The Xanax of Weed

Want to smoke weed without feeling super high? Try these high CBD strains.

Depending on who you talk to, there's a strain of cannabis roughly analogous to any street drug or pharmaceutical.

Those effects are caused by a cocktail of 85 compounds called cannabinoids, the best understood of which is THC, a psychoactive substance that makes you high. But the opening of the recreational market means more people have access to other strains that growers have toyed with, including a handful of strains low in THC and high in the cannabinoid CBD, which gives you that body-relaxing, mind-clearing feeling and is often used to treat seizures.

In other words, they're basically the Xanax of weed.

We got six strains of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis, all of which cost between $10 and $12 a gram. Percentages have been rounded and can change from dispensary to dispensary. Also, high-CBD strains aren't always available, so check the menu before you go.


6% THC, 11% CBD

Purchased from Collective Awakenings, 2823 NE Sandy Blvd., 206-7090,

Feels like: Valium and a glass of Champagne

This strain was a little high in THC to try during work hours, so I brought it home. For me, Harlequin will definitely end up being a relax-the-day-is-over strain; the head high is stronger than anything else we tried, and the body high makes me want to melt into my couch for an hour or two and play Candy Crush while Law & Order: SVU hums in the background. But in a good way, you know?

Charlotte's Web

2% THC, 24% CBD

Purchased from Jayne, 2145 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 719-5665,

Feels like: Valium

According to Leafly, Charlotte's Web was originally cultivated in Colorado for a young epileptic patient named Charlotte. This was my favorite of all the strains we tried. It was a little higher in THC than the most mellow strains, so I could feel it in my knees and behind my eyes, but it never made me feel outright high. The flavor was also better than the other strains: One co-worker said it was "pleasantly refreshing like some flavor of gum they don't make but should." It made us all loose and happy, but no one died of giggle fits or couldn't continue working. Still, after smoking this I sent out an email to more than 4,000 people with the subject line "tk." So definitely smoke (or better, vape) this one, but wait awhile before you operate heavy machinery.


1% THC, 16% CBD

Purchased from Oregon's Finest, 1327 NW Kearney St., 971-254-4765,

Feels like: Xanax

Harle-Tsu tastes better than the strains with less than 1 percent THC and is less harsh to inhale. All the high-CBD strains felt to me like a gentle ennui eraser, but Harle-Tsu hit the Xanax sweet spot, without being a potentially addictive pharmaceutical that turns you into a robot: All worry was gone, and my body relaxed. While I wouldn't really recommend smoking weed at work if it isn't for a very important controlled experiment, this one would probably be OK.

Shark Shock

6% THC, 10% CBD

Purchased from Urban Farmacy, 420 NE 60th Ave., 957-7832,

Feels like: A glass of Champagne

Shark Shock was also too high in THC for work, so I brought this one over to a friend's house in the evening. Its effects were immediate: Someone did one funny voice, and we couldn't stop laughing, and then we went directly to Taco Bell and ordered combo meals. It was a nice mellow, social high. Not face-down-on-the-floor high but definitely the most we-just-smoked-weed feeling I got off of any of the strains I tried.

Canna Tsu

1% THC, 17% CBD

Purchased from Attis Trading Company, 4920 NE Cully Blvd., 477-8981,

Feels like: A strong cup of herbal tea and a heating pad for your neck

Canna Tsu is for the person who really would rather be in a hot bathtub. It has a nice body feeling, and you can smoke it and be assured your head will stay screwed on straight. It is a little harsh to smoke and doesn't taste great, but it's better on both of those fronts than Oracle.


1% THC, 15% CBD

Feels like: A strong cup of herbal tea

This is the first high-CBD strain we encountered and the one we use to test vaporizers in the office. The effects are very minimal, a very subtle relaxation. It's harsh and doesn't taste great, but it's mainly for people suffering from seizures, so on that front, it probably does its job.

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