Back-to-School Cannabis Strain Roundup

Six low-THC cultivars to get you through the year’s scholastic stresses.

(Jack Kent)

For some of us, shuffling our children off to school was anxiety-inducing enough before the pandemic. Add climate crises, virus variants, and an increasingly volatile commonwealth and, woof, that anxiety intensifies to impressive new levels.

Even if pothead parenting isn’t your preference, modern hemp and cannabis are fantastic tools to have in your parenting tool box—for reasons more complex than stress management or trying to parent through news-cycle-induced junk sleep.

When keeping a level head for the sake of my child is essential, CBD-forward or 1-to-1 THC-to-CBD cannabis cultivars—in the form of a dropperful of tincture, a single puff, or a teensy edible—can be an enormous mood support. More than that, CBD helps replace the aforementioned junk sleep with restful, restorative slumber.

Many contemporary cannabis phenotypes are cultivated for more than just astronomical highs or therapeutic efficacy. In fact, some flowers feel as if they were bred especially for apocalypse parenting on a public school schedule—which is to say, their profiles make for a plant that’s mood-altering enough to deepen your parental well of patience and medicinal enough to keep that well full.

Here are a few of our favorite, parent-friendly, low-THC cultivars:

In the Pines, less than 5% THC

A buzzy sativa strain with an entourage effect that a wide swath of users describe as creatively inspiring, In the Pines has a CBD-forward profile supported by relaxing myrcene, pain-killing caryophyllene, and chest-clearing ocimene. Together, these elements not only seem to quell anxiety and nervousness, they galvanize users to open their minds and get expressive, which is itself an awesome therapeutic approach to handling anxiety and stress.

Expect a heavy pine aroma and resinous, verdant mouthfeel. The exhale is a grassy bronchodilator that lingers in the chest and throat. Get it from: Gram Central Station, 6430 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-284-6714.

Special Sauce, less than 1% THC

Special Sauce is a CBD-forward strain that users celebrate for its non-psychoactive, calming, sleep-supporting effects. This is the nug to smoke the night before a stressful, first-day-of-school morning. The strain’s myrcene-heavy terpene profile is mildly sedative without being obtrusively energy draining, and the balance of cannabinoids keeps users clearheaded and relaxed enough to tie up any pre-homeroom loose ends before falling into bed and sleeping through the night.

The dense, sticky buds make for robust concentrates and extracts, as well as a slow-burning bowl or roll of satisfyingly familiar skunk. Expect an earthy mouthfeel and a grassy, peppery exhale. Get it from: Plane Jane’s, 10530 NE Simpson St., 971-255-0999,

Pennywise, less than 10% THC

For the more advanced consumer, Pennywise is a balanced, 1-to-1 CBD-to-THC cultivar bred from the therapeutic strain Harlequin and the invigorating sativa strain Jack the Ripper. The resulting flowers typically sport 10 mg each of THC and CBD per dose, leaving users with a tempered euphoria that seems to smother anxiety, PTSD and physical tension as well as treat certain neurological disorders. Most users find this to be a superb strain for daytime management of their stressiest symptoms, calming them without sedation and energizing them without manic intensity.

These sugary buds have a sweet, citrusy perfume with a spicy, earthy undertone. Expect a floral, woody mouthfeel and a grassy, botanical exhale. Get it from: Green Muse, 5515 NE 16th Ave., 971-420-4917,

CBD Blue Shark, less than 7% THC

Another strain cultivated for a balanced tableau of cannabinoids is CBD Blue Shark, which, despite its name, features a 1-to-1 ratio of THC and CBD. This cross of classic therapy strain CBD Shark and deep stoner fave Blue Cheese highlights attractive features of each parent, including powerful inflammation and nerve-pain relief and a mellow, rose-tinted euphoria that massages away anxiety and stress in just a few puffs.

CBD Blue Shark has a complex perfume of fresh cut flowers, ripe, juicy berries, and offensively stank cheese. Expect a mouthfeel that’s equally challenging and a thick, lingering skunky exhale. Get it from: Mind Rite, 1780 NW Marshall St.,503-477-4430,

Sweet andSour Widow, less than 5% THC

Novice smokers still exploring their response to THC might enjoy Sweet and Sour Widow’s 2-to-1 CBD-to-THC ratio, which allows for psychotropics mild enough to soothe even first-time users into a manageable, clearheaded bliss. Sweet and Sour Widow is a White Widow derivative, cultivated with specific sativa CBD genetics to enhance the therapeutic benefits without suffocating this strain’s gentle recreational head high. Though its genetics are indica forward, users report this strain as being responsive enough for daytime or evening use.

Expect a—no joke—sweet onion perfume to precede a commensurate oniony exhale. Get it from: Electric Lettuce, 2026 NE Sandy Blvd.,971-544-7241,

Cali Mandarina, less than 10% THC

Consumers who prefer a lower THC percentage but not at the sacrifice of efficacy may enjoy Cali Mandarina, a citrusy hybrid strain with a 1-to-1 ratio of THC and CBD. The cannabinoids that make up this strain’s profile have sativa genetics, but users report this strain’s anxiety-quelling properties are both soothing and revitalizing. The tempered buzz makes this cultivar an excellent choice for daytime use, especially on those especially extra-stressful days when your parental anxiety has parental anxiety. Get it from: Mongoose Cannabis Co., 3123 SE Belmont St., 541-933-8032,

Willamette Week’s Parents & Kids Issue 2021

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