For me, Halley’s Comet was another foray outside my indica comfort zone. It was recommended by my budtender when I asked for a daytime strain without some of the more stimulating sativa effects – pounding heart, racing thoughts, etc. These aspects had always rubbed me the wrong way, but I was interested to see if I could find a strain with some of the reported benefits of sativas and sativa dominant strains – clear headedness, focus, positivity and even energy. The budtender recommended a strain called Halley’s Comet, which I later found out to be a high CBD strain. This would be my first time consuming CBD outside of edibles, so it would be an experiment for me beyond just the sativa aspect. I’d been hearing a lot about the medical benefits of CBD, but had yet to answer the question for myself – what, if anything, does CBD feel like?
CBD is, typically, the second most plentiful cannabinoid present in cannabis, out of about 85 known cannabinoids. Previously, it was thought that CBD merely countered the effects of THC, but in recent years, research has uncovered other functions of CBD. It has been proven to be highly effective in treating the symptoms of serious, hard to treat diseases such as Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis. In particular, CBD strains have been getting some attention for treating Dravet’s Syndrome, a debilitating form of pediatric epilepsy. CBD is considered to be “non-psychoactive” in itself, so pure CBD strains have been used in tincture and oil form to greatly reduce the number of seizures in children who have been unable to treat these seizures through the more conventional methods. Beyond its effectiveness for these specific conditions, CBD be useful in other ways, especially paired with THC.
For one thing, CBD can temper some of the mind bending effects of THC. While not canceling out the “high” entirely, it can take the edge off – reducing both anxiety causing side effects, and sleep inducing qualities. CBD strains are sometimes known for their clear headed alertness. More generally, CBD is effective for anti-nausea, anti-psychotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidant purposes, in addition to anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects.
My introduction to smoking CBD strains was Halley’s Comet, recommended to me as mellow sativa daytime strain. Only once I got home and did some research did I find out it was a high CBD strain, with a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC.
The buds were noticeably fluffier and less dense than the indica dominant strains I was used to. A pale, medium-light yellowish green, covered in crystals, lets orange hairs and pine-green accents really catch the eye. Next, I notice the smell – an invigorating pungent, fruity, sourness – faintly reminiscent of mango or pineapple. Somehow I didn’t expect such a notable, exciting aroma from a CBD strain - but the smell is of course determined by terpene content, which is a whole different story. The pungent aroma is a little less detectable in the taste, but still pleasant.
The effect was certainly different than what I was used to at that point, but what I noticed may have had more to do with sativa dominant genetics than any CBD content. The effect really was more focused on head than body, and I found my thoughts a bit more clouded than with body-centric indica stones. There was a focus of the effect behind the eyes, which teared slightly and became fairly dry and red – which is not a super common side effect for me.
The first time I tried it early in the day, while still waking up, and ended up falling quickly back asleep. I had some better luck with it as a daytime strain later on, but overall it reinforced my existing belief that there’s no THC product in the world that will make me more awake and alert than without it. Everyone’s different and this may not be true for others, all I can hope to do is minimize the drowsiness and cloudiness that often come with THC.
There is a visual component to the Halley’s Comet experience. Similar to putting on warm colored glasses, I felt like the effects of Halley’s Comet impart an added warm shimmer to natural light – especially sunlight. This would be the perfect strain for watching a sunset or a sunrise.
The effects of CBD are subtle – something I found equally true when consuming it in edible or tincture form. But despite being sativa dominant, I did find Halley’s comet to be fairly relaxing, and free of many of the negative side effects that I associate with strong sativas. Anti-anxiety and mood lifting affects are achieved sooner, before some of the more disconcerting effects of THC take hold – for me, this is the real benefit of CBD. As far as whether Halley’s Comet succeeded in its recommendation as a mellow daytime sativa – yes and no. It was a relatively calm sativa. But at the end of the day, for me, there is no such thing as a totally clear headed, focused, or energetic cannabis experience. Some are worse than others in this regard, but when all is said and done, if I have a bunch of complicated errands to run, I’m best off abstaining until they’re completed successfully, or at least sticking to a low dose. I can’t emphasize enough here that everyone is different, especially when it comes to cannabis, and this may not be your experience. But my advice is to take any notions of clear headed cannabis with a grain of salt until you know how your own body reacts. Even Halley’s Comet was enough to induce a nap when I was already tired.
I would recommend Halley’s Comet to anyone looking for a low-key sativa, or to anyone looking for interesting visual effects – going for a walk at sundown, or watching a visually engaging movie. It is a relaxing – and especially delicious - afternoon strain. I don’t recommend it for trying to wake up, or for a busy chaotic day in which lots needs to get done. It’s worth trying for the smell alone, and for some variation from indica nighttime strains.