We were fortunate to grow four different Hemp CUltivars — Lifter, Hawaiian Haze, Elektra and Suver Haze — in 2018. The genetics were all sourced from the Crawford brothers at Oregon CBD Seeds. These gentlemen pride themselves on providing tried and tested, Type III, industrial, feminized hemp genetics that will pass Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) THC limit requirements of 0.30% or less. Suffice it to say, we passed ODA pre-crop testing without issue.
These cultivars are termed “early series” varieties. This means they all share the same (reversed) pollen donor: which They call “ERB,” which is short for “Early Resin Berry”. This plant has been under development for several years and was inbred repeatedly to lock-in three very specific, true-breeding traits that are always passed on to progeny: (1) early flower initiation, (2) complex sweet berry flavor notes, and (3) high resin and terpene content.
The Crawford brothers goal was to develop an extremely high oil content hemp plant with dense, weighty flowers. After their initial cross (their Special Sauce mom to a very high content, new world Haze line), they honed in on their target after 2 additional generations of inbreeding and careful selection to remove unwanted chemo- and phenotypes. The resulting mom has incredible vegetative vigor and grows like a bush with rock-hard flowers. The resulting cross of SH50 and ERB gives us Lifter (in homage to the famous heirloom tomato, Mortgage Lifter). Earners will be rewarded with vigorous bushy, upright growth patterns in the vegetative phase that can easily fill 6′ centers. By late August (42N), fields will be full of large, oily “goldilocks” buds and perfect for the trimmed hemp flower market. The flavor is sweet funk, with some hints of fuel.
Certificate of Authenticity (COA) results for current batch:
Delta Nine THC – 0.05%
Total Terpenes – 2%
Percent Moisture – 5.6%
The parallel goals of the Crawford brothers for this project were to (1) create the highest CBD oil content plant possible and (2) design a CBD line capable of thriving in equatorial photoperiod / climatic conditions — they did this with the mom, then designed an outcrossing program to make tropical hybrids possible in Oregon. Initially, they crossed the publicly available ACDC plant with their selected Neville’s Haze male. After two generations of breeding, the chemotype was stabilized and progeny field trials were conducted on the 9 outstanding phenotypes (i.e. sisters). Of those, the hybrids derived from their “CC” mother plant stood out as the clear winner. Visitors to their field trials gravitated towards her progeny in particular and reminisced about the truly special flavors that used to emanate from imported Hawaiian flowers (beta- carypholene and humulene dominate the terpene profile). Hawaiian Haze brings farmers a unique opportunity to grow equatorially-inspired, long season flavors at 42N and to do so with large yielding, modern hybrid flower structure
COA results for current batch:
Delta Nine THC – View fullsize
ACDC is the famous Cannatonic phenotype that helped revolutionize west coast CBD production. She is the backbone of many high CBD crosses due to her availability, high resin content and strong terpenes. In addition, the line has been publicly genotyped (very heterozygous). As a clone, she is not worth the effort for field production, as her stalks lack the strength to support late-season flowers, especially in the wind and rain. The Crawford brothers conducted field trials on many different outcrossing combinations with her over the years and found that ACDC is the most useful to hemp farmers when hybridized in their “early” breeding program. Their particular pairing produces the best chance at successful recombination; in other words, they figured out how to consistently bulk up flowers, flower early, strengthen the stalk, narrow the variability in total cannabinoids, and improve terpene desirability in her FI progeny. We would have to agree as our Elecktra field was one of the strongest and definitely most colorful of the bunch this year. The result is one of the most potent — CBD or otherwise — myrcene dominant seed lines available in the world, but in field-ready form.
