Harlequin Strain Intro & Top 3 Alternatives

Published Wed, August 31, 22

Harlequin is one of the cornerstone strains of the CBD revolution, but most CBD users still know surprisingly little about this strain’s effects, its history, and how it shapes up compared to other sativa-dominant CBD cultivars. In this guide, learn what Harlequin is and what it does, and find out if there might be other CBD-rich hemp strains you’d like better.

What is the strain Harlequin?

Harlequin is a complex mix of landrace strains that was fine-tuned during the late 2000s to offer CBD percentages of 10% or higher with THC kept lower than 5%. An instant hit in the medical cannabis community, Harlequin became one of the first “CBD strains” offered in dispensaries. At the time, cannabis users liked the novelty of trying CBD but appreciated that Harlequin still contained enough THC to cause light intoxication.

Over the years, Harlequin has evolved to develop quite a few different phenotypes — some of which are claimed to contain over 20% CBD. Creating a form of Harlequin so far removed from the cannabinoid percentages of the original strain, though, might erase some of the beneficial attributes derived from Harlequin’s landrace parentage.

What is the cannabinoid percentage of Harlequin?

Conventional Harlequin contains around 10% CBD and 5% THC. Any form of Harlequin sold online, however, must contain less than 0.3% THC to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill, so these Harlequin phenotypes have been altered significantly from the original strain.

Does the strain Harlequin have any other names?

No, Harlequin isn’t known by any aliases or commonly shortened into nicknames. As is evident from the massive divide in cannabinoid content between conventional and online Harlequin phenotypes, though, there are quite a bit of cultivars you can buy that go under the name “Harlequin.”

Is Harlequin indica or sativa?

Harlequin is a strongly sativa-dominant strain that’s known for its pleasantly uplifting effects. In its THC form, Harlequin is commonly used for pain and anxiety, but this strain’s euphoric benefits might be lost in phenotypes that contain less than 0.3% THC.

What is the best time of day to smoke Harlequin?

It’s generally best to smoke Harlequin in the morning or throughout the day. This strain’s energizing effects might counteract the natural urge to relax at night, and you're better off with an indica before bedtime anyway.

What are Harlequin’s genetics?

Harlequin is the result of criss-crossing four distinct landraces from Colombia, Nepal, Thailand, and Switzerland. The Thai, Swiss, and Colombian landraces are all sativa-leaning with Harlequin’s indica attributes deriving from its Nepali parentage.

CBD-rich phenotypes of these cultivars were selected and interbred until Harlequin expressed CBD percentages over 10%. At the time, this was considered to be a breakthrough in CBD breeding and paved the way toward the vast panoply of CBD-rich hemp strains we see today.

What is the terpene profile in Harlequin?

Harlequin has a relatively uninteresting terpene profile consisting mostly of myrcene with small amounts of caryophyllene, pinene, and humulene thrown in as well. No particular terpenes stand out, and this strain expectedly both tastes and smells pretty nondescript.

How does the strain Harlequin make you feel?

Harlequin is known to provide uplifting sativa effects that don’t offer any considerable cognitive high since the CBD:THC ratio in this strain is about 2:1. Versions of Harlequin you can buy online that contain less than 0.3% THC are even less capable of providing conventional sativa effects, but this strain will nonetheless be better for daytime use than an indica.

What is the strain Harlequin good for?

Users indicate that Harlequin is a great strain for pain. Since the days when Harlequin was brand-new, however, plenty of other CBD strains for pain have come to the fore that might be even more effective. At this point, THC Harlequin is simply a great strain for THC users looking for help with pain while CBD Harlequin fades into the background of countless similar sativa cultivars.

Is the strain Harlequin good for anxiety?

Due to its high CBD content and uplifting sativa effects, Harlequin is commonly described as being good for anxiety. If your anxiety exhibits itself in manic behavior, though, you might be better off with a sedating indica.

Is the strain Harlequin good for depression?

Harlequin is considered to be quite uplifting, so it’s a reasonably good strain to choose for depression. This old-school CBD cultivar doesn’t particularly stand out, however, in comparison to newer hemp strains specifically bred to help with anxiety.

Is the strain Harlequin good for stress?

