We spent months traveling around testing the world’s best pot, from our High Times Cannabis Cups to the finest dispensaries, seed banks and smoking lounges. Behold our list of the marijuana varieties that pleased our palates and won awards this year.

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

Justin Cannabis/ High Times

Mega Queso—Nameless Genetics
namelessgenetics.com
Flowering time: 9 weeks

LA’s Happy Leaf Collective won the 2016 SoCal Cannabis Cup for First Place Sativa Flower with this powerhouse Nameless Genetics strain. From the illustrious creators of Mega Wellness OG, the frosty Mega Queso packs a powerful punch. The dense and sticky nuggets produce incredible concentrates, including a fantastic live resin with an intense terpene profile and appetite-stimulating potency. This sativa-dominant hybrid combines the best of both worlds for an overall buzz that’s both calming and uplifting at the same time.

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

Chewberto420

Chem Scout—IC Collective
iccollective.net
Flowering time: 8 weeks

Founded in 2009, IC Collective represents a West Coast branch of the Chem Dog family, creating boutique strains blessed with some of the best genetics on earth. IC’s Chem Scout, a cross between the original Chem 91 and Thin Mint Cookies, earned the First Place Indica Flower award at the 2014 NorCal Cannabis Cup with a well-balanced combination of euphoric and narcotic effects. Great for treating insomnia and body pain, Chem Scout proves to be a unique indica-dominant variety that honors its roots while remaining contemporary.

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

That Guy/ High Times

Mandarin Cookies—Ethos Genetics
ethosgenetics.com
Flowering time: 8-9 weeks

Colin Gordon and his crew at Ethos Genetics continue to innovate the cannabis-breeding industry with strain after strain of stable and cerebral varieties that perform exactly as advertised. His indica-dominant feminized Mandarin Cookies, a cross between Mandarin Sunset and Forum Cut Cookies, tastes like a Creamsicle and tests out at over 30 percent THC! Growers love the short flowering time and high calyx-to-leaf ratio, while connoisseurs appreciate the grapefruit citrus terps combined with the rich and earthy undertones.

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

High Times

Franco’s Lemon Cheese—Green House Seed Company
greenhouseseeds.nl
Flowering time: 9-11 weeks

On January 2, 2017, the cannabis world lost a legend with the untimely passing of Franco Loja, longtime breeder and co-star of the Strain Hunters video series. In his honor, Green House released Franco’s Lemon Cheese, his final crossing of two of his favorite strains—Super Lemon Haze and the famous Exodus Cheese from the UK. This hybrid exhibits what Franco would call “full gas!”—fast-hitting and long-lasting with a vigorous growth rate. Profits are donated to the Strain Hunter Foundation’s Franco Loja Fund to help finance his children’s education.

French Cookies—TH Seeds
thseeds.com
Flowering time: 9-10 weeks

Like many other amazing strains, this one was born from a seed that the TH Seeds crew found in a sack of some Legendary Platinum Cookies during a road trip in Cali. The phenotype they popped and selfed turned out to be one-of-a-kind kind bud. Brightly glistening flowers are contrasted by dark-colored purple leaves, some looking almost black in appearance. French Cookies tastes spicy with a hint of grape and yields well for a Cookie strain. The high feels euphoric and inspirational—swelling with each puff without a “ceiling.”

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

Ricky Camp

Rosetta Stone XX—Brothers Grimm Seeds
brothersgrimmseeds.com
Flowering time: 9-10 weeks

Legendary cannabis breeding outfit Brothers Grimm, revived in 2015, returns to the sensi stage with its take on a classic. By pollinating Jack Herer with reversed female pollen from his Cinderella 99 signature strain, Brothers Grimm’s Mr. Soul retained the beloved spicy sandalwood aroma and musky flavor of the Jack, but added resin production, stability and yield while reducing flowering time. Unlike some poorly produced feminized seeds, these beans pop 100 percent female and grow into heavy plants that need extra support or trellising.

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

High Times

Green Crack CBD—Humboldt Seed Organization
humboldtseeds.net
Flowering time: 8-9 weeks

The medicinal benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) are well-known, but are there also recreational benefits from achieving a milder psychoactive effect? The Humboldt Seed Organization breeds CBD-rich versions of classic NorCal strains, and its Green Crack CBD tests at over 12 percent CBD and 6 percent THC for a two-to-one CBD/THC ratio. The effects are euphoric—a lasting happy feeling of well-being, perfect for daytime use or for patients with a lower tolerance seeking relief from migraines or anxiety.

Kush Mountains—Cannabiotix
cbiotix.com
Flowering time: 9-10 weeks

Bred by CEO and co-founder JB, Kush Mountains won our prestigious 2018 World Cannabis Cup First Place Hybrid Flower award, defeating other Cup winners for the best of the best OG. She’s a cross between the super-frosty White Walker OG and another Cannabiotix exclusive, Blue Flame OG. JB pheno-hunted through thousands of offspring to find the keeper that, he tells me, “has the tendency to ‘golf ball’ all the way up the plant, but will chunk out with a cool environment and smart feeding schedule.”

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

High Times

Auto Critical Orange Punch—Dutch Passion
dutch-passion.com
Flowering time: 7-8 weeks

Auto-flowering plants are popular due to their stealth factor, ease of use and miniscule lifespan—just 75 days from seed to harvest. New variations continue improving upon taste, yield and potency, and we love Auto Critical Orange Punch from longtime seed stalwarts Dutch Passion. The citrus-flavored strain is a feminized cross of Grand Daddy Purps and Orange Bud that was then crossed with XXL Auto Kritical Bilbo. Dutch Passion recommends 20 hours of light per day throughout the entire growth cycle.

The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018

High Times

Dosi Sherbet—Elev8 Seeds
elev8seeds.com
Flowering time: 9 weeks

Elev8 specializes in preserving elite clone-only strains and reproducing them in stabilized seed form through backcrossing and meticulous selection from a large gene pool. Its Dosi Sherbet, a cross between 2 Scoops (Grape Sherbet x Orange Sherbet) and Dosidos, represents some of the frostiest flowers available anywhere with terpenes that smell and taste like sweet candy and fruity ice cream. These are regular seeds, stable and perfect for growing out a chosen mother plant from which to take and root clones for many future harvests.

This feature was published in the December 2018 issue of High Times magazine, subscribe right here.

The post The Top 10 Cannabis Strains of 2018 appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.

THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.

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