If there is one strain that fundamentally changed the way that the world viewed the cannabis plant, it’s Charlotte’s Web.
But, where did this famous strain come from and what makes it so special?
Here’s the scoop on the cannabis plant that inspired a social movement:
The history of Charlotte’s Web
While every cannabis strain has a story, the Charlotte’s Web legacy is nothing short of remarkable.
This plant has saved lives.
Originally coined “Hippie’s Disappointment” by three Colorado brothers, this low-THC plant made world-wide television after saving the life of a child with intractable epilepsy.
Bred by the five Stanley Brothers in Colorado, the Charlotte’s Web strain is a unique cultivar that does not produce an intoxication.
In fact, test results of the Charlotte’s Web strain have found that it produces very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces the famous psychoactive “high” that cannabis provides.
Instead, this green flower features high quantities of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic cannabis compound with at times seemingly boundless medical potential.
As it turns out, while the cannabis plant had been used as a primitive treatment for seizure disorders throughout history, the Charlotte’s Web strain was the plant that returned this long-lost natural history to mainstream, present-day consciousness.
In 2013, a Colorado family went on U.S. national television with a miraculous story.
After experiencing hundreds of grand-mal seizures caused by Dravets Syndrome, a rare genetic form of epilepsy, then toddler Charlotte Figi experienced a near complete recovery upon beginning an intensive course of cannabis oil treatments.
That cannabis oil was made from the Charlotte’s Web plant grown by the Stanley Brothers.
In the years since, the Stanley’s have launched a cannabis oil empire, offering CBD oils to the general public online.
The effects of Charlotte’s Web
Both the Charlotte’s Web cannabis strain and the extracted oil will likely produce different effects when they are consumed.
For one, purchasing the Charlotte’s Web hemp oil will produce no noticeable psychoactive effect at all.
However, samples of the Charlotte’s Web strain found at a dispensary may still contain small amounts of THC, perhaps even up to 5%.
In contrast, the plants used to make Charlotte’s Web hemp oil are required by law to contain less than 0.3% THC, making the hemp extract nearly THC-free.
While neither option will cause the signature cannabis “high”, the chances of feeling a slight buzz from this plant are increased when smoking or vaporizing the flower itself.
Otherwise, this plant can produce between 10 and 20% CBD on average.
The higher the CBD content in the sample, the less likely you are to experience any noticeable mind-altering effect.
Instead, while THC often skews your sense of time and causes an oft enjoyable euphoria, CBD tends to provide a gently energizing and upbeat experience.
It’s not uncommon for consumers to report that they do not feel differently after consuming a high-CBD strain, with the exception of simply feeling happier, more engaged, and possibly with more mental clarity than they had previously.
Medical benefits of the Charlotte’s Web strain
The Charlotte’s Web cannabis cultivar belongs to a unique class of cannabis strains that are expected to have exceptionally high medical value.
While there are substantial therapeutic applications of both THC and CBD, the latter is more widely accepted due to its low level of side effects.
As it turns out, many medical cannabis patients don’t like the euphoric and intoxicating effects that THC provides. CBD makes for an excellent alternative.
However, it’s not just CBD that makes Charlotte’s Web so valuable. Here’s a brief description of the four main chemical constituents in the plant, according to lab data.
1. Benefits of CBD
Research into the medical benefits of CBD is really only in its infancy.
However, already scientists have discovered quite a lot about the potential uses of CBD. Amazingly, the potential is quite pronounced.
While these few simple sentences do little to acknowledge the scope of what CBD may offer, early research suggests that the benefits of CBD include:
- Anti-anxiety activity
- Anti-convulsant activity
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Anti-nausea and vomiting
- Neuroprotective properties
- Pain-fighting properties
Of all of these benefits, the anti-seizure properties of CBD have been the most researched.
In fact, CBD is such a powerful anticonvulsant that the US Food and Drug Administration has just approved a cannabis-based drug that contains the purified compound.
The drug in question is designated for the treatment of Dravet’s and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, both rare and severe forms of epilepsy.
2. Benefits of linalool
Apart from CBD, the Charlotte’s Web strain contains numerous other phyto-compounds that may contribute to both the herb’s overall effect and medicinal value.
In the laboratory tests mentioned above, this plant has tested with significant concentrations of linalool.
Linalool is one of many fragrance molecules called terpenes that the cannabis plant produces.
Featuring a light floral scent, linalool is a common constituent in the lavender plant.
As it turns out, there is some evidence that the molecule is partly responsible for the calming effect that makes lavender so popular.
In early research, linalool has demonstrated anti-anxiety properties, calming the nervous system and inspiring feelings of ease.
3. Benefits of alpha-pinene
Another common terpene that has been found in samples of Charlotte’s Web flower is alpha-pinene.
As the name suggests, alpha-pinene features a strong pine aroma and is one of the most abundant terpenes in the natural world.
While human studies of the medical applications of pinene are needed, early research has found that pinene has anti-inflammatory properties.
It has also been suggested that pinene may have a memory-boosting effect, blocking the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.
4. Benefits of myrcene
One of the most common terpenes in contemporary cannabis plants, myrcene is a hypnotic compound that is thought to be responsible for the “couch-locking” effects in some high THC cultivars.
In a high-CBD flower like Charlotte’s Web, however, the terpene is unlikely to produce such pronounced effects.
Still, this musky molecule lends a lemongrass-like aroma to the cultivar. It may also contribute to some of the calming and muscle-relaxant properties of the herb.
In addition, like linalool and pinene, myrcene has anti-inflammatory effects.
Yet, as with all cannabis research, current thought about terpenes is still based on educated guesses and early laboratory experiments, not on data from intensive clinical trials.
Strains similar to Charlotte’s Web
High-CBD cultivars are more popular than ever before.
Now, consumers have more choices and variety when it comes to ratios of THC to CBD, as well as choices among plants that produce a wide array of different tastes, aromas, and overall effects.
For those looking for another high-CBD, low-THC cannabis strain, here are some cultivars to consider:
- Shark Shock CBD
- Stephen Hawking Kush
- Ringo’s Gift
- Sour Tsunami
- Sweet and Sour Widow