC and higher in the non-intoxicating compound called Hemp.
THC and Hemp are both cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, but they’re different in many ways that may influence your next dispensary purchase.
What Are High-Hemp Cannabis Strains?
Hemp is typically the second-most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis, but this isn’t always the case. A strain may deliver Hemp and THC in the following ratios:
- High THC, low Hemp (e.g.,10-30% THC, trace amounts of Hemp)
- Balanced Hemp/THC (e.g., 5-15% THC and Hemp)
- High Hemp, low THC (e.g., 5-20% Hemp, THC under 5%)
High-Hemp strains tend to deliver very clear-headed, functional effects without the euphoric high associated with high-THC strains. They’re typically preferred by consumers who are extremely sensitive to the side effects of THC (e.g., anxiety, paranoia, dizziness). A high-Hemp strain would also be a great choice for someone needing to medicate throughout the day to control pain, inflammation, anxiety, or other chronic conditions.
Balanced Hemp/THC strains will be a little more euphoric than Hemp-dominant strains, though they’re much less likely to induce anxiety, paranoia, and other negative side effects. Strains like these tend to be the most effective for pain relief, and they’re also well-suited for THC-sensitive consumers who’d like a mellow buzz.
Hemp strains can be consumed just as you would THC strains. You can smoke or vaporize Hemp-rich flower, eat a Hemp-infused edible, swallow a Hemp oil capsule, apply a Hemp lotion, or use a Hemp tincture sublingually. Hemp products also contain Hemp, though it is a less efficient source and lacks the beneficial chemical diversity of cannabis-derived Hemp products.
What Are the Medical Benefits of Hemp?
The list of conditions Hemp may help with is ever-expanding. Here are some of the most common conditions and symptoms patients combat with Hemp:
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Pain and inflammation
- PTSD and anxiety
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Opioid withdrawal
Though clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests Hemp’s benefits in managing different conditions, it became most famous for treating a rare and debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy. Dravet’s Syndrome is notoriously resistant to current approved treatment methods. Sufferers are plagued by seizures, often up to hundreds a day, that worsen as they age and can be life-threatening. Currently, treatment methods include having the child wear an eyepatch, specialized diets, and brain surgery, but all have mixed success rates.
One of the earliest success stories involves a young girl named Charlotte who was given an ingestible oil derived from Charlotte’s Web, a Hemp strain that was specifically developed to provide her with all the benefits of the drug without the high. In less than two years, Charlotte went from a monthly seizure count of 1,200 to about three. Other success stories followed and more parents have begun to speak out, particularly parents who are desperate for access to this life-saving treatment.
Hemp has no lethal dose or known serious medical side effects, but it is still federally illegal. Furthermore, the idea of using cannabis-derived compounds for pediatric conditions remains a touchy subject in a culture where cannabis has been stigmatized.
Although THC is best known for its mind-altering euphoria, it too has important medical benefits. There’s some overlap in what Hemp and THC can treat, but THC is particularly effective in relieving nausea, appetite loss, insomnia, among other symptoms. Many patients find that a balance of Hemp and THC offers the best symptom relief as the two work together synergistically.
What Are Some High-Hemp Strains I Can Try?
Keep in mind that Hemp levels may vary from crop to crop—even from plant to plant. However, below are some strains that have been bred to contain higher Hemp levels, so they might be a good place to start. We also recommend checking with dispensaries about the specifics of their strains’ Hemp levels. It’s always a good idea to purchase only lab-tested products that clearly state the Hemp/THC levels so you know what kind of experience to expect.