Rambo July 24, 2012 5
  • Looks
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Potency
  • Effectiveness

Harlequin is famous for its high CBD, sweet taste, massive colorful buds and unprecedented medicinal effectiveness. Like many great discoveries, Harlequin’s origins were actually a bit of an accident. A small private breeding program in Switzerland working on a strain for hash production created a 75% sativa, 25% indica hybrid by crossing Colombian Gold, a Thai sativa from near Laos, a Swiss landrace sativa and a Nepalese indica from the Mustang region. One phenotype of this cross became known as Alchemy while another was given to the breeders friend who brought it to California in late 2009 to help treat his glaucoma. At the first harvest some flowers were given to Harborside for testing and found to be surprisingly high in CBD. Clones were provided to Harborside and it was requested that the genetics be spread to growers and dispensaries. At full term, Harlequin produces brightly colored purple, red, green and even yellow flowers, reminiscent of the costumes of the court jesters from which it is named. The smile Harlequin puts on your face may have something to do with this as well. Not surprisingly 12 of our 14 reviewers found this amazing strain helpful for their symptoms.

The information about Harlequin is courtesy of a phone interview with the gentleman who brought it to California, named it, and introduced it to the medicinal community. He has asked to remain nameless but we would like to give him a pat on the back for his contribution. For more information on CBD and medicinal cannabis visit Project CBD.


Type: Sativa 75%, Indica 25%
Lineage: Colombian Gold x Thai x Swiss Landrace x Nepalese Indica
Breeder: Anonymous Swiss breeder
Seed/Clone: Clone Only. Available through various dispensaries in California
Seed Available Through: canadianhempco.com claims to have Harlequin seeds. According to the breeders, seeds of this strain were never released and these seeds are fakes.


Harlequin really is a beautiful stain. I was surprised how thoroughly the trichomes covered the bud and surrounding leaves Almost all of our reviewers seemed to agree. Only two of the fourteen who tried Harlequin said it looked average, everyone else scored it much higher.

I think Green Thumb described it best. “At first glance the buds look like they will be a little leafy but when I picked one up and gave it a squeeze, it was dense and sticky…! These buds actually look amazing, but they could have been manicured better. Heavily frosted mixture of light and dark green leaves close cropped, surrounding a dense inner budd structure that is just covered with orange hairs and crystals.”


Most of our reviewers noticed either a strong pine or citrus smell. Several like Olga picked up both. This is what her nose picked up. “Lemon and a clean pine smell combine to be quite enjoyable. A very fresh and cleansing scent, but not too much like a household cleanser.”

Besides the strong pine and lemon smell, here are some other scents that were picked up by our reviewers noses; flowery citrus, forest aroma, sweet and floral, fruity, spicy, sour, fruity possibly berry crossed with a skunk, honeysuckle with citrus overtones, sweet tangerine.


More often than not, Harlequin was described as having a sweet flavor. Only a few told us the pine and lemon carried over scent to taste. Dez described Harlequin as “..like a piece of buttery, burnt French toast, tasty and sweet with a bit of a kick at the end.” Mitchy reported, “Very nice unusual, not harsh at all. A mix of sweet and earth, like a wine.” Jackwagon picked up a different taste, “spicy then I got a pepper smack in the back of my throat.”

Those who did not categorize the taste as sweet used these descriptive terms; tropical fruit like Mango, sweet similar to candy, natural earthy taste with sage undertones, fruity, lime, lemon, burnt sap, honeysuckle, butter lettuce.


Considering the low THC content, Harlequins potency was rated surprisingly high. There was no solid agreement between our reviewers as to whether it was predominantly a head or body high, but most seemed to enjoy the effects.

Green Thumb seems to have captures what many others reported. “I felt a light, floaty body high for about three hours. The mental effect was very euphoric. I felt very calm and peaceful. Silly smiles all day long.” Yimbo told us a this about his experience. “Strong body high almost instantly. Definite head change but not overwhelming, very mild. I was fully functional just a little floaty.”


Harlequin seemed to work well as a medicinal train for most who tried it. 12 of our 14 reviewers said they would suggest it to someone with their same symptoms. The medicinal benefit were reported as lasting from as little as one hour, to as much as 6 or 8 hours. Here are the medicinal effects in our reviewers own words.

Green Thumb (PTSD) – “It worked really well. I felt calm, comfortable and very relaxed without becoming brain dead. I love strains that leave me functional but also affect my mood and physical sense. This strain does all that.”

Cancer Survivor (Leukemia) – “This strain helped my headaches.”

Shortcakes (Lupus and Fibromyalgia) – “The strain worked well to relieve the pain and stiffness from lupus and fibromyalgia, I slept very well too.”

Jill (ADHD) – “I felt awake and aware so it slightly compatible with my ADD symptoms.”

Water Goddess (Severe Menstrual Pain) – “I loved this one! It relieved my acute menstrual cramps very quickly and effectively.”

Jackwagon (Liver Disease) – “Took my back pain away quite well .. it made me very relaxed it was nice and soothing. It worked very well on my lower back pain. No nausea while under the strain.”

Yimbo (Pain) – “Complete body high, I was feeling no pain. It felt like I was walking on air. I would definitely would recommend this strain to anyone with arthritis, joint pain, or such.”