COA results for current batch:
Delta Nine THC – View fullsize
Suver Haze is a very special variety. The Crawford brothers first legitimate R&D facility is located along Suver Road, in the former epicenter of Oregon grass seed development. The area has a rich farming and social history and they offer this as their contribution to the legend. After crossing their “Special Sauce” mom with their select (THC) Neville’s Haze male in 2015, an open pollination was conducted with 40 FI siblings. When the resulting F2 seeds were grown out and chemotyped, only 1 plant out of 72 females in the test grow was a type III hemp plant (
25% should have been). They knew from the beginning that there was something special about this plant! After flowering her in greenhouses in 2017 for the first time, she moved from “special” to “legend” status. It definitely achieved legend status in our garden! The size, strength and vigor seen in our Suver Haze hemp field was un-matched by any of the other strains we grew this year. Their Suver #8 mom has the most unique and intoxicating terpene profile the Crawford brothers have ever smelled in a CBD line and we concur. Hitting these flowers with just a simple dash of water during the grow season set off a unique floral smell which definitely pleased our senses – more than once I might add! They hybridized this strain with the ERB line which made outdoor harvests possible. We harvested nice, dense, large, nuggets of this flower.The CULTIVARS We were fortunate to grow four different Hemp CUltivars — Lifter, Hawaiian Haze, Elektra and Suver Haze — in 2018. The genetics were all sourced from the Crawford brothers at
Top CBD Hemp Strains for 2019
Now that spring is within sight, it’s time for cannabis farmers across the northern hemisphere to consider
their crops for 2019. A unique aspect of this year’s season is that it marks the first full growing season
with the new regulations, or lack thereof, allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill. Most of us in the industry are
already familiar with the significance of that bill. For anyone who is not, hemp has now become federally
legalized across all 50 states. It is an exciting example of progress in the cannabis industry and opens up a
wide realm of possibilities for hemp growers and those focused on CBD products. The horizon for hemp
growers looks bright and with abundant opportunity ahead comes a need to look at what factors are
involved with growing and obtaining the top CBD hemp strains out there.
Seed selection is one of the most important decisions a hemp farmer makes during the season. A stable,
productive seed will lead to bountiful crops high in CBD or other desired cannabinoids, while a
questionable seed can lead to fields of failure. All seeds are most assuredly not created equal and
thorough vetting needs happen before making a decision on what seeds to purchase.
According to Ryan Lynch, PhD and co-founder of Boulder Hemp, a licensed hemp research, production,
and breeding facility in Colorado, seed sources can vary with the needs of each farmer but a few general
considerations are important.
“It all depends on the goals of the farmer, as hemp can be cultivated in many ways, and used for various
outputs. But in general, they should source seeds that have been produced from a consistent source for at
least several years and grown by other farmers locally through previous seasons,” Lynch recommends.
Adam Kurtz of Fusion CBD in Oregon has a similar sentiment, prefacing seed sources in general by
noting “there are seed breeders and then seed makers. We work with a few seed breeders and trial strains
out a year or more in advance before we share with our partner farms. That way we will know if they pass
compliance, what yields to expect, and if our customers will like it.”
With many people in the industry focusing on the lucrative potential accompanying the broad legalization
of hemp and the flourishing CBD market, it is more important than ever before to secure high quality
seeds. Many farmers seeking fast cash have been quick to purchase seeds from questionable sources only
to wind up with a weak, or even worse, unviable hemp crop.
Calvin Bailey, former Hemp Production Manager of Blue Forest Farms and current Research and
Development specialist with Greenhouse Growing System says that “there are a lot of issues in the
industry right now with unstable seed being sold to farmers who are in the cash grab mode and are
unwittingly going out and buying totally unstable, heterozygous seed and wondering why their fields look
like crap.” He also believes “genetic stability is of the utmost importance right now and, in my opinion,
feminization and even sterility of fiber crops is really important.” Wise words from an industrial hemp
expert with over a decade of experience in agriculture of many varieties.
Kurtz adds, “Make sure whoever you purchase seeds from can explain the breeding process, show sample
crops growing, and provide test results and germination rates.” He also offers a word of caution saying
that “many farmers have bought seeds from unscrupulous ‘breeders’ only to have major crop failures.”
Other Factors to Consider in a Quality CBD Hemp Strain
The exact hemp variety is a choice left up to the farmer for their particular needs and growing conditions.
Several factors come in to play that can provide broad direction in securing a high quality CBD hemp
strain and should be given careful consideration.
To ensure high yields of flowers from a hemp crop, good apical dominance is a necessary characteristic.
This implies that a better choice for strain is one where vertical growth surpasses lateral growth, or as
Bailey puts it, a good quality hemp strain “has a Christmas tree structure and not a candelabra.” Apical
dominance ensures that the plant itself can hold high volumes of dense flower buds without
compromising its structural integrity, thereby increase yield through the plants natural genetics.