Compared to an average THC strain, Harlequin’s high CBD content makes it great for stress. Compared to other CBD strains, however, Harlequin isn’t as ideal for stress as hard-hitting indicas that sedate you and make your cares melt away.

Is the strain Harlequin good for pain?

When it was first bred, Harlequin was one of the best strains for pain that money could buy. These days, though, plenty of other cultivars have eclipsed Harlequin’s utility for pain. Harlequin hasn’t gotten any less useful for pain than it once was, but there are now lots of other strains to choose from that might offer even stronger effects.

Does the strain Harlequin have any negative effects?

Harlequin can cause headaches in some users, especially THC users who aren’t accustomed to CBD. Otherwise, though, this strain isn’t known to cause any specific side effects.

What does the strain Harlequin smell like?

Harlequin primarily smells earthy and dank like mangoes. In short, Harlequin smells like generic, garden-variety “weed,” which is essentially what it is.

What does the strain Harlequin taste like?

It might taste slightly spicier than it smells, but Harlequin won’t pull any shockers in the taste department. This is basic-issue CBD weed at its most basic.

Are there different Harlequin strains?

No, we aren’t aware of any variants of Harlequin, but this strain is the proud parent of two cultivars that have become famous CBD strains in their own right: Pennywise and Harle-Tsu.

Who is the strain Harlequin best for?

In this day and age, Harlequin is best-suited for a leisurely walk down memory lane. There was a time when Harlequin was the next, best thing, but that time has surely passed. Harlequin might perform just as well as the average hemp strain, but it won’t perform any better.

What strains are similar to Harlequin?

Harlequin is similar to a variety of different global landraces, but it’s most like its children, Harle-Tsu and Pennywise. Other strains you might want to try include Sour Tsunami, Canna-Tsu, and CBD Mango Haze.

Top 3 alternatives to Harlequin

If Harlequin is basic-issue CBD flower, which sativa strains are out there that might genuinely blow your mind? We’ll enter three options for your consideration:

1. Secret Nature Citron 

How is Secret Nature Citron like Harlequin?

Like Harlequin, Citron is a sativa. Unlike Harlequin, however, Citron contains close to 20% CBD, and it has an absolutely delicious flavor that puts Harlequin’s earthy-woody mish-mash to shame. Strongly citrusy and sour, Citron is just as enjoyable to smoke as it is potent.

Why Secret Nature Citron is better

“Harlequin” has now become a vague term that CBD-rich hemp producers can use to refer to a wide variety of different phenotypes that have very little to do with the original CBD-THC strain. Citron, on the other hand, is a connoisseur-crafted phenotype that’s only offered by one producer, offering a tasty and consistent experience every time.

2. Secret Nature Sour Space Candy

How is Secret Nature Sour Space Candy like Harlequin?

Like Harlequin, Sour Space Candy is often considered to be an “OG” CBD strain in the sense that it was one of the first cultivars to enter the market. Unlike Harlequin, however, Sour Space Candy has always contained high concentrations of CBD and compliant THC levels, making it a much more reliable cultivar to choose when you want consistent results.

Why Secret Nature Sour Space Candy is better

Sour Space Candy is a simple cross of Early Resin and Sour Tsunami, and it features beautiful purplish coloration and a sour apple aroma. Packing 21% CBD, Secret Nature’s rendition of Sour Space Candy offers an incredible amount of potency and delivers the clean, crisp flavor only indoor-grown bud can provide.

3. Secret Nature Fuji 

How is Secret Nature Fuji like Harlequin?

What CBD users originally liked about Harlequin was its potency. Nowadays, strains like Fuji are the kings of the CBD sativa kingdom, coming in at CBD percentages of 23% or higher. Even heavily augmented versions of Harlequin rarely contain more than 20% CBD, and Fuji has an impeccable flavor to offer in addition to its massive CBD potency.

Why Secret Nature Fuji is better

Fuji blends lemon and citrus notes together to create an overall flavor that’s surprisingly reminiscent of a Fuji apple. Like Japan’s Mount Fuji for which the famous strain of apples is named, Fuji towers up into the clouds with crystal-topped peaks and glistening valleys. This indoor-grown and strongly sativa-leaning strain will be sure to get the job done each and every time.

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