Mindhead (Severe Back Pain) – “Migraine was gone after the first hit. All other symptoms also managed efficiently.”

Surfer K (Sleep disorder, Chronic Pain, Depression) – “This strain is very comforting to me and it was a pleasure reducing my pain.”

Mitchy (Chronic Arthritic Pain, Carpal Tunnel and Fibroid Tumors) – “It was a mostly head oriented strain, but I did notice some relief from the swelling and chronic aching, but I think it was more of head medicine.”

Dez (Arthritis, Back and Hip Pain, Contact Dermatitis) – “This was a Great Day, I didn’t experience any pain all day and was very comfortable even sleeping that night. … benefits lasted at least 7-8 hours, with no underlying effects…”

Olga (Cartilage and Ligament Damage) “I felt an extremely strong mental buzz which wore off into a more physical high. My body felt very relaxed and heavy. I felt no pain in my joints but also didn’t really feel like moving around much.”

As usual there were a few who did not experience improvement from their sample.

Sugar Britches (Back Fusion, Remission from Breast Cancer, Depression) – “It didn’t help. The relief I received from this strain was close to none. A slight head buzz for an hour or so and that was it.”

Jess-has-MS (Multiple Sclerosis) – “For my central neuropathic pain, there was mild improvement with this strain after several minutes (nothing when I first inhaled it, whereas stronger “body high” strains will give me relief with the first couple of inhalations). The delayed relief did not last long, however, and was not helpful with the muscle/joint spasms and insomnia during the night.”

Side Effects

Jess-has-MS reported “slight dizziness, well after inhalation.” and Jackwagon told us “I don’t think I would try to do anything outdoors in public..driving would not be wise.” Of course we don’t recommend that anyone drive after using cannabis.

View all 14 reviews for HarlequinReviewers Biographies

THCA 4.5%
THC .9%
CBDA 11.5%
CBD .7%
CBN 0%

Total THC: 5.4%
Total CBD: 12.2%
Total CBN: 0%
Total Active Cannabinoids: 17.6%
Moisture Content: 8.8%

Interested in learning a bit more about what these lab results mean? This article on Understanding Cannabinoids is a good place to get started.

Typical Growing Traits:

Indoor/Outdoor: Both
Maturation: 10 weeks Indoor. Outdoor varies
Height at Finish: 6 feet + Outdoor
Yield: Indoor 550-700 grams per 1000 watts or meter squared. Outdoor yield unknown
Predisposition for pest and fungus: High resistance to pest and fungus while growing. Harlequin can have problems with mold while drying as the buds are very dense and take longer then normal to dry.
Notes: Harlequin is bred from all high elevation landraces and tends to grow like an indica. Interestingly, it produces 5-6% CBD while still in veg. CBD peaks at 7 weeks flowering, (up to 14-15%) while in a 2:1 ratio with THC (up to 7%). At 10 weeks CBD remains the same as week 7 but THC catches up to CBD with about a 1:1 ratio.

Strain As Tested:


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Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)

Harlequin, 4.3 out of 5 based on 6 ratings



  1. LymieLaurie January 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm -

    I suffer from chronic Lyme Disease which has caused many problems. headaches ,muscle pain, joint pain,muscle twitching,nausea, nerve pain ect……This is the first strain I have found to really help my headaches and muscle pain without that thug head feeling!! I love it and will use it as my main med from now on…..with the exception of my bedtime med which has to be a heavy indica so I can sleep because of insomnia, Which is another problem from lyme disease….this one is not a sleep med it just makes you feel so much better 🙂

  2. BVFarms February 1, 2014 at 8:39 am -

    Question for you. I picked up some Harlequin/OG seed a a dispensary in Mendo and am excited to try them out. I understand that these aren’t considered “true genetics” since you can’t get Harlequin seeds (just to save any arguments) but I will be popping them soon. Any idea of what to expect? They will be going outdoors and I’m looking to (truly) donate to patients that would benefit. Also… I’ve heard that CBD heavy strains from seed have a 1 to 4 ratio of use, that the CBD may not transfer to all, any ideas besides expensive lab testing, I want to get worthy medicine into the patients hands and bodies? Thanks.

    • Jackel February 16, 2014 at 9:16 am -

      I’d go out on a limb here and tell you that it’s a first generation cross. Meaning they had an OG male so they just dusted the harlequin with it. This will give you lots of different phenos. Which kinda sucks. You will get some with OG dominance. You will get some with harlequin characteristics. You may even get traits from both of those strains parents or grand parents. So it will be a crapshoot if you will get any cbd dominance.

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  4. Steve Harle July 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm -

    This strain actually helped me secure an important job when I needed it. Due to a strange chronic illness which resembled Fibromyalgia, I had lost my job & my health insurance. I started using medical marijuana which gave me relief but the high was not really useful while performing programming job that I found. Harlequin gave both!! The relief from inflammatory pain as well as the focus to perform my job. CBD strains like Harlequin & Cannatonic are really God sent. Wondering why they are still illegal in many states. Fortunately, I live in bay area, California where I can easily get it. I now grow in my own backyard. It’s fun growing it.