Charlotte’s Web is a medical strain high in CBD, a cannabis compound (or cannabinoid) that has a range of medical applications. Colorado growers the Stanley Brothers created this strain specifically for Charlotte Figi — a young epilepsy patient and medical cannabis user — by crossing an unspecified strain with industrial hemp. The effectiveness of Charlotte’s Web in treating Figi’s seizures was publicized in a CNN special and garnered enough attention to attract droves of families to Colorado in search of similar relief. CW has spurred a wave of innovation in CBD breeding, giving us strains like Cannatonic. With limited psychoactivity, CW contains little to no THC. Its CBD content, however, runs from 15 to 20% — that’s 300 times higher than the CBD of the average recreational strain.
Unlike its cousin cannabinoid THC, CBD doesn’t act directly on the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, it is thought to work indirectly by increasing the availability of the body’s own endocannabinoid compounds to stimulate those receptors. Essentially, CBD may act as a booster to help out many of the body’s naturally functioning processes. Although Charlotte’s Web is available as a concentrated oil for easy medical ingestion, buds of the strain are also available for adults who prefer more traditional consumption. Flowers of this hemp-descended strain have a sativa appearance, with long, tapered buds and olive green leaves. Those accustomed to more psychoactive strains will notice that CW has relatively few pistils and, due to the near-absence of THC-laden trichomes, very little stickiness. Its scent is more familiar: dank and piney with some light floral notes. When burnt, this strain gives off a smooth smoke. On the exhale, it may taste slightly skunky with an underlying grassy, vegetal taste that speaks to its hemp content.
As noted, Charlotte’s Web is bred specifically for a high CBD to THC ratio. Because of this ratio, CW can be useful for casual edible bakers who want to avoid an intense high. That said, depending on the particular phenotype of CW consumed, users may get some buzzy effects ranging from a heightened sense of well-being to some sensory enhancement. Generally speaking, however, medical-grade CW comes with negligible psychoactivity, making it a prime choice for patients – particularly children – who want to avoid getting high. In fact, researchers believe that the presence of CBD may actually act to shut down any trippy or anxiety-inducing feelings caused by trace amounts of THC.