High terpene content is another consideration when selecting a CBD hemp strain. Compliance with the
regulations laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill dictate that all hemp grown to be legally sold nationally must
contain less than .3 percent THC. That distinction is critical if a hemp crop is intended for use or sale
across state lines. If hemp is grown in a legal state, there is room to play with cannabinoid profiles;
however, many top growers seem to recommend a minimum of a 20 to 1 CBD to THC ratio for top-notch
strains intended for the CBD market.
Top CBD Hemp Strains
All of the preceding information leads us to the heart of the matter – some of the top CBD hemp strains
around. Here is a quick list of some favorites to help lead hemp farmers to a successful season. Keep in
mind the importance of seed source and if you don’t go with one of the varieties below, be sure to
complete the necessary due diligence to ensure viability.
Berry Blossom – This CBD heavy variety is a favorite among many growers and for good
reason. The structural integrity of Berry Blossom lends to super productive plants suitable for
large scale production. It is a selectively bred cross between Cherry Kandahar S1 and
Chardonnay. Excellent in a variety of climate conditions and holds up well in harsh wind and
Elektra – Known to be one of the most potent CBD seed lines available, Elektra is a cross-
bred improvement on the already legendary ACDC variety. ACDC paved the way for CBD
production in the U.S. and this hybrid improves upon that renown with a stronger stalk, fuller
flowers, and earlier blooms.
Charlotte’s Web – This strain gained popularity for its medical uses, being developed and
perfected by the Stanley Brothers in Colorado. Charlotte’s web was one of the top strains available
before medical cannabis was legally accessible to patients with epilepsy.
Cherry Wine – Possesses a very strong terpene profile with CBD content ranging from 15-
22%, with total CBD varying due to harvest and climate conditions. This variety consistently
produces large flower buds that are exceptionally dense.
Lifter – Lifter is a reliable and tested strain that consistently delivers high yields of dense
flowers, rich in CBD and other terpenes. Generally possessing CBD content around 15%, this
strain grows thick and rich like a bush leading to some of the highest yields of any CBD heavy
These are just a few suggestions and by no means are they the only options to explore. While the above
come recommended, other varieties could be beneficial depending on the crops intended market and use.
Top CBD hemp producers like Kurtz “have trialed over 20+ varieties but have recently settled on about
10 strains” with current favorite strains including Elektra, Sour Space Candy, Canna Tsu, Original Cherry
and Abacus. He also says that “as we target the smokeable hemp market, our customers like to see a variety
both in cannabinoids and taste.”
A Look into Future Potential
As research behind CBD for medical purposes develops and the legal market grows, the future is
promising for those involved in hemp growth and production. The traditional sale of smokable flower has
given way to an increase in popularity of cannabis extracts, particularly those high in CBD. New products
offering new forms of consumption are increasing consumer awareness and driving demand ever upward.
This steady demand for CBD products necessitates a constant supply of CBD hemp and by taking proper
considerations to encourage the best crop possible, hemp farmers stand to profit from this boom.
Lynch sees that “the vast majority of hemp consumed by end users is in extracted form. I’m not sure what
the future holds for the smokable flower market, it’s a small but growing segment in the US as of
2019, but its sustained growth is highly dependent on state and federal regulations and enforcement.”
Kurtz, however, sees that “the CBD and hemp industry is just beginning. I believe a trend will shift to
full spectrum products in the near future and as technology evolves, we will then find isolated compounds
mixed with specific terpenes to target specific issues. Our main business is in hemp flower, and there is
no slowing down. I expect smokeable hemp to become a tobacco replacement.”
Regardless of the manner in which CBD is consumed, farmers will continue to be the ones supplying the
public. Obtaining one of the top CBD hemp strains while adhering to the other considerations mentioned
above is a great start to securing a solid harvest. Many different factors are at play when growing any crop
and paying attention to the basics is a dependable method to increase yields and profits from a popular
and competitive commodity.
Where to Buy Seeds
A few recommended sellers of high-quality CBD hemp seed:Now that spring is within sight, it’s time for cannabis farmers across the northern hemisphere to consider their crops for 2019. A unique aspect of this year’s… ]